Applied Behavior Analysis | Health & Behavior Studies

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Applied Behavior Analysis

Department of Health & Behavior Studies

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Program Description

Our program is recognized for its excellence in preparing teachers and teacher trainers to use scientific tools and effective instructional practices to accelerate all children’s educational progress, including measurable increases in enjoying learning and schooling, academic literacy, problem solving, and self-management.

We believe that education should be first driven by the needs of students and families in terms of their contribution and access to habilitative lifestyles through the application of the basic and applied sciences of behavior.

Degrees

  • Master of Arts

    • Points/Credits: 47

      Entry Terms: Fall Only

      Certification:

      • Dual Certification: NY State Initial: Students with Disabilities Birth-2
      • Students with Disabilities 1-6
      • Early Childhood Birth-Grade 2/Childhood 1-6

      Degree Requirements

      Our program is recognized for its excellence in training teachers in using scientific tools to bridge the educational gap and accelerate learning for all children (Greer, 2007). It is also internationally recognized for training teachers, researchers, and leaders in early educational and language developmental interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders (ages 2-5) and effective inclusion practices. Our graduates are expert in identifying missing verbal developmental stages (Greer & Du, 2015; Greer & Keohane, 2007, 2009; Greer & Ross, 2008—see www.cabasschools.org for a list of publications) and providing interventions that result in children attaining developmental stages when they are missing.

      The objective of our M.A. program is to prepare teachers and teacher trainers to use measurably effective instructional practices to accelerate all children’s educational progress, including measurable increases in enjoying learning and schooling, academic literacy, problem solving, and self-management. A key to doing this is the acceleration of children’s language development, which appears to be the root problem faced by English language learners, minority children from economically disenfranchised families, and children with autism spectrum diagnoses. Recent research findings provide exciting new ways to do this. Moreover, accelerated instruction is needed for children from well-to-do-families, if we are to assume international leadership in education. In order to meet these objectives, we provide instructional experiences to teach our graduate-student teacher trainees the following aspects of effective teaching:

      • Utilize research-based procedures for all aspects and subject areas of teaching preschool and elementary-age children.

      • Manage classrooms and schools such that children are well behaved and motivated to learn, using positive and non-coercive practices.

      • Master the existing science of learning and teaching as it is applied to the varied needs of children.

      • Master protocols to identify and induce missing language developmental cusps and capabilities that result in children learning to learn material they could not learn before and how to learn in new ways (e.g., by observation and incidental experiences).

      • Master how to use key educational standards and how to match existing tested curricula and tested teaching practices to categories of students and individual students in order to ensure that the standards are achieved.

      • Master how to continuously and directly measure all students’ progress in achieving standards and new developmental stages and use that measurement to drive instructional practice, including the selection of alternative scientific practices when initial best practices are not successful with children.

      • Master how to scientifically analyze the source of student learning problems and inadequate teaching.

      • Learn to draw on evidence from cognitive learning and developmental research and reading/writing literacy research implemented through procedures from teaching as applied behavior analysis.

      • Master how to teach children to be self-learners.

      The Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis Program is an approach to teacher training in which all instruction used by teachers is based on scientific evidence and the use of scientific procedures to fit the appropriate science-based practices to individual students’ varied learning and language developmental needs. The program prepares graduates to be dually certified to teach students from birth to Grade 6.

      Students may also apply for certification in other states according to state-specific processes and inter-state reciprocal agreements. The program is also a Behavior Analyst Certification Board Verified Course Sequence, providing coursework and experience hours required to sit for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam upon successful completion of the program. During the two-year MA program, students complete student teaching requirements and full-time internships in schools and classrooms that practice teaching as applied behavior analysis, under the mentorship of PhD students or graduates who are certified teachers. The training of teachers is also based on scientifically tested procedures (i.e., we teach our graduate students until they demonstrate mastery of using scientific practices). Teacher trainees are taught until they master the science and its application with all children from 2 years to grade 6.

