Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Special Education

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD

Committee Chair

Scott, Terry

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Frey, Andy

Committee Member

Frey, Andy

Committee Member

Lingo, Amy

Committee Member

Burt, Jon

Author's Keywords

EBD; high-probability task; behavioral momentum; emotional and behavioral disorder; task completion rates


This dissertation is an investigation into the effects of high-probability tasks on the task completion rates of three students diagnosed with an emotional and behavioral disorder. It begins with a close look into best practices verses common practices, examines students supports currently available in schools, and highlights gaps present in today’s educational system for students who exhibit significant challenging behaviors. The dissertation reviews literature available on the topic of high-probability tasks as a logical solution to combating gaps in behavior support and describes methodology used to investigate the strategy and its effects. It closes by presenting data, conclusions, implications, and gaps. The dissertation is divided into five chapters which explore current practices, gaps, available literature, methodology, data analysis, and conclusions. Chapter one focuses on current practices in schools and the impacts the practices have on the most behaviorally challenged populations. Chapter two explores thirteen studies which previously investigated high-probability tasks. Chapter three explains a methodology used in the current investigation to determine if high-probability tasks are effective at increasing task completion rates of students with emotional behavior disorders, compares two types of high-probability tasks to determine if there are differential task completion rates associated (easy math tasks and preferred conversation questions), and reveals student and teacher perceptions and preferences after participation in the study. Chapter four presents the resulting data for each of the student participants. Chapter five discuses conclusions, implications, and limitations associated with the study.