Date of Award

Summer 7-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Stewart

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Tim Streicher

Abstract

Closing the academic achievement gap is a national epidemic. Schools across the world struggle to meet the needs of all students, especially students in poverty. Educators look for many solutions to close the gap, but student behaviors are often overlooked. Research has shown that implementing a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system can decrease office disciplinary referrals and increase academic achievement. The purpose of this study was to add to the body of literature on PBIS, poverty, and academic achievement. This study was relevant because high-poverty schools across the world struggle to increase student academic achievement. This study analyzed high-poverty PBIS schools and determined whether a positive relationship existed between the percentage of students with fewer than two office referrals (Primary level) and the percentage of students in the Proficiency level or above on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Communication Arts Exam. The hypothesis of this study was to determine if high-poverty PBIS elementary schools reflect a relationship between the percentage of students with fewer than two office referrals (ODRs) and the percentage of students at the Proficiency level or above on the MAP Communication Arts Exam. This study analyzed student academic achievement data and ODR data in a suburban school district in St. Louis County, Missouri. All 17 elementary schools in the study were above the state average for students in the free/reduced lunch program, and all schools had implemented a PBIS system. The study determined that a positive relationship existed between the percentage iii of students with fewer than two office referrals and the percentage of students in the Proficient Level or above on the MAP Communication Arts Exam. In addition to the quantitative analysis, the researcher conducted site visits at two of the high achieving schools in the district. Educators in the school were interviewed and shared their experience with implementing a PBIS system and their successful PBIS strategies for how a school may successfully implement a PBIS system. Furthermore, an unintended variable, school leadership, surfaced as one of the key ingredients to a successful PBIS program.

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