LC Journal of Special Education


Token economies can be a useful classroom management strategy. A token economy typically involves certain rules for how students may gain and/or lose tokens, and the tokens may be redeemed for a reward, which should be reinforcing for the student (Alter, Wyrick, Brown, & Lingo, 2008). Token economies allow teachers to ‘reward’ students symbolically with tokens to represent the actual reinforcement, which the student will receive in the future, so that the rewards are not frequently disrupting instruction or interfering with other students’ learning. There are many different variations, which may be used for implementing token economies and they can be used in conjunction with other strategies or programs as well. Token economies are often used for individual students but class-wide programs are also used at times (Filcheck, McNeil, Greco, & Bernard, 2004). Additionally, self-monitoring can be used with a token economy to give students more control and responsibility. Self-monitoring involves the student marking their own behavior, positive or negative, and consulting with a teacher to verify their responses (Zlomke & Zlomke, 2003). The purpose of this research paper is to examine whether a token economy is more effective for targeting certain behaviors, such as completion of tasks or reduction of inappropriate behaviors, the effectiveness of a class-wide token economy versus an individual program, and whether a self-monitoring aspect to a token economy can increase or decrease the effectiveness of the program.