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Running head: EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 1

Effective School-wide Disciplinary Practices and Their Impact on Students Social and Academic
Behaviors
Diana M. Boroski
University of New England
EDU 690: Action Research
December 8, 2013










Statement of Academic Honesty: I have read and understand the plagiarism policy as outlined in the Student
Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct document relating to the Honesty/Cheating Policy. By attaching this
statement to the title page of my paper, I certify that the work submitted is my original work developed specifically
for this course and to the MSED program. If it is found that cheating and/or plagiarism did take place in the writing
of this paper, I acknowledge the possible consequences of the act/s, which could include expulsion from the
University of New England
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 2

Abstract
This action research studied the effect of disciplinary practices on students. The research
set out to determine if teaching universal behavior strategies and consequences could improve
social and academic behaviors in an elementary school. In the past, this particular elementary
school did not have an effective plan to keep track of disrespectful or off-task behaviors.
Expectations of students differed with different staff members, as did rewards and types of
consequences rendered. This year, the school adopted Positive Behavioral Interventions and
Supports (PBIS) to ensure that positive behaviors are taught and supported to meet the needs of
all students. Clear modeling of expectations took place at the start of the year and forms were
created to keep track of behaviors. The teacher researchers class was studied during this action
research. The participants included sixteen second grade students in a small rural elementary
school in Connecticut. The research occurred over a five week period and a mixed methods
approach of collecting data was used. Teacher observation was a major form of data collection.
In addition, the teacher used pre and post surveys filled out by the participants, tally sheets and
behavior charts for two students requiring additional support and the use of discipline referral
forms, amount of awards to collect data. The results displayed that students benefitted from
having a universal set of behavioral expectations. Explicit modeling and reinforcing of
appropriate behaviors, along with data driven procedures, measurable outcomes and appropriate
interventions helped minimize occurrences of undesirable and disruptive behaviors, and
maximized time spent being engaged in learning. There were some limitations to this study.
However, findings support PBIS and suggest that it is a highly beneficial program that should be
continued in the school.
Keywords: PBIS, second grade, universal expectations, school-wide disciplinary practice
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 3


Table of Contents
Abstract ............................................................................................................................................2
Table of Contents .............................................................................................................................3
List of Tables ...................................................................................................................................6
List of Figures ..................................................................................................................................7
Introduction ......................................................................................................................................8
Rationale for the Study ...........................................................................................................8
Statement of the Problem_Toc205110623..............................................................................8
Participants ............................................................................................................................10
Research Questions ..............................................................................................................11
Hypotheses ...........................................................................................................................11
Roadblocks ............................................................................................................................12
Ethical Considerations ..........................................................................................................12
Literature Review...........................................................................................................................13
Introduction ...........................................................................................................................13
Review of the Literature_Toc205110623 .............................................................................13
Literature Review Conclusion ..............................................................................................18
Methodology ..................................................................................................................................18
Statement of the Problem_Toc205110623............................................................................18
Research Questions ...............................................................................................................19
Hypothesis.............................................................................................................................19
Participants ............................................................................................................................19
Site ........................................................................................................................................20

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 4


EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 5

Interventions .........................................................................................................................20
Data Collection Plan .............................................................................................................21
Data Collection Matrix ..............................................................................................22
Instruments ................................................................................................................23
Teacher Observation and Anecdotal Notes ......................................................23
Behavior Tracking Sheet ..................................................................................24
Discipline Referral Forms ................................................................................24
Student Behavior Pre & Post Survey ...............................................................24
Analyzing Results .................................................................................................................25
Possible Issues ......................................................................................................................25
Timeline for Research ...........................................................................................................26
Data Validity Analysis ..........................................................................................................26
Validity .....................................................................................................................26
Triangulation ....................................................................................................26
Peer Review ......................................................................................................26
Reliability .................................................................................................................28
Generalizability ........................................................................................................28

