Presentation Title: Effects of Schoolwide Prevention and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports: A Review

Abstract: This poster presents a review of the empirical literature regarding the effect of School-Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) on both student and staff behavior. Although the purported primary goal of educational institutions is to increase knowledge and academic performance in students and to prepare them for independence and functionality within society, this is actually only one of the multiple goals that schools strive to achieve for their students. Perhaps equally important is maintaining a safe and welcoming school community in which students can perform to their full potential and distractions are minimized. Discipline practices in educational institutions impact the social quality of each school environment, as well as the ability of children to achieve the academic and social gains necessary for success in a 21st century society (Skiba, et al, 2011). Today’s society has been witness to a dramatic increase in school-wide behavioral problems concomitant with a national lack of progression in academic performance relative to both the United State’s own past performance and in comparison with other world nations. Although disciplinary procedures for students have not changed significantly in the past several decades, the common disciplinary procedures of reactive and punitive strategies, including threatening, punishing, and involving school-based authority figures, have been found to be generally ineffective. They are limited to short-term decreases in problem behavior, and can occur at the expense of teaching important academic goals (Bear, 1998). Recognizing this problem, the U.S. Surgeon General (2001) recommended that schools evaluate their existing discipline policies and implement prevention programs in order to create positive school environments for all students.

The efficacy of preventative strategies in managing problem behaviors has been supported by empirical literature (Bear, 1998). Organized, system-wide reinforcement and disciplinary procedures, SWPBIS, is an evidence-based systems perspective that involves a problem-solving model (Sugai & Horner, 2006). SWPBIS has received empirical support in terms of multiple outcome measures, including reduced office discipline referrals, reduced rates of suspension, reductions in problem behavior, increases in core subject academic scores, improved perception of school safety, and improved staff and student attitude toward school climate (Lassen, Steele, & Sailor, 2006; McIntosh et al., 2009). Studies examining the impact of PBIS on school staff have found improvements in school organizational health, staff affiliation, support by the principal, institutional integrity, time and resource support, and academic emphasis, as well as lowered staff resistance and student aggression and victimization (Bradshaw, et al., 2008; Wilson, 2004).

This review provides implications for the implementation of such programs as well as suggestions for future research. Additional research should consider data from schools at varying stages of PBIS implementation to determine effects on academic, disciplinary, and school climate outcomes, utilizing a cross-sectional design to assess progression of systems change. This research will investigate the effects of implementing a PBIS program in its beginning to intermediate stages (years 1 - 3) on school climate variables (such as teacher satisfaction, team development and involvement, teacher change in punitive vs. positive approaches), as well as possible academic and attendance interaction effects, and rates of referrals along with types of offenses committed.


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