The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Special Studies: M.S.


Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy


School of Health and Human Services

Third Advisor

John H. Hoover

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Data collection, first-trial-only, trial-by-trial


Discrete trial teaching (DTT) is a popular teaching method in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. Continuous trial-by-trial (TBT) data collection for DTT can be labor intensive and collecting data for the first trial only (FTO) holds the promise of reducing the workload for instructors. The existing literature comparing FTO data analysis to TBT data analysis reports widely varying results regarding the number of trials to mastery and the ability to maintain the skill. The current study utilized data from DTT programs for three participants to examine how closely the accuracy of the first trial in a series represents the accuracy of the all the trials in the corresponding block. The results across participants showed that a correct response on the first trial was correlated with an average accuracy score of 86.9%, 87.0%, and 74.8% for the three participants. An incorrect response on the first trial was associated with an average accuracy score of 55.3%, 42.0%, and 32.0% for each participant. The results across matched programs showed even larger variance, albeit with smaller data sets. The author concludes that factors inherent to each student and program should be considered before deciding to use FTO instead of TBT.



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