      All of the training is done in classrooms that practice the CABAS® or CABAS® Accelerated Independent Learner Model (AIL) (www.cabasschools.org). Students are trained in paid internship positions, under the supervision of experienced scientist-practitioners in the school placements and attend classes in the evening. What is done with the children in the classrooms is the content of the nine core graduate courses-- scientific findings and teaching procedures. What is taught in the core courses and the related courses is placed into practice daily. The effectiveness of the numerous procedures is well documented in the literature. Recent evidence concerning the outcomes for the children in the classes in which our trainees are taught show that the children perform from two to four levels above their current grade level on standardized tests across reading, language, and mathematics. These children include those who receive free or reduced-price lunch, minority children, English language learners, children with learning delay diagnoses, and upper middle-class children. Teachers and teacher assistants collect direct measures of all the children’s responses to instruction and the achievement of state standards. The model classrooms where our M.A. and Ph.D. graduate students are trained include the Fred S. Keller Preschool (children with and without diagnoses from 18 months to age 5), the Morristown AIL classes Pre-K to 6, and Rockland BOCES elementary district-based classes. Our full-time and adjunct faculty members are onsite in the schools on a regular basis and are accountable for outcomes for our teacher trainees and the children they teach.

      All of the work in the classroom and school settings is tied to the ten core courses in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis that are devoted to classroom management, curriculum design, effective pedagogical practices, and the advancement of a science of teaching. The other classes in the program are devoted to various scientific approaches to instruction, learning, and development. M.A. students rotate placements across different types of students and ages until they achieve minimal mastery of the relevant scientifically based teaching repertoires.

      The M.A. program lasts for two years, and the Ph.D. requires three to four years of additional training.

      Successful applicants will present evidence of excellent undergraduate academic performance in liberal arts degrees or degrees with strong liberal arts requirements, strong recommendations, and a passion for working with children whose future prognosis depends on highly effective instructional interventions. The program is academically rigorous, and the applied component is demanding. Graduates of the program are highly sought after by public schools and graduate programs. Between 15 and 25 applicants are accepted annually.

      There are other approaches to teaching and the training of teachers and some who wish to become teachers will find those approaches more in keeping with their goals. But for those who are interested in a measurably effective and scientific approach and who are committed to bridging the educational gap and high-quality education for all children, we invite you to join us in what we find to be exceptionally exciting and rewarding work.

      Specialization Requirements, Applied Behavior Analysis:

      • HBSE 4015 ABA I: Concepts and Principles in Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Management

      • HBSE 4016 ABA II: Foundational Concepts and Epistemology of Basic and Applied Behavior Analysis

      • HBSE 4017 ABA III: Verbal Development, Curriculum, and Pedagogy

      • HBSE 4044 Methods 1: Research Methods in Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Management

      • HBSE 4045 Methods 2: Curricular and Pedagogical Operations for Teaching the Foundations of Functional Academic Literacy

      • HBSE 4046 Methods 3: Curricular and Pedagogical Operations for Teaching Advanced Functional Academic Literacy

      • HBSE 4047 Record-Keeping in Applied Behavior Analysis (required for NYS licensure in ABA) (move up in order from the bottom)

      • HBSE 4048 Working with Families of Children with Autism

      • HBSE 4049 Professional and ethical issues in behavior analysis

      • HBSE 4704 Observation and student teaching in special education: Applied behavioral analysis and behavioral disorders (4 terms)

      Breadth Requirement:

      For the list of required cognate courses that provide breadth scholarship and practice, contact the program coordinator or the special education secretary. In order to broaden the student’s background in education, three Teachers College courses outside the Teachers College major program (in this case, a course is defined as one for which at least two points are earned) must be completed.

      • HBSK 4072: Theory and Techniques of Assessment and Intervention in Reading

      • HUDK 4027: Development of Mathematical Thinking

      • HBSK 4074: Reading and Comprehension Strategies and Study Skills

      (Alternately, students may take HBSK 5099: Writing Interventions Theory and Practice in lieu of one of the reading courses if scheduling conflicts exist.)

