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IES Grant

Title: Systematic Analysis and Model Development for High School Positive Behavior Support
Center: NCSER Year: 2007
Principal Investigator: Flannery, K. Brigid Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2007 to 6/30/2011 Award Amount: $1,985,519
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A070157

Purpose: High schools face tremendous challenges in their attempts to provide students with the academic and social skills needed to succeed as adults. In a survey of middle and high school teachers, 70 percent of teachers reported that disruptive behavior was a serious problem in their schools and almost four in 10 teachers reported that they spent more time managing disruptive behavior than they did teaching. One promising model of behavior support—schoolwide positive behavior support—has been used in elementary and middle schools but use in high schools has not been widespread. This research team will develop a model to guide implementation of schoolwide positive behavior support in high schools. In addition, the team will conduct an initial evaluation of the model to assess potential impact on students' academic and behavior outcomes.

Project Activities: In the first phase of this research, the team will examine existing data and conduct focus groups to identify potential factors that facilitate or impede successful implementation and sustainability of schoolwide positive behavior support. At the end of this phase, the team will develop a model for implementing the program in high schools. During the second phase, the team will implement this model in high schools and conduct an initial evaluation of the model to understand the potential impact on student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Products: Products from this study include a fully developed model of high school schoolwide positive behavior support including a manual, materials, and clearly defined procedures. Published reports of the research will be available.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Public high schools in Oregon and Illinois.

Population: A design team consisting of a group of between six and 10 national experts, high school administrators, and district administrators will be recruited. Focus groups will also be recruited, and will include representatives from four high schools: two schools that have experience implementing the program with fidelity and two schools that attempted to implement the program but did not continue. Representatives will include school administrators, members of the schoolwide positive behavior support team, and students from each grade level in the school, including students who are considered at risk for academic or behavioral challenges.

For the initial evaluation of the program, a total of 16 schools not currently implementing schoolwide positive behavior support will be recruited. The two schools that participated in the focus groups and were not implementing the program will be given the option to participate.

Intervention: To implement schoolwide positive behavior support, schools must establish a schoolwide leadership team, ensure the commitment from at least 80 percent of the staff for active support and participation in the program, conduct a self assessment of the current discipline system to identify areas of concern and successes, and establish a way to collect data (e.g., office discipline referrals, attendance) on a regular basis to evaluate the effectiveness of the action plan. Teachers learn about evidence-based strategies through planned professional development. A coach monitors implementation, provides assistance and feedback to the school team, and connects them to resources.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will first conduct several descriptive studies involving existing data available at University of Oregon, data collected through surveys, and focus groups. Data collected will provide information on factors that may affect the implementation of the program and the critical features (e.g., training and technical assistance) required for implementation in high schools. This information will be used to revise existing program materials and measures for use in high schools. A preliminary evaluation of the intervention will be conducted using a wait-list non-equivalent comparison group design, with eight schools assigned to treatment and eight schools serving as controls. Schools will be matched on demographic variables and academic outcomes.

Control Condition: Comparison schools will continue with their typical operations.

Key Measures: Demographic information about the schools (e.g., dropout rates) will be collected. School records of discipline referrals and attendance reports as well as direct observations of student behavior will also be collected. Student grade point average in core subjects and standardized statewide assessment scores will measure academic achievement. Fidelity of implementation and staff levels of satisfaction with the program will also be assessed.

Data Analytic Strategy: To analyze existing data, descriptive statistics and comparisons using analysis of variance will be conducted with existing data. Focus group data will be analyzed via developed descriptive codes using EnVivo. Modification of measures will be based on recommendations from the design team as well as analyses of construct validity, content validity, and reliability. Initial evaluation analysis will include comparisons on each outcome variable for pre/post-test differences for both treatment and control groups. Statistical tests of pre-intervention differences will be conducted, and corrections will be made for pretest differences between treatment and control groups.


Book chapter

Faggella-Luby, M., Flannery, K.B., and Simonson, B. (2010). Using a School-Wide Model to Foster Successful Transition to College: Providing Comprehensive Academic and Behavioral Supports to all Learners. In S.F. Shaw, J.W. Madaus, and L.L. Dukes III (Eds.), Preparing Students with Disabilities for College Success: A Practical Guide to Transition Planning (pp. 83–114). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Flannery, K.B., Fenning, P., Kato, M.M., and McIntosh, K. (2014). Effects of School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and Fidelity of Implementation on Problem Behavior in High Schools. School Psychology Quarterly, 29(2): 111–124. doi:10.1037/spq0000039

Flannery, K.B., Fenning, P., McGrath-Kato, M., and Bohanon, H. (2013). A Descriptive Study of Office Disciplinary Referrals in High Schools. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 21(2): 138–149. doi:10.1177/1063426611419512

Flannery, K.B., Frank, J.L., and McGrath-Kato, M. (2012). School Disciplinary Responses to Truancy: Current Practice and Future Directions. Journal of School Violence, 11(2): 118–137. doi:10.1080/15388220.2011.653433

Flannery, K.B., Frank, J.L., Doren, B., Kato, M.M., and Fenning, P. (2013). Implementing Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support in High School Settings: Analysis of Eight High Schools. The High School Journal, 96(4): 267–282. doi:10.1353/hsj.2013.0015

Flannery, K.B., Guest, E.M., and Horner, R.H. (2010). Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports. Principal Leadership, 11(1): 38–43.

Kennedy, M., Mimmack, J., and Flannery, K.B. (2012). Innovation in Data-Driven Decision Making Within SWPBIS Systems: Welcome to the Gallery Walk. Beyond Behavior, 21(3): 8–14.