Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Sun, Jeffrey

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Choi, Namok

Committee Member

Choi, Namok

Committee Member

Ingle, William Kyle

Committee Member

Scott, Terrance

Author's Keywords

postive behavioral interventions and supports; school climate; academic achievement; fidelity of implementation; elementary school


This causal-comparative study examined the relationship between Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and academic achievement in elementary school mathematics. Research has shown that PBIS may help establish a positive school climate, which supports the conditions for effective teaching and learning (Bradshaw, Koth, Bevans, Ialongo, & Leaf, 2008; Horner, Sugai, & Vincent, 2005; Hoy, Tarter, & Bliss, 1990). Accordingly, this study examined variables of particular interest, which were mathematical performance, including mathematical performance by male academic achievement, female academic achievement, and socioeconomic status, based on PBIS implementationThe data used were school-level, 5th grade mathematics achievement scores. Elementary schools, which participated in PBIS implementation for the 2012– 13, 2013–14, and 2014–15 school years and reported a high rate of fidelity of implementation for each of the 3 years, served as the treatment group for this study. The control group was schools that did not attempt to implement PBIS. School-level percentages of students who obtained a proficient or distinguished rating were used as the performance levels to determine the successful acquisition of mathematics achievement. Results from the analysis of the Mann-Whitney U test revealed no statistically significant difference between the total percentages of students scoring at the performance level of proficient or distinguished between PBIS and non-PBIS schools (p = .535). Differences in the achievement of males were examined using an independent samples t-test. Results indicated no significant differences in the academic achievement of males between PBIS and non-PBIS schools (p = .626). The Mann-Whitney U test was conducted to determine if a difference in the percentage of female students who achieved the performance level of proficient or distinguished; no statistical significance was found (p = .27) between PBIS and non-PBIS students. The concluding analysis of an ANCOVA was used to determine whether a statistically significant difference in the percentage of mathematics scores reaching proficient or distinguished would be found between PBIS and non-PBIS schools, when using SES as a covariate. Results from this analysis also found no statistically significant difference (p < .700). Lack of statistically significant differences in academic achievement as the result of PBIS implementation were contrary to previous studies. This study presents some mitigating factors, which may have contributed to these findings: (a) multiple PBIS coaches provided training to the PBIS schools and no data were available to know if the training were standardized among trainers and truly achieved reliable reporting of fidelity; (b) data were not available to ascertain if the fidelity measure, which is known as the benchmarks of quality, was administered within the same time period at the end of each of the 3 years of implementation; and (c) data regarding other initiatives or activities at the schools, which may have been implemented for both PBIS and non-PBIS schools, may have inhibited the true examination of the respective variables.