Results ............................................................................................................................................29
Findings ................................................................................................................................29
Discussion of Findings .........................................................................................................34
Results Conclusion ................................................................................................39
Limitations ............................................................................................................39
Further Research ...................................................................................................40

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 6

Action Plan.....................................................................................................................................40
Conclusions.. ..............................................................................................................44
References.. ................................................................................................................46
Appendices.. ...............................................................................................................48
Appendix A: Teacher Observation - Student Anecdotal Record Form................................48
Appendix B: Student Behavior Tracking Sheet ...................................................................49
Appendix C: Discipline Referral Form 1 .............................................................................50
Appendix D: Discipline Referral Form 2 .............................................................................51
Appendix E: Student Behavior Survey Pre & Post Test ......................................................52



EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 7

List of Tables
Tables
Table 1 Data Collection Matrix ...........................................................................................22
Table 2 Pre & Post Assessment Data Open Ended Questions .........................................31
Table 3 Data From Individual Behavior Tracking Sheet ....................................................33

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 8

List of Figures
Figures
Figure 1 Pre Assessment Data .............................................................................................30
Figure 2 Post Assessment Data ...........................................................................................31




EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 9


Effective School-wide Disciplinary Practices and Their Impact on Students Social and Academic
Behaviors
Introduction
Rationale
An elementary schools environment should be safe, comforting, and one where students
are able to learn and thrive socially and academically. Since all students are unique and require
differentiation to learn and grow, teachers are constantly adapting the way they teach to fit the
needs of all learners. Students require remediation and extra academic support in order to grasp
critical learning skills and objectives. Some students require enrichment opportunities when the
work does not present enough of a challenge to them. Teachers are used to modifying their
teaching this way. However, it appears that teaching appropriate standards of behavior takes a
back-seat to academics. Teachers may assume that students understand what is expected of them
in school, in essence, spending less time focusing on teaching acceptable behaviors that
contribute to a positive school climate. Often, negative and off task behaviors lead to wasted
academic time. Specifically, unstructured and transition times throughout the day allow for
inappropriate behaviors to take place more often without notice. In order for an entire elementary
school of students to understand what is expected of them, explicit modeling of appropriate
behaviors, along with school-wide expectations, rewards and disciplinary practices need to be
present so that the school environment is truly safe, comforting, and the best one for students to
learn and thrive both socially and academically.
Statement of the Problem
LeBrun, Mann, & Muscott (2008) explain that the implementation phase of PBIS
(Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is able to be put into action only once several
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 10

other steps are taken. For example, teachers must come to an agreement that a universal behavior
system is needed in the first place. They must be trained in positive behavior support methods
and construct a type of teaching matrix along with planned activities to help teach and model
appropriate behaviors. A core team should be established to oversee procedures, and families
have to be notified of new behavioral protocols and interventions that are being created to help
improve the environment in which their child learns. A goal of PBIS, according to the OSEP
Center, US Dept. of Education (2009) is that schools come up with a system that help make the
school environment more responsive and productive, with less reactive and undesirable
behaviors. Academic engagement should be maximized and students requiring special services in
regards to social/emotional behaviors should be more supported.
In Montowese Elementary School, there has been a plethora of behavior problems,
specifically over the past year, regarding disrespectful behaviors and undesirable transition
behaviors. Some classes would walk nicely in the hall, while some would run and disturb
working classrooms. Each individual classroom teacher and/or specialist dealt with these
problem behaviors differently. A classroom teachers expectations for his or her students often
differed from the expectations of another educator. The school administrator had staff take a
survey at the end of the 2012-2013 school year to determine what teachers felt were the largest
school setbacks. Student respect was number one. Next, the administrator sent a survey to
families with questions about their thoughts about the school. One question asked parents and
families if they thought bullying was an issue. A rather large percentage of parents answered
yes or dont know leading staff to believe that there had to be more documentation and
protocols for undesirable behaviors. Additionally, the teacher researcher met with her upcoming
students previous teachers for background information on each student. The teacher researcher
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learned that her upcoming class had a make-up that included two students with behavior
individualized education plans (IEPs). Previous teachers complained about work time being lost
due to having to redirect behaviors, specifically during unstructured or transition times. Fifty
percent of the upcoming students were also below benchmark in the area of reading. Not only in
the classroom was time being wasted, but students were hardly finishing their lunch in the
lunchroom, arguing on the playground, and acting disrespectfully during school assemblies. With
all staff on the same page regarding the behaviors in the school, Montowese adopted PBIS to be
fully implemented over the course of the 2013-2014 school year. Teachers would come up with
common language, visual reminders and modeling techniques to use with students to help
improve problem behaviors. The teacher researcher would only focus on her second grade class.
After explicit modeling of behaviors and the completion of a student pre-survey, the teacher
observer would use anecdotal notes and observation to study her students and any positive
changes seen. Once weekly, she would spend time in the lunchroom with the students, and she
would accompany them daily during recess throughout the research period. Hopes were that
explicit modeling of expectations and a clear, universal set of rules, consequences and rewards
could help improve morale at the school and allow students to maximize social and academic
time.
Participants
At the time of this research, Diana Boroski, the teacher researcher, was in her sixth year
of teaching at Montowese Elementary School. Montowese is one of four elementary schools in
North Haven, CT. Her first year was spent teaching Kindergarten, and second grade ever since.
This year, she has become part of the school-wide PBIS team and has trained a student teacher.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 12

