Drug abstinence studies indicate that escalating reinforcement schedules maintain abstinence for longer periods than fixed reinforcement schedules. The current study evaluated whether escalating reinforcement schedules would maintain more quiz taking than fixed reinforcement schedules. During baseline and for the control group, bonus points were distributed on random days for attending class. Following baseline, students in the fixed reinforcement section received 5 bonus points for each quiz completed while students in the escalating reinforcement received 3 bonus points for the first quiz with an increase of 0 or 1 point for each consecutive quiz completed. Results indicated that the escalating reinforcement schedule maintained quiz taking significantly longer than the fixed reinforcement schedule. The control group took the fewest number of quizzes. Students with good attendance took significantly more quizzes under the escalating reinforcement schedule than students with good attendance exposed to the fixed reinforcement schedule or control condition. This study demonstrates a potential novel application for escalating reinforcement schedules. Results indicate that escalating reinforcement schedules may be successfully applied to academic settings, but more research is needed.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.