CABAS® (Comprehensive Application of Behavior Analysis to Schooling) was originated to develop a science of teaching. Our first credo was to develop schools based entirely on the use of scientific procedures for classroom management, pedagogy, curriculum design, staff training, and parent education. Moreover, the second credo of our educational model was to make education learner driven. Our experience with schools convinced us that they were driven by professional guilds, and if learning did not occur in school the blame was placed on children and their parents. Only Skinner and behavior analysts seemed to think that the practices might be improved by scientific applications (Skinner, 1984; 1968). Thus, we wanted to develop measurement-based, individualized education for entire classrooms and entire schools driven by what worked for each individual child.
We did not target a particular type of child or subject area. Indeed, our first models of education were for bands, choruses, orchestras, and college music courses that were based on a decade of research in the operant psychology of music (Greer, 1980). That work is still used in Japan (a 1990 Japanese translation of Greer, 1980). Our next goal was to establish regular education for economically disenfranchised children. However, this proved to be politically difficult since there was a great deal of anti-behavioral sentiment in the seventies and eighties and even afterward (Brophy, 1983; Greer, 1983a. 1983b; Skinner, 1984). Critics stated that while “behavior modification” might work for individuals and for some classroom problems, applying it to all aspects of education simply was not possible. Brophy (1983), a leading educational researcher, stated, “… despite its success in the laboratory and in certain other settings, the effect of applied behavior analysis on teaching and learning is limited, and always will be.” (Brophy, p. 12). We set out to find out if it was possible for behavior analysis to be the basis of a science of teaching in schools for all children. The current evidence appears to substantiate our efforts. (Quotation from Greer & Keohane, 2009, p. 165)
Our model of education was first accepted for classrooms and schools for children and adolescents with disabilities. As the evidence for the effectives of behavior analysis for educating children with autism became more widely known, CABAS® became the educational model of choice for several schools in the USA and later in England and Ireland. In more recent years we have developed programs for general education several of which contain children with autism diagnoses who we have prepared to be successful in general education settings. The data on our general education classes show that the children perform significantly above their grade levels in reading, math, and language. At the end of second grade the children from upper middle class families performed on the second grade Terra Nova Test as 8th graders would, the minority students and free or reduced lunch students (45% of the class) performed at the 6th grade level, English language learners performed as would 5th graders, and the children with autism spectrum disorders performed as 4th graders. Our general education classes are CABAS® Accelerated Independent Learner Model classrooms and there are currently classrooms for Kindergarten through grade 5 in the Morris School District in Morristown New Jersey.