Effects of feedback specificity on acquisition of trial-based functional analysis skills

John M. Falligant, Sacha T. Pence, Nadratu N. Nuhu, Sarah Bedell, Odessa Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individuals responsible for training educational and support staff in schools and agencies may lack experience in evidence-based training techniques. In particular, staff may have difficulty providing effective performance feedback, which is a critical component of many training models. Though many dimensions of feedback (e.g., accuracy, timing, consistency) may influence the effectiveness of feedback delivery, the impact of feedback specificity on performance is unknown. Accordingly, the purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effectiveness of feedback specificity (vague vs. specific) on acquisition of trial-based functional analysis skills with eight graduate students studying applied behavior analysis. Overall, specific feedback was associated with improved skill acquisition for all trainees, whereas vague feedback actually decreased performance, relative to baseline, for three trainees. Implications for staff training practices and future areas of research will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-707
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Interventions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • feedback
  • staff training
  • teacher training
  • trial-based functional analysis
  • verbal behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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