Date of Award

Fall 8-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Second Advisor

Dr. Patrick Keenoy

Third Advisor

Dr. Laurie Tretter-Larkin


Using a mixed-methods approach, the researcher investigated the generalization of Positive Behavior Supports Skills (PBIS) within an Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program, implemented with fidelity, as evidenced by statewide recognition for 10 years in a row, to the kindergarten setting in a Midwestern School District. Through investigating the generalization of PBIS social-emotional skills, the researcher aimed to identify possible frameworks for schools to better prepare students for the kindergarten transition. To investigate the generalization of skills, the researcher used secondary data in the form of 175 externalizing behavior screener scores for students who participated in a PBIS ECSE program in the 2015-2016 school year and the 460 kindergarten behavior screener scores from the fall of the 2016-2017 school year. The researcher analyzed the scores by student subgroups: participation in a PBIS ECSE program, gender, birthdate range, English Learner (EL) status, special education participation, and free and reduced (F/R) lunch eligibility. Despite the observable reductions in externalizing behavior, only the student subgroup of birthdate range from August through February demonstrated a statistical significance in generalizing social-emotional skills learned in a PBIS ECSE program. Through analysis of the qualitative data, the researcher concluded two random kindergarten teacher participants and two random elementary administrator participants found prior preschool experience better prepared students socially and emotionally for the rigors of kindergarten. The qualitative data and observable differences in the quantitative data sources suggested prior participation in a PBIS ECSE preschool program would prepare students for the transition to kindergarten, while previous research determined the PBIS framework would aid schools in helping children adjust iii socially and emotionally to new academic settings through the use of universal expectations and tiered levels of behavior supports.


Copyright 2018