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Effects of Precision Requests as a Standalone Intervention on Noncompliance of Students with Emotional Disturbance


For teachers who work with students with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD), noncompliance can be a serious problem by impacting their own and others’ access to the curriculum. The precision request (PR) has been recommended as effective in addressing noncompliance, but it has limited support as a sole intervention in a classroom exclusively for students with emotional disturbance. This study used an ABAB (withdrawal) single-case design to demonstrate effects of teachers’ PRs on noncompliance of eight third and fourth grade students with EBD in a self-contained class. PR was shown to increase student compliance (log response ratio effect size = 0.17) with no adverse effects on latency to compliance. Both teacher and students rated the social validity as positive. This finding was corroborated by the teacher’s continued use of PRs after study completion. Implications of the findings for practice and suggestions for future research are included.

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Correspondence to Christian V. Sabey.

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The authors received no external funding to complete this study and declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This research was approved by the relevant IRB and was conducted in compliance with APA standards of research ethics.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants or participants’ parents where appropriate consistent with IRB regulations.

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Sabey, C.V., Calder, M.C., Caldarella, P. et al. Effects of Precision Requests as a Standalone Intervention on Noncompliance of Students with Emotional Disturbance. Educ. Treat. Child. 43, 251–264 (2020).

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  • Behavior disorders
  • Behavior problems
  • Classroom noncompliance
  • Precision request
  • Self-contained class