Date of Award

Summer 8-2023

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Dr. Brad Dufrene

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Dr. D. Joe Olmi

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Dr. Crystal Taylor


High-quality academic instruction, and, in turn, student success, are correlated with effective classroom management (Gage, Scott, Hirn, & MacSuga-Gage, 2018; Johnson, 1997; Stronge, Ward, & Grant, 2011; Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1993). Students are spending up to 50% of their instructional time engaged in non-instructional activities such as classroom procedures, transitions, and discipline (Codding & Smyth, 2008). However, academic activities should account for at least 70% of classroom time (Little & Akin-Little, 2008). Praise, a simple classroom behavior management procedure, includes statements commending behavior and is intended to increase the future probability of the behavior that warranted praise. Behavior-specific praise (BSP) has been shown to be an effective classroom management strategy in preschool through secondary classrooms. Teachers’ use of BSP leads to less disruptive behavior in preschool classrooms (Dufrene et al., 2012, 2014; LaBrot et al., 2021) and upper elementary classrooms (Reinke, Lewis-Palmer, and Martin, 2007). To date, there has not been a study that examined the effect of the multiple rates of praise on classroom behavior in preschool children. This study used an alternating treatments design to test the effects of differential rates BSP on student behavior. In this study, BSP was provided on two different schedules (60 or 90 seconds) or not at all. Although the class-wide engagement was high and stable for both 60 and 90-second conditions, there was considerable overlap with the control condition. Social validity ratings were variable. Results and implications are discussed in light of limitations.