Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



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



Teacher administered praise is a topographically flexible, resourceful, and effective method for influencing appropriate and disruptive student behavior. Despite its noted effectiveness, teachers seldom provide praise in secondary classrooms. The purpose of the present study was to examine the impact of contingent public praise alone and in combination with public posting on secondary students’ appropriately engaged and disruptive behaviors. Four secondary teachers were included in a multiple-baseline A/B/B+C design in secondary classrooms. Each classroom’s mean percentage of observed intervals of appropriately engaged and disruptive behavior was assessed across conditions. Visual analysis indicated that when implemented with fidelity, praise alone improved appropriately engaged behavior and reduced disruptive behavior in all four classrooms. The addition of public posting served to further improve students’ appropriately engaged behavior in each of the four classrooms and decreased disruptive behaviors in three of the four classrooms. Results are discussed in response to criticisms of praise, in terms of collateral effects of providing public acknowledgement in secondary classrooms, and in terms of directions for future research regarding the public posting of student behaviors.

Doctoral dissertation:


Available for download on Tuesday, May 12, 2167