      New York State Education Department (NYSED) has teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher Education section of the catalog.

  • Doctor of Philosophy

    • Points/Credits: 75

      Entry Terms: Summer/Fall

      Degree Requirements

      Doctor of Philosophy Exceptionality Focus Areas:

      • Applied Behavior Analysis

      • Intellectual Disability/Autism

      • Deaf and Hard of Hearing

      Research and Evaluation Emphasis:

      Students with excellent potential as researchers and theoreticians who are interested in scholarly careers in special education, education, and related social sciences may apply for the Ph.D. degree program, which represents the highest level of achievement in the Arts and Sciences. This degree program is administered jointly by Teachers College and the graduate faculty of Columbia University.

      Prospective students may obtain information on program offerings by contacting the program office.

      Ph.D. Program in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis

      The Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis M.A. and Ph.D. programs incorporate an approach to teacher training in which all instruction used by teachers is based on scientific evidence and the use of scientific procedures to fit the appropriate science-based practices to individual students’ varied learning and language developmental needs. The M.A. program prepares graduates to be dually certified from birth to grade 6 in New York State and reciprocal states. Students accepted in the program are placed in paid teacher assistant positions (M.A. students and Ph.D. students taking the M.A. core) or paid teacher positions (Ph.D. students who have completed at least 3 semesters of the M.A. core) in schools and classrooms that practice teaching as applied behavior analysis. The training of teachers is also based on scientifically tested procedures. Teacher trainees are taught until they master the science and its application with all children from 2 years through grade 5.

      Research is a central component of the training—both the applications of research using science-based tactics and measurement and the generation of new research. The focus of the M.A. program is in the application of scientific procedures in classrooms, while Ph.D. students engage in research throughout their program, building on their research training in the M.A. and culminating in a dissertation that identifies and investigates a topic related to our mission. Dissertations must make contributions to both the applied and basic science. The faculty and the students generate a substantial body of research leading to publications and presentations at international scientific conferences each year, and this is a key component of the Ph.D. training. Programmatic research is conducted in the following areas: effective classroom practices, language/verbal development interventions that result in children learning to learn in different ways, observational learning, and systems- wide scientific approaches to education.

      Students who already hold M.A. degrees from other institutions must take the ten M.A. core courses, because the core prepares them with the means to be successful in completing milestone Ph.D. requirements. Ph.D. students also need to be dually certified in New York State for teaching children from birth to grade 6. The teaching placement is a critical part of the program, because it provides the opportunities to train M.A. students and to be involved in cutting-edge research. In that role Ph.D. students are critical instructors for the first- and second year

      M.A. students, an experience that prepares the doctoral candidate to teach and mentor graduate-level students. Our Ph.D. candidate teachers play a significant role in our record of providing measurably superior instruction and bridging the educational gap. For more information please see the Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis M.A. program description.

      Department Courses Required for All Student Majors in Degree Program Core Requirements for all Ph.D. Majors in the Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education Cluster

      • HBSE 5010 Study of the philosophic foundations of special education

      • HBSE 6001 Research in special education: Research/experimental design

      • HBSE 6005 Research in special education: Single-case design

      • HBSE 6010 Advanced study of problems and issues in special education

      • HBSE 7500 Dissertation seminar in special education

      • HBSE 8900-8910 Dissertation advisement in special education

      Non-Department Courses Required for All Student Majors in Degree Program

      • HUDM 4122 Probability and statistical inference

      • HUDM 5122 Applied regression analysis

      Specialization Requirements, Applied Behavior Analysis:

      • HBSE 5304 Advanced practica in special education: Behavioral disorders

      • HBSE 5904 Problems in special education: Behavioral disorders

      • HBSE 5915 Supervision and administration of special education and human resources agencies through organizational behavior analysis