Participants that were included in this study were the teacher researchers sixteen second
grade students. The class consisted of seven and eight year old students. Eight of these students
entered grade two below benchmark in reading, according to the districts developmental reading
assessment (DRA). The researcher focused on these students the most during the research. Two
students were receiving Tier 2 reading interventions. One student was receiving Tier 3 reading
interventions and in the process of being evaluated by special services. Three students had
individualized education plans (IEPs). Out of these three students, two of them had specific
behavior goals in their IEP. These students began the school year consistently off-task and
disruptive in the classroom. The tables and figures found in this research will refer to participants
by a number so that confidentiality is maintained.
Research Questions
The following questions guided the research:
Question 1: Through explicit modeling at the start of the school year, will participants gain a
clearer understanding of what is expected of them as students?
Question 2: Will explicitly teaching/modeling appropriate behaviors to students help decrease
the amount of off-task behaviors throughout the school day?
Question 3: Will using universal discipline and incentive measures improve student behavior?
Question 4: Will the implementation of PBIS in the researchers classroom result in
improvements in academics/academic behavior (i.e. motivation towards learning).
Hypotheses
The hypotheses for the above research questions were:
Hypothesis 1: Upon the conclusion of this research, the participants will have a noticeable
clearer understanding of what types of behaviors are expected of them as students.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 13

Hypothesis 2: Explicitly teaching and modeling appropriate behaviors to students will help
decrease the amount of off-task behaviors throughout the day.
Hypothesis 3: Using universal discipline and incentive methods and measures will help improve
student behavior.
Hypothesis 4: The implementation of PBIS in the researchers classroom will result in
improvements in academics/academic behavior (i.e. motivation towards learning).
Roadblocks
Roadblocks did not occur throughout this research. All of the research took place during
school hours in the teacher researchers classroom. Since PBIS was adopted by the elementary
school this school year, the school administrator/principal had discussed PBIS with parents at an
Open House night on September 11, 2013. Pamphlets and information were distributed
explaining behavior expectations and consequences, including a teaching matrix of school-wide
expected behaviors. Individuals who could not attend the Open House night were sent the
information via their childs school mail.
Ethical Considerations
Any information regarding participants was kept between the teacher, special services
teachers (if applicable) and parents of students who may have been receiving recognition for
positive behaviors, or discipline referrals. All grade two students were given the same
opportunities to understand behavioral expectations. The teacher researcher along with some
support staff explicitly modeled lessons on how to behave in the classroom, at assemblies,
recess, cafeteria and hallway. The way these lessons were presented to students did not differ
much from how students are typically taught throughout the school day. Students even received
passports to get stamped with the school mascot once they completed learning about the
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 14

