Date of Award

Winter 12-20-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Anne Spillane

Second Advisor

Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Alan Enomoto


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the extent to which evidence-based interventions being utilized with students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) by general education teachers, special education teachers, and behavior interventionists working in K-12 special education programs on comprehensive public and non- public school campuses in California.

Methodology: This mixed method study identified commonly used instructional strategies for students with (EBD) in public and non-public school settings. Respondents were purposefully chosen from general education teachers, special education teachers, and behavior interventionists across California. The data from online survey and interviews were analyzed through factorial ANOVA, descriptive statistics of means and standard deviations, as well as Chi square test of differences. The themes which emerged from interviews are also described.

Findings: Findings indicate some improvement in awareness amongst education professionals regarding evidence-based instructional strategies based on findings of previous studies, participants lacked clear understanding of which interventions hold empirical weight. Similarly, there was low reported evidence that evidence-based practices were being utilized within the classroom. Results yielded no significant differences between education professionals or education setting regarding the interventions used and respondents generally felt unprepared to work with this student population.

Conclusions: This study supported the need for comprehensive professional development for those working with students with EBD. The findings of this study support prior research that students in this population do not receive generally receive education based on empirically supported practices and inadequate teaching practices and teacher preparation lead to students losing out on critical learning opportunities.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended to explore how MTSS and PBIS systems are being implemented across California special education programs and their impact on outcomes for students with emotional and behavioral disorders as well as to provide insight into how these systems are currently utilized. Likewise, a review of the impact of the 2016 changes to teacher credentialing would provide insight on whether the field is advancing in a positive direction.