      • HBSE 6008 Behaviorism

      • HBSE 6015 The verbal behavior model: Individual educational programming

      • HBSE 6031 Single-case experimental design in education, medicine, and therapy

      • HBSE 6404 Advanced internship: Behavior disorders

      • HBSE 6504 Advanced seminar in special education: Applied behavior analysis and behavioral disorders

  • Advanced Certificate

    • Points/Credits: 24

      Entry Terms: Spring/Summer/Fall

      Degree Requirements

      Our advanced certificate is for students who already possess or are enrolled in a program leading to a Masters degree in applied behavior analysis, psychology, or education (or other discipline acceptable to NYS). Completing the advanced certificate will allow students to sit for exams leading to licensure in New York State as a Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA) as well as certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), provided they have completed the required supervised experience hours. We offer the practicum experience in conjunction with the coursework, for a more comprehensive, integrated program.

      This 24-credit program can be completed in as little as one calendar year and students may begin the program at any point during the academic year (Fall, Spring, or Summer). During the semester when students are enrolled in practicum, a minimum of 2 days per week (10-15 hours per week for a minimum of 150 hours over the 15-week semester) in an approved practicum site is required. Outside of that, students can continue to gain the necessary 1500 supervised experience hours for a minimum of 10 hours per week in approved settings under the supervision of appropriately qualified individuals (e.g., LBA/BCBAs).

      Successful applicants will present evidence of excellent undergraduate and graduate academic performance, a strong interest in using scientific procedures to teach, not just to manage behaviors, strong recommendations, and a passion for accelerating the learning and development of children with language, social, and behavior difficulties such as those associated with autism and related disorders.

      Required Courses

      HBSE 4015 ABA I:  Concepts and Principles in Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Management (3 credits)

      HBSE 4016 ABA II:  Foundational Concepts and Epistemology of Basic and Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

      HBSE 4044 Methods 1:  Research Methods in Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Management (3 credits)

      HBSE 4045 Methods 2:  Curricular and Pedagogical Operations for Teaching the Foundations of Functional Academic Literacy (3 credits)

      HBSE 4047 Record-Keeping in Applied Behavior Analysis (2 credits)

      HBSE 4048 Working with Families of Children with ASD (3 credits)

      HBSE 4049 Professional and Ethical Issues in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)

      HBSK 5050 Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions (3 credits)

      OR

      HBSE 4046 Methods 3: Curricular and Pedagogical Operations for Teaching Advanced Functional Academic Literacy (3 credits)

      AND

      HBSE 4304 Practicum in Applied Behavior Analysis (1 credit in the first semester, 0 credits for all semesters after that).  Students must meet 150-hour minimum requirement in the first semester

      OR

      HBSE 4704 Student Teaching Practicum (for students enrolled in the ABA MA program only) (0-3 credits)

      Total = 24 credits

      Students are encouraged to review all requirements and regulations for both the LBA (http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/aba/) and BCBA (https://www.bacb.com/bcba/), particularly as they related to the necessary supervised experience. 

Faculty

  • Faculty

    • Daniel Fienup Associate Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis
    • R Douglas Greer Professor of Psychology and Education
  • Lecturers

    • Jo Ann Pereira Delgado Lecturer
  • Adjunct Faculty

    • Ara John Bahadourian Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • Claire S Cahill Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • Katharine Loomis Cameron Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • Lin Du Adjunct Assistant
    • Jessica Lee Dudek Honorary Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • Jennifer Maria Longano Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • JeanneMarie Speckman Adjunct Assistant Professor
    • Jennifer Danielle Weber Adjunct Assistant Professor

