Hott, B. L., & Brigham, F. (2020). Effects of response options on the mathematics performance of secondary students with emotional or behavioral disorders . Exceptionality , 28 (1), 1–15.

Journal Article

Hott, B. L., & Brigham, F. (2020). Effects of response options on the mathematics performance of secondary students with emotional or behavioral disorders. Exceptionality, 28(1), 1–15.


Dictated response; Emotional/Behavioral disability; High school; Math; Middle school; Multiple ages; Student survey; U.S. context




Two alternative response options—response cards and and response systems—were compared with traditional response method. Response options' effects on student participants' math performance, time on task, and participation were examined.


Thirty-three (33) students in grades 8–11 with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBD) and their teachers (number unknown) participated. Additional demographic information was reported including student and teacher race/ethnicity, student disability eligibility category, distribution of students across grade levels, teacher educational level, and teachers' years of experience.

Dependent Variable

Researcher-developed measures were used to collect data on students’ performance, participation, and time on task. These included unit quizzes, delayed unit quizzes, student participation—percent of response attempts and percent of correct responses, and observational behavior data collected using a pre-designed form. For the response system condition, responses were recorded using the software Interactive. The time-on-task data collection process used momentary time sample procedures. Social validity data were collected through a student satisfaction survey and a staff satisfaction survey after the last quiz was administered.


Math task performance scores, on-task behavior, and participation of students with emotional-behavioral disabilities increased significantly in the response card condition and the response system condition in comparison to traditional paper-and-pencil responding. Of the two communication options, response cards resulted in significantly better performance than did the digital response system. Nearly all students indicated positive experiences when using response cards and the response system, and students preferred using the response system over the response cards, reporting that they stayed on-task more successfully with the response system. Educators reported mixed feelings about the response tools: statements included that students seemed to enjoy giving digital responses most, yet the response cards were most effective; another indicated that the response tools were distracting in comparison to traditional responding. Limitations, implications for practice, and suggestions for future research were reported.