expectations in each of these locations. There were no risks to participants throughout this
research.
Literature Review
Introduction: What is PBIS?
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) & U.S. Department of Education
explains that Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) is not actually an intervention,
but a decision making framework (2009). This so-called framework uses evidence-based
preparations in order to produce more desirable academic and social behaviors from students.
The use of data and measurable goals are strengths of PBIS. PBIS is specific and universal,
providing equal opportunities for all students to thrive in a school setting. Much of the other
research discussed in this review connects back to what OSEP & the U.S. Department of
Education believe to be important aspects of PBIS. For example, PBIS is proactive and helps
maintain a safe environment. Classroom management is continually addressed and the biggest
picture is motivated students who are able to achieve socially and academically. All staff is
accountable for monitoring progress.
Not just another initiative
Lebrun, Mann, & Muscott (2008) discuss the desirable effects yielded by implementing a
positive behavior support system on K-12 schools in New Hampshire back in 2002. Although
classroom teachers shared skepticism in regards to adopting yet another initiative, in the end,
they note an incredible difference in school-wide positive behaviors. These improvements also
include some academic gains, especially in math. There were some limitations to this study,
which include the fact that there was little or no baseline data collected before the new behavior
plan went into place. Also, New Hampshire did not have any comparison schools to compare
results with. New Hampshire teachers stress the importance of continued teacher coaching and
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 15

administrative support in order to make PBIS successful. It seems that the fact that because
educators in New Hampshire were so committed to this behavior reform, it was able to be so
beneficial to staff and students in New Hampshire.
The article written by Samuels, C. (2013), notes some benefits of PBIS, while thoroughly
exploring and discussing the cons that come with it. Samuels explains that PBIS is rooted in
special education and has expanded greatly over the years. However, its suggested that those
who believe in the benefits of PBIS become somewhat narrow-minded, forgetting that other
interventions exist and can and should also be used when necessary. Samuels research includes
opinions from several principals, professors and other individuals involved in different
behavioral support programs to help strengthen her viewpoints that PBIS is not the end-all be-all
in education. George Bear, a professor at the School of Education at the University of Delaware
in Newark fears that PBIS does not help students to strive to be intrinsically motivated. Other
individuals are apprehensive about whether or not educators are jumping right to interventions
without resorting to other proper screening tools first. Samuels research does not include
commentary from equal standpoints. Rather, individuals in the article commonly believe that a
successful behavior program has to have more components than PBIS offers.
Fidelity of PBIS
The research conducted by Bevans, K., Bradshaw, C., Brown, L., Leaf, P., & Reinke, W.
(2008) looks mainly at the fidelity of PBIS. This study has a common trend with that of LeBrun,
et al (2008) by implying that some aspects of PBIS develop faster than others and that there is no
real way of knowing what aspects of the PBIS model were already occurring in schools prior to
officially implementing PBIS. Due to lack of baseline data, it is challenging to always have that
high level of fidelity when trying to track gains and progress. Although all studies discussed in
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this review will admit that there are several benefits to the implementation of PBIS, there are
definitely factors that one cannot account for. The study conducted by Bevans, et al (2008), looks
at a total of 37 schools; 21 that were assigned at random to receive PBIS training, and 16 schools
that were not trained in PBIS. A purpose of this study was to review fidelity and how to maintain
fidelity amongst schools. The schools that were trained showed higher fidelity. Additionally,
Bevans, et al. stress the importance of having clear teaching expectations in place in order for
PBIS to be successful in fidelity.
Multiple levels of interventions lead to success
Eber & Netzel (2003) take a more concentrated approach, and look at PBIS in an urban
district in Illinois. A former behavior program referred to as Positive Behavior Supports (PBS)
was once used more for individual students as opposed to school-wide interventions. This study
looks at PBIS, which include many more interventions to improve school-wide behaviors. Eber
& Netzel clearly explain why PBIS may even be more critical in urban districts, describing many
urban challenges such as lack of resources, poverty, class sizes, etc. It seems imperative that
multiple levels of interventions are present to keep students motivated to learn. North Elementary
School (NES) piloted the PBIS program after staff received training and learned of the benefits
of a consistent and proactive approach to school-wide behavior issues. The PBIS team at NES
used a tiered model to identify students who would benefit from whole-school interventions, and
what accommodations would be necessary for those with at-risk and high-risk behaviors. An
entire year was diligently spent on relating interventions directly to specific behaviors that were
being exhibited, modeling expected behaviors and utilizing data properly. Similarly, other
studies mentioned in this review also stress the importance of successfully educating staff in
order to make PBIS as helpful as possible. As time progressed and a new school year started,
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PBIS took full effect. Negative statements such as saying Dont and No were replaced by
reminding students how to respect themselves, others, and their school in various situations at
different times throughout the day. Specific expectations went hand-in-hand with specific places
such as the cafeteria and playground. Lesson plans with teacher scripting were developed in
order to maintain continuity across the school. All of this work yielded fantastic results, with
decreases in negative behaviors as well as school suspensions. Key findings of this study revolve
around staff dedication and continuous involvement in PBIS, with clear expectations, modeling,
and follow through being of utmost importance.
Behaviors affect academics
Growe, R., Hicks, J., & Vallaire-Thomas, L. (2011) take a look at the negative behaviors
taking place inside the classrooms of elementary and middle school children. They keep a goal in
mind, which is to essentially reduce a discipline referral rate due to these negative behaviors.
Understanding that the constant use of reprimands does not always get to the root of exhibited
undesirable behaviors, Growe, et al. (2011) realize that academics end up being threatened.
When the learning process is disrupted, valuable instructional time is lost and most often time
cannot be revered (p. 226). Positive Behavior Support (PBS), as mentioned earlier in the study
conducted by Eber & Netzel (2003), is described along with information on the three tiers, where
Tier 1 includes mostly all students and Tier 3 requires behavior contracts and the use of
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) for students requiring extensive interventions for special
education issues or other chronic challenges. Some areas found to consistently affect whether or
not a school benefitted or failed from PBS had to do with support from administrators, staff
training and staff and student involvement. Clearly, everyone has to be on board for such a
system to work. But, is PBS enough for all students? Using an inner city elementary school and a
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 18