Courses

  • HBSE 4015 - ABA I: Concepts and Principles in Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Management
    Basic applications for learners without reading or writing repertoires. Strategic applications of the science of behavior to instruction, management, curriculum-based assessment, isolation of locus of learning/behavior problems, and measurably effective instructional practices.
  • HBSE 4016 - ABA II: Foundational Concepts and Epistemology of Basic and Applied Behavior Analysis
    Prerequisite: HBSE 4015. Advanced applications to learners with writing, reading, and self-editing repertoires. Teaching operations and curricula designed to teach academic literacy, self-management, and problem solving. Data-based applications required.
  • HBSE 4017 - ABA III: Verbal Development, Curriculum, and Pedagogy
    Applications of behavior analysis to the schooling system that incorporates educating and working with families, providing classroom and school leadership, coordinating support personnel efforts across the school and home, and the development of learner independence through advanced scientifically based pedagogy and functional curriculum design, including computer-based instruction.
  • HBSE 4044 - Methods 1: Research Methods in Pedagogy, Curriculum, and Management
    Pedagogical and curricular design repertoires for realizing state educational objectives for children from pre-listener to early reader skills (NYSED Standards, English Excellence in Education Standards, and CABAS® Standards Preschool through Kindergarten).
  • HBSE 4045 - Methods 2: Curricular and Pedagogical Operations for Teaching the Foundations of Functional Academic Literacy
    Pedagogical and curricular repertoires for realizing state educational objectives for children with early to advanced self-editing and self-management repertoires (grades 1 through 3).
  • HBSE 4046 - Methods 3: Curricular and Pedagogical Operations for Teaching Advanced Functional Academic Literacy
    Pedagogical and curricular repertoires for realizing state educational objectives for children with early to advanced self-editing and self-management repertoires (grades 4 through middle school).
  • HBSE 4047 - Record-Keeping in Applied Behavior Analysis
    This course is required for NYS licensure in behavior analysis. It will cover not just the maintenance of the client’s record, but the meaning of that record and the additional parts of the record that must be maintained for each child, including all corollary materials. It is offered online to all students pursuing NYS licensure in ABA.
  • HBSE 4048 - Working with Families of Children with Autism
    The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the components related to successful partnerships between parents and professionals as realized through increasing positive and effective parenting skills within families of children with autism.
  • HBSE 4049 - Professional and Ethical Issues in Teaching as Applied Behavior Analysis
    This course will focus on the ethical, professional, and legal issues impacting those who apply the science of behavior to vulnerable populations (e.g., young children or children with disabilities), including those who work in clinical, home, and school settings.
  • HBSE 4304 - ABA Practicum Course: Children with Autism and Related Disorders
    This course fulfills the 150 (minimum) practicum hours working with children with autism required for licensure as a Behavior Analyst in NYS and may also satisfy supervised experience hours required by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. This course also carries 3 credits (45 credit hours) worth of content; thus, students will be responsible for completing coursework and attending class at the university on a weekly basis.
  • HBSE 4704 - Observation and student teaching in special education: Applied behavioral analysis and behavioral disorders
    Permission required. Course requires 3-5 days a week for participation in community, school, and agency programs and a weekly seminar on campus.
  • HBSE 5010 - Study of the philosophic foundations of special education
    Permission required. Required of all doctoral students in the Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education programs in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies. Overview of major theoretical and methodological orientation within social sciences and special education.
  • HBSE 5904 - Problems in special education: Applied behavioral analysis and behavioral disorders
    Qualified students work individually or in small groups under guidance on practical research problems. Proposed work must be outlined prior to registration; final written report required.
  • HBSE 6001 - Research in special education
    Permission required. Prerequisites: HUDM 4122 and HUDM 5122. Instruction in the development, conduct, and reporting of research. Student research studies. Required of all doctoral students in Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education programs in the department of Health and Behavior Studies.
  • HBSE 6008 - Behaviorism and the science of behavior
    Permission required (for Ph.D. students in Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavior Disorders). A survey comparing and contrasting the various behaviorisms including: methodological behaviorism, paradigmatic behaviorism, interbehaviorism, social behaviorism, radical behaviorism, behavior selection, and the relationship of these to pragmatism, natural selection, positivism, and their historical roots of behavior selection and natural selection in the Scottish enlightenment.
