Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Joe Olmi

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Brad Dufrene

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Daniel Tingstrom

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Keith Radley

Committee Member 4 Department



Despite years of research demonstrating the topographical flexibility, efficiency, and reinforcing qualities of praise on student behavior, teachers in secondary classrooms more frequently rely on punitive methods of behavior management, issuing praise infrequently, if at all. The systematic manipulation of praise rates within these settings has demonstrated favorable influence on both student and teacher behavior, particularly when teachers have been trained to issue praise at least once per two minutes. Although there is evidence in support of a once per two-minute praise rate (e.g., Blaze, Olmi, Mercer, Dufrene, & Tingstrom, 2014), it remains unknown whether a thinner schedule of praise delivery will yield relatively similar student outcomes. In the present study, four secondary teachers were included in a multiple-baseline design, with an A/B/C/A/C conditions sequence counterbalanced across pairs of participants to evaluate the relative effects of praise delivered once per two and once per four minutes on appropriately engaged and disruptive student behavior. Results indicated that a once per two-minute praise rate effectively reinforced student appropriately engaged behavior, with concurrent reductions in disruptive behavior. A once per four-minute praise rate did not reinforce appropriately engaged behavior, but reductions in disruptive behavior below baseline levels were observed. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Masters thesis:



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