rural middle school, this research takes PBS to the next level and implements SFBT (Solution
Focused Brief Therapy). Educators believe adding SFBT to PBS could help greater reduce
behavior referrals. A handful of students from each school who are not responding from PBS are
used as the main participants in this study. Parents, teachers, counselors, etc. are involved. Past
experiences of the students are looked at, and questionnaires are filled out by students and
parents. Because more influential people are involved in this study, researchers are hopeful that
better results be yielded and less referrals be warranted.
The last study reviewed focuses again on the classroom level. Herman, K., Reinke, W., &
Stormont, M. (2013) look at the alignment of behavioral interventions in the classroom and
school-wide. Teachers and students from thirty-three elementary classes were used in this study.
The research begins by making it clear that there are many teachers who find classroom
management to be one of the greatest challenges, and something teachers are not typically
trained in. Teachers are said to sometimes be emotionally exhausted and this could cause
teachers to react to negative behaviors in a negative way rather than in a positive one. Even with
PBIS in place, teachers may feel they have difficulty carrying positive behaviors over to their
classroom. This study helps readers connect classroom management with emotional exhaustion,
and clarifies the need for a follow through from the school wide PBIS to classroom management.
Ideally, teachers should be positive and not using harsh reprimands in order to correct behavior.
Furthermore, teachers require support to effectively teach their students. Next, strategies are
suggested for teachers to use in the classroom. Reinforcing appropriate behaviors and posting a
positive set of rules and expectations are suggested. This study took a look at teachers and their
interactions with their students and how they used praise and reprimands. Results showed that
very few teachers used harsh reprimands. All teachers used praise, although most used general
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 19