  • HBSE 6010 - Advanced study of problems and issues in special education
    Permission required. Required of all doctoral students in Applied Sciences of Learning and Special Education programs in the department of Health and Behavior Studies. Instruction in the current practices and policies in the education of exceptional children with emphases on language and literacy development.
  • HBSE 6015 - The verbal behavior model: Individual educational programming
    Prerequisites: HBSE 4015 and HBSE 4043. Students will master Skinner's model of communicative behavior, the associated literature, and major theoretical papers. Research and data-based schooling applications of the model will be made to pedagogy and curriculum.
  • HBSE 6031 - Research methods in special education: single-subject design II
    Permission required. Course covers inter-subject and intrasubject designs, repeated measurement, generality, direct and systematic replication, and selection of group or single-case designs.
  • HBSE 6404 - Advanced internships in special education: Behavioral disorders
    Permission required. Post-masters level. Intensive in-service internship requires 3-5 days per week in approved settings. Internship allows for practical applications of scientific methods and principles taught in coursework to the education and treatment of children with and without disabilities.
  • HBSE 6504 - Advanced seminars in special education: Applied behavior analysis and behavioral disorders
    For doctoral students in special education and related fields. Recent developments in theory and research as related to the specialization from psychological, educational, sociological, and/or medical sources.
  • HBSE 7500 - Dissertation seminar in special education
    Permission required. Only advanced doctoral students in special education programs are eligible. Prerequisites: HBSE 5010, 6001, 6003, 6005 and 6010. Development of doctoral dissertations and presentation of plans for approval.
  • HBSE 8901 - Dissertation advisement in special education: Intellectual disability/autism
    Advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see catalog on continuous registration for Ph.D. degrees.
  • HBSK 4072 - Theory and Techniques of Assessment and Intervention in Reading
    Provides an overview of theories and research pertaining to reading acquisition and assessment and intervention techniques for reading across the lifespan. Content is organized according to four major themes: the psychology of reading development, language structures, assessment, and intervention. Materials fee: $35.
  • HBSK 4074 - Development of Reading Comprehension
    Reading and study skills: Practical procedures based on research findings appropriate for teachers, counselors, and others. Discussion focuses on students in the middle elementary grades through young adulthood.
  • HBSK 5050 - Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions for Youth
    This course is intended to provide graduate students in psychology with an introduction to the application of cognitive behavioral interventions for the treatment of childhood disorders. The theoretical foundations of major cognitive-behavioral therapies for the treatment of psychological disorders will be studied. Treatment skills, including clinical interviewing and basic therapeutic skills, will be presented. Further, empirically supported therapeutic interventions for some of the most common psychological disorders experienced by school age children will be discussed. An introduction to cognitive behavioral case formulation and individual treatment planning will be integrated throughout the class. Empirical data pertaining to the use and efficacy of cognitive behavioral interventions with diverse populations will be reviewed. Ethical considerations will be presented and highlighted.
  • HBSK 5099 - Writing interventions theory and practice
    This is a literacy course that applies research on cognitive, linguistic, affective, social, and cultural processes underlying writing performance to the development of writing interventions. Writing is discussed within a larger context of reading comprehension and subject-matter knowledge. Students learn to evaluate and design content-area writing interventions for both typically-developing and special-needs populations of differing ages and in various educational settings.
  • HUDK 4027 - How Children Learn Math
    The development of informal and formal mathematical thinking from infancy through childhood with implications for education.
  • HUDM 4122 - Probability and statistical inference
    An introduction to statistical theory, including elementary probability theory; random variables and probability distributions; sampling distributions; estimation theory and hypothesis testing using binomial, normal, T, chi square, and F distributions. Calculus not required.
  • HUDM 5122 - Applied regression analysis
    Least squares estimation theory. Traditional simple and multiple regression models and polynomial regression models, including use of categorical predictors. Logistic regression for dichotomous outcome variables is also covered. Lab meetings devoted to applications of SPSS regression program. Prerequisite: HUDM 4120 or HUDM 4122. Students may also contact Amina Abdelaziz (aa3915@tc.columbia.edu) to request a prerequisite override. Class time includes time for lab.
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