Is there a relationship between positive behavior supports and student achievement?

Todd Edward Boucher


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a relationship exists between a school's behavior program and student achievement. This study explored the many facets of school behavior plans from across the state of Mississippi and compared the responses of high school principals to the schools' U.S. history standardized test scores. School discipline has become an issue that schools find themselves dealing with on a daily basis. While school discipline issues are not new to the educational arena, the way in which some schools are handling them is changing. Some of the changes are as a result of changes in legislation, while some of the changes have been brought about in response to societal concerns. Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) are two of the new terminologies which have recently been introduced into the educational world. The concepts are devised around a three-tiered model that not only addresses academic concerns, but is also designed to help improve student behavior while increasing student achievement. Quantitative data were collected to examine participating principals' perceptions of his or her school's behavior program. Additional state test score data were collected from the Mississippi Department of Education and then compared with the principals' responses. Data were then analyzed to determine whether or not a relationship existed. The results of the study illustrated that there was very little difference in student achievement between schools that utilized positive behavior programs and those that did not. However, a correlation was discovered when implementation of such programs was analyzed. The results of the study illustrated the importance of the implementation process as it most significantly is correlated to an increase in student achievement. While there was no significant difference found in many of the areas that were compared, this study yielded some results that may be of interest for administrators considering the use of a positive behavior program.