Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This 12-week study conceptually merged cooperative learning and group contingency approaches to classroom interventions to assess how varying task and incentive structures affect fifth-grade students' spelling achievement, social status, and perceptions of treatment procedures. The study used two groups (treatment and control group) of fifth-grade students. The students in the treatment group were actively involved with one of six group contingency procedures designed to improve spelling performances. The conditions for students in the treatment groups varied on dimensions of task structure (group or individual) and incentive structure (interdependent, dependent, or no incentive). Treatment acceptability, spelling achievement, and peer nominated social status were assessed in all students during pretreatment and posttreatment phases. The results of the study indicated that the pretreatment acceptability ratings of all the treatment groups were not significantly different from the acceptability ratings of the control group. All of the treatment subgroups, except the dependent individual subgroup, showed significant decreases in acceptability from pretreatment to posttreatment. The acceptability ratings of the control group did not significantly change from pretreatment to posttreatment. The spelling performances of all groups increased significantly from pretreatment to posttreatment on the WRAT-R and a curriculum spelling test. However, no significant increases in weekly spelling achievement were found in any of the treatment subgroups as a result of either the incentive structure or the task structure. The overall results also indicated that, based on the peer nominations, the various incentive structures and task structures did not lead to significant changes in social impact, social preference, or social status. Some individuals' rated social status did change in positive directions, whereas, nearly an equal number changed in a negative direction. It was concluded that students' acceptability ratings are fairly stable over time, but do change significantly as a result of exposures to the treatments. Thus, experience with a particular treatment, seems to be a meaningful factor in the evaluation of a treatment. The results of spelling achievement measures and acceptability ratings indicates that the interdependent group treatment method is the best or most preferred method.