The relationship between schools utilizing positive behavior interventions and support programs and student achievement

Lori Herrington Massey


Incidents of student misbehavior are on the rise in classrooms across the United States. The acts of misconduct committed by students are increasing in both frequency and severity. While there is a broad spectrum of causal factors for the presentation of these behaviors, the end result is the decline of student achievement. These behavioral issues are negatively impacting student achievement by creating disruptions in the teaching process, loss of instruction for students who are serving suspensions, preoccupying administrators with dispensing office discipline referrals rather than serving as instructional leaders. To combat this rise in behavioral concerns both federal law and state policy have required the use of behavioral interventions. The state of Mississippi has specifically chosen the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support model as the model of choice for districts to implement as a part of the three tier intervention process. The purpose of this study was to determine if the districts which had implemented a Positive Behavior Intervention and Support model had witnessed an impact in student achievement as measured by the Mississippi Curriculum Test Second Edition. The study looked at scale scores on both the language arts and mathematics portions of the test over the four-year period of the test's implementation which coincided with the four-year period that most school districts had utilized the PSIS model. In addition, the researcher utilized a questionnaire to ascertain from the positive behavior specialists working in the districts in question if the model was utilized and if so if it had been implemented with fidelity. Upon analysis of the data it was determined that the implementation of a PSIS model had minimal effect upon student achievement results. However, the data did indicate that the positive behavior specialists were of the impression that this model had impacted the frequency of incidents of student misbehavior. Future studies may look at the longitudinal impact of the use of the PSIS model after a greater implementation period.