System-Wide Implementation of an Assertive Discipline-Based Behavior Management Plan: A Program Evaluation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ron Edwards

Advisor Department



A system-wide implementation of an assertive discipline-based (Canter and Canter, 1976) behavior management program in an urban school system of approximately 5600 students located in the southeastern region of the United States was examined. Program effectiveness was evaluated in terms of mastery of program implementation, number of disciplinary referrals to the principals, behavioral categories for which disciplinary referrals were initiated (i.e., minor, severe or failure to comply with teacher consequences), number of incidences of corporal punishment, detention, in-school suspension and out-of-school suspension, number and type of parent contacts, and teacher and principal perceptions concerning the program implementation and effectiveness. Examination of data from school and classroom discipline plans, disciplinary referrals, and teacher and principal questionnaires suggested that, overall, this school system's implementation of the assertive discipline-based behavior management program resulted in (a) an increase in the number of disciplinary referrals, (b) a decrease in the number of referrals due to both minor and severe misbehaviors, (c) a substantial increase in the number of referrals due to failure to comply with teacher consequences, (d) an increase in the use of detention and out-of-school suspension, (e) a decrease in the use of corporal punishment and in-school suspension, (f) a substantial increase in the number of parent contacts, accompanied by decreases in telephone and conference contact, and (g) predominantly positive teacher and principal perceptions concerning the program's implementation. Modifications in in-service training and program implementation were recommended in order to assist the system in gaining a greater mastery of the assertive discipline techniques as well as in accomplishing their goal of reducing the number of disciplinary problems requiring referral to the principal's office.