Using Self-Management to Teach Academic Skills

What is the evidence base? A strong level of evidence based on a high quality meta-analysis of 17 studies including 2 between group designs and 15 single subject designs.

With whom was it implemented?

  • A total of 88 participants were included
  • Students with
    • learning disabilities
    • emotional/behavioral disorders
    • mental retardation
    • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
    • severe disabilities
  • Ages ranged from 13 – 16 years old
  • 14 studies included samples that were predominately male, while 2 studies had samples that were predominately female, and 1 study did not report gender percentages
  • Ethnicity/race information were not reported for all participants

What is the practice and where is the best place to find out how to do this practice: Defining characteristics of self-management interventions include "methods used by students to manage, monitor, record, and/or assess their behavior or academic achievement" (Reid, Trout, & Schartz, 2005, p. 362).

Self-management has also been called: self-monitoring (n=5 studies), self-evaluation (n= 2 studies), self-instruction (n=2 studies), goal setting (n= 1 study), strategy instruction (n= 1 study). In addition, components can be combined (n=7 studies).

  • "Self-monitoring is a multi-stage process of observing and recording one's behavior" (Mooney et al., 2005, p. 204).
  • "Self-evaluation is a process wherein a student compares her/his performance to a previously established criterion set by student or a teacher and is awarded reinforcement based on achieving the criterion" (Mooney et al., 2005, p. 207).
  • "Self-instruction refers to techniques that involve the use of self-statements to direct behavior" (Mooney et al., 2005, p. 204).
  • "Goal setting generally refers to a process of a student self-selecting behavioral targets, which serve to structure student effort, provide information on progress, and motivate performance" (Mooney et al., 2005, p. 204).
  • "Strategy instruction refers to teaching students a series of steps to follow independently in solving a problem or achieving and outcome" (Mooney et al., 2005).

For Self-Management Research to Practice Lesson Plan Starters, see:

Where has it been implemented?

  • Public secondary schools, mostly self-contained classrooms (n=14)
  • Private schools (n=2)
  • Summer school program (n=1)

References used to establish this evidence base:

Wolgemuth, J. R., Cobb, R. B., & Dugan. J. J. (2007). The effects of self-management interventions on academic outcomes for youth with disabilities. Ft. Collins, CO: Colorado State University, School of Education.

Additional References:

Carr, S. C. & Punzo, R. P. (1993). The effects of self-monitoring of academic accuracy and productivity on the performance of students with behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 18, 241-250.

Copeland, S. R., Hughes, C., Agran, M., Wehmeyer, M. L., & Fowler, S. E. (2002). An intervention package to support high school students with mental retardation in general education classrooms. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 107(1), 32-45.

DiGangi, S. A. & Maag, J. W. (1992). A component analysis of self-management training with behaviorally disordered youth. Behavioral Disorders, 17, 281-290.

Fuchs, L. S., Bahr, C. M., & Rieth, H. J. (2002). Effects of goal structures and performance contingencies on the math performance of adolescents with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 554-560.

Laird, J. & Winton, A. S. W. (1993). A comparison of self-instructional checking procedures for remediating mathematical deficits. Journal of Behavioral Education, 3, 143-164.

Lenz, B. K., Ehren, B. J., & Smiley, L. R. (1991). A goal attainment approach to improve completion of project-type assignments by adolescents with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 6, 166-176.

Martin, K. F. & Manno, C. (1995). Use of a check-off system to improve middle school students' story compositions. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 28, 139-149.

Morrow, L. W., Burke, J. G., & Buell, B. J. (1985). Effects of a self-recording procedure on the attending to task behavior and academic productivity of adolescents with multiple handicaps. Mental Retardation, 23, 137-141.

Osborne, S. S., Kiburz, C. S., & Miller, S. R. (1986). Treatment of self-injurious behavior using self-control techniques with a severe behaviorally disordered adolescent. Behavioral Disorders, 12(1), 60-67.

Prater, M. A., Joy, R., Chilman, B., Temple, J., & Miller, S. R. (1991). Self-monitoring of on- task behavior by adolescents with learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 14, 164-177.

Shimabukuro, S. M., Prater, M. A., Jenkins, A., & Edelen-Smith, P. (1999). The effects of self- monitoring of academic performance on students with learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD. Education & Treatment of Children, 22, 397-414.

Simons, P. R. J. (1989). Modifying the regulation processes of learning: Two exploratory training studies. Canadian Journal of Educational Communication, 18(1), 29-48.

Smith, D. J., Young, K. R., West, R. P., & Morgan, D. P. (1988). Reducing the disruptive behavior of junior high school students: A classroom self-management procedure. Behavioral Disorders, 13, 231-239.

Snyder, M. & Bambara, L. (1997). Teaching secondary students with learning disabilities to self-manage classroom survival skills. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 30, 534-543.

Swanson, H. L. & Scarpati, S. (1984). Self-instruction training to increase academic performance of educationally handicapped children. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 6(4), 23-39.

Sweeney, W. J., Salva, E., Cooper, J. O., & Talbert-Johnson, C. (1994). Using self-evaluation to improve difficult-to-read handwriting of secondary students. Journal of Behavioral Education, 3, 427-443.

Trammel, D. L., Schloss, P. J., & Alper, S. (1994). Using self-recording, evaluation, and graphing to increase completion of homework assignments. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 27, 75-81. 

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