Date of Award

Summer 6-20-2018

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Keith Larick

Second Advisor

Daniel Burch

Third Advisor

Gernal Davie


Purpose. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine the degree to which School Wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) strategies impact middle school student office referrals, suspensions, and truancy rates. In addition, it was the purpose of this study to identify what teachers and administrators perceive as the most important elements of SWPBIS that support a reduction in office referrals, suspensions, and truancy.

Methodology. A quantitative methodology was used to capture a wider range of student outcome variables: office referral rates, suspension rates, and truancy rates. Further, teacher and administrator perceptions provided additional information about the elements of SWPBIS that contributed to any reductions.

Findings. A review of trends over four years showed inconsistent effects of SWPBIS in terms of decreasing the number of office referrals, suspension rates, and truancy rates. Regardless, both middle school administrators and middle school teachers perceived SWPBIS as an effective framework contributing to positive outcomes.

Conclusions. Many school districts turned to the use of SWPBIS to reduce problematic behaviors within the school. The three-tiered, evidence-based framework provides students with clear behavioral expectations. Additional research is needed examining fidelity of implementation and associated outcomes.