praise rather than specific forms of praise. This study proves that school wide PBIS will indeed
carry over and work in the classroom, but other factors still need to be present. An emotionally
exhausted teacher may exhibit more negative behaviors and find his/her classroom to be poorly
managed with lots of disruptions as opposed to a teacher with high self-efficacy and feelings of
being supported.
Literature Review Conclusion
Research supports that PBIS positively impacts students social and academics behaviors,
as long as it is carried out to the fullest extent. Many factors help to make PBIS successful. The
integration of data, measurable outcomes for students, effective school wide modeling and
practices and a system and core team to support said practices are of utmost importance in
establishing a school-wide system. PBIS helps students, as well as teachers, feel supported and
able to learn in the most beneficial environment.
Methodology
Statement of the Problem
The researcher is a second grade teacher in North Haven, CT. PBIS, which stands for
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, has recently been adopted by Montowese
Elementary School. Staff at the school have been working together to minimize disrespectful and
problematic behaviors exhibited by students, mostly occurring during transition and unstructured
times. In essence, the school environment should improve where students can better learn and
thrive with less wasted time. Teachers in the school have not been using common language
with students in regards to expectations. Additionally, it appears that there are different
expectations for different students in different areas of the school. Clearer expectations,
consequences and incentives need to be put into action.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 20

Research Questions
Question 1: Through explicit modeling at the start of the school year, will participants gain a
clearer understanding of what is expected of them as students?
Question 2: Will explicitly teaching/modeling appropriate behaviors to students help decrease
the amount of off-task behaviors throughout the school day?
Question 3: Will using universal discipline and incentive measures improve student behavior?
Question 4: Will the implementation of PBIS in the researchers classroom result in
improvements in academics/academic behavior (i.e. motivation towards learning).
Hypotheses
Hypothesis 1: Upon the conclusion of this research, the participants will have a noticeable
clearer understanding of what types of behaviors are expected of them as students.
Hypothesis 2: Explicitly teaching and modeling appropriate behaviors to students will help
decrease the amount of off-task behaviors throughout the day.
Hypothesis 3: Using universal discipline and incentive methods and measures will help improve
student behavior.
Hypothesis 4: The implementation of PBIS in the researchers classroom will result in
improvements in academics/academic behavior (i.e. motivation towards learning).
Participants
Participants were the teacher researchers sixteen second grade students. The class
consisted of seven and eight year old students. Eight of these students entered grade two below
benchmark in reading according to the districts developmental reading assessment (DRA).
While the whole class was involved in the research, these 8 students were observed more heavily
in the researchers anecdotal notes. Two of these students were receiving Tier 2 reading
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 21

interventions. One student was receiving Tier 3 reading interventions and in the process of being
evaluated by special services. Three students had individualized education plans (IEPs). Out of
these three students, two of them had specific behavior goals in their IEP. These students began
the school year consistently off-task and disruptive in the classroom. They had been using a daily
behavior checklist to be sent home and signed by parents that indicated how their morning and
afternoon went based on smiley or sad faces and whether or not they needed any reminders, how
many, and if they had to take a break throughout the day.
Site
The action research took place in the teacher researchers second grade classroom at
Montowese Elementary School. In addition, these second grade students were observed by the
researcher when traveling and visiting other areas of the K-5 school building, such as the
hallway, cafeteria, playground, and at assemblies (when applicable). The school is located in the
small rural town of North Haven, in Connecticut. All lessons took place during school hours.
Many observations specifically took place during unstructured and transition times throughout
the day.
Interventions
Research supports that all students can benefit from having access to effective and well
planned out academic and behavioral practices and interventions (OSEP Center, US Dept. of
Education, 2009). Interventions will generally be the same for all of the researchers second
grade students. Anecdotal notes and teacher observations (Appendix A), behavior charts for two
particular students (Appendix B) along with referral forms 1 & 2 (Appendix C) will be used to
keep track of the frequency of problem behaviors and ensure that there is record of problematic
behavior at school and sent home. To encourage positive behaviors after explicit modeling of
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 22

said behaviors, posters and visual aids will be available as reminders to students. Voice posters
are present in the building to remind students of voice levels 0-5 and when its appropriate to use
each level. Signs with rules for behavior in the classroom, hallway, recess and assembly are
posted around each area as reminders, as well. In the cafeteria, students can earn a star when
demonstrating appropriate behaviors. Four stars by the end of a week can lead to five minutes of
extra recess, to be given to students as an immediate reward. While all of the researchers
students are involved in this research, two students already on a behavior tracking sheet from
early in the year will be monitored closely to note improvements. The investigator will continue
with these behavior charts, which involves coloring in smiley faces or sad faces for different
parts of the day. After a certain amount of smiley faces, rewards may be chosen, such as lunch
with the teacher. Montowese Ms are given out to students who go above and beyond and do
more than expected. The investigator has not given many of these out so far this year. She will
keep track of the Ms given out to students and record the times when students are mostly
earning them. As the referral forms (Appendix C) indicate, there are specific interventions for
specific behaviors. Most behaviors observed in the teacher researchers room have been Level 1
behaviors and have involved interventions which include a temporary change of environment,
parent contact, apology, etc. Since respect was voted a major issue in the school, common
language for students is, Respect self, respect others, respect school.
Data Collection Plan
Qualitative and some quantitative data will be collected as part of this process. The Tier 3
student and one of the students with an IEP exhibit the most problematic behaviors throughout
the course of the day and also struggle the most academically. Through observing, tallying off-
task behaviors and using multiple behavior charts and referral forms, the researcher will aim to
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 23

find a correlation between behavior and motivation towards academics for these two boys.
Perhaps explicit modeling of expected behaviors, more accountability for these behaviors and
greater use of rewards will enhance these students ability to thrive academically in the
classroom. The pre-test and post-test will present students with an opportunity to express the
negative behaviors theyve witnessed or taken part of in school and clarify if they know what is
expected of them as students in Montowese School. Referral forms will be a data collection tool
to keep track of inappropriate behaviors and interventions in order to find a pattern and/or see
what methods work best with these particular students.
Table 1
Data Collection Matrix
Research Question Data Source #1 Data Source #2 Data Source #3
Will participants have a
clearer understanding of
what is expected of them as
students?
Teacher Observation
Anecdotal Notes/Tallies
Student Behavior Survey
(pre-test)
Student Behavior Survey
(post-test)
Will explicitly
teaching/modeling
appropriate behaviors to
students help decrease the
amount of off-task
behaviors throughout the
school day?
Teacher Observation
Anecdotal Notes/Tallies

Student Behavior Survey
(pre-test)
Student Behavior Survey
(post-test)
Will using universal
discipline and incentive
measures improve student
Teacher Observation
Anecdotal Notes/Tallies

Discipline Referral Forms
1 & 2

Student Behavior Tracking
Sheets
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 24

behavior?
Will the implementation of
PBIS in the researchers
classroom result in
improvements in
academics/academic
behavior (i.e. motivation
towards learning).
Teacher Observation Anecdotal Notes

Instruments
Table 1 shows the different data sources that were used over the course of this research.
Data was collected prior to research, during research, and upon the completion of the research.
Teacher Observation/Anecdotal Notes. Referring to teacher observation, Mills (2011)
claims, Action research gives us a systematic and rigorous way to view this process of
observation as a qualitative data collection technique (p. 74). The researcher spent lots of time
over the research period observing students in their everyday lessons and activities. This was
done in a natural environment, similar to how any teacher would observe his or her class
normally throughout the course of the school year. Acting as an active participant observer, the
researcher used anecdotal record forms (Mills, 2011) (Appendix A) as a means of observing
students. The researcher added a place to record the location of observed behaviors, since it was
possibly to observe students at lunch or in areas outside of the classroom. Qualitative factors
were written down, such as how students acted during less structured time such as entering the
classroom from the hallway, playing at recess, transitioning from one activity or lesson to the
next. For the students with behavior IEPs, the teacher was sure to also note how engaged they
were in small reading groups from the beginning of research to the end of research. The teacher
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 25

observer also kept track of positive marks on behavior charts, amount of Montowese Ms
distributed to students exhibiting above and beyond behavior, time lost due to redirecting
behavior, and whether or not students paid special attention to the posters and visual aids hung
around the school to act as reminders of appropriate behavior.
Behavior Tracking Sheets. This simple sheet (Appendix B) was used last year with two
students with behavior goals on an IEP. The only baseline data the researcher has comes from
verbal exchanges with the students last year teachers. According to these teachers, the behavior
sheets were a decent incentive, as the students enjoyed receiving smiley faces and/or rewards,
however, they still remember giving lots of middle faces and having to check off that the
student needed to take a break or receive reminders throughout the day. The teacher observer
used these behavior tracking sheets over the course of the entire research period.
Discipline Referral Forms. These forms (Appendix C & D) were developed as a means
of collecting data about problem behaviors and maintaining a paper trail so that proper
interventions are able to be put into action when and if needed. As you can see, there are specific
interventions for different levels of problem behaviors. Possibly motivators are looked at, and
parent contact is required through the use of a signature along with a written note by the student,
accepting responsibility for his or her actions. This helps to ensure that parents are involved and
kept aware of what is happening in the school, which is one of the critical pieces in ensuring that
PBIS is rolled out appropriately.
Student Behavior Survey (Pre and Post). This survey (Appendix E) was developed so
that the researcher could assess several factors, such as if students believed bullying was an
issue, if they were able to list common rules and expectations teachers had for them, if they were
aware of what respect and logical consequences were, etc. This survey was read aloud to
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 26

students due to their young age, so that their answers could be as accurate as possible. Students
with learning goals on their IEPs filled it out with an adult. The survey was initially given at the
very beginning of the research period, prior to PBIS fully being implemented and lessons being
explicitly modeled. It was given again at the end of November.
Analyzing Results
If a positive correlation could be found (especially with the two students exhibiting most
extreme behaviors) between behavior and academics, it will suggest that a classroom
environment where students know exactly what is expected of them can influence academic
motivation and growth. Through daily teacher observation and notes taken at the end of each
subject period, data will show an increase or decrease in off-task behaviors and frequency of
teacher interventions (an example of this could include having to stop teaching to redirect
behavior). The investigator hopes to write out less office referrals and receive more positive
feedback from students at the end of the study through use of the post-test. Pre and post student
surveys should demonstrate that students obtain an increased understanding of what is expected
of them throughout the timeline of this research,
Possible Issues
Since PBIS is a new program, there is not much established baseline data on student
behavior prior to the program. While the district can unanimously declare that behavior has
become more of a challenge over the past few years, there arent many numbers or data to back
up opinions. At the end of last year, teachers were casually asked by the principal to
anonymously list what they believed to be a large problem at school and most teachers
responded with respect. In meeting, we agreed that students need explicit modeling of what it
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 27

means to respect themselves, each other and their school. Additionally, the timeline for research
had to be shortened a bit due to the IRB review process taking longer than expected.
Timeline for Research
The timeline of this research will take place over a 4 and a half week period, beginning
October 28 until November 27, 2013.
Data Validity Analysis

Validity. Mills (2011) describes validity as, how we know that the data we collect (text
scores, for example) accurately gauge what we are trying to measure (p. 102). In order to ensure
that this research was in fact valid, it was shared with the Montowese Elementary School
principal and a grade-level partner. The principal has spent the last few years extremely
dedicated to forming several events to boost school spirit. A grade two grade-level partner values
the importance of viewing behavior and classroom environment as important as academics. The
peer review and interactions with these colleagues was helpful. Their feedback was reassuring
and reiterated the belief that fostering positive peer relationships is critical, especially in
elementary school.
Triangulