School-wide Positive Behavior Support in Florida: An Examination of the Relationship of Implementation Fidelity to Academic and Behavioral Outcomes

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Journal of Research in Education


The purpose of this research was to examine the level of School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) implementation in the State of Florida. The relationship between implementation fidelity of SWPBS to academic and behavioral outcomes for elementary and middle schools was then analyzed. The results of this study found that SWPBS is being implemented with fidelity in the majority of schools in one year and that these schools maintain or increase fidelity over time. Findings also suggest that there may be a relationship between greater implementation fidelity and lower ODR and OSS rates and to a lesser extent, academic outcomes.

School leaders continue to face unprecedented challenges since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Most notably, leaders are facing increased accountability for student achievement. One factor that has been identified as influencing the instruction that schools provide is student problem behavior (Lassen, 2006). Luiselli, Putnam, Handler, and Feinberg

(2005) suggest that establishing effective discipline practices is critical to ensuring academic success. Recognizing this challenge, school leaders have instituted various programs to improve school culture and meet the needs of the students.

One framework that is currently being used in more than 8000 schools in over 47 states throughout the nation is School-wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) (Spaulding, Horner,

May, & Vincent, 2008). Some outcomes associated with SWPBS include decreased office discipline referrals (ODR), increased instructional time, decreased administrative time addressing discipline, increased teacher satisfaction, improved peer relationships, increased academic achievement, and an increase in perceived school safety (Glover, 2005; Lassen, 2006; Landers, 2006; Lassen, Steele, & Sailor, 2006; Rentz, 2007; & Luiselli, Putnam, Handler, & Feinberg, 2005). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the fidelity of implementation of SWPBS to academic and behavioral outcomes. Examining possible relationships between the fidelity of implementation of SWPBS to academic achievement and student problem behaviors may be of use to policy makers, practitioners, and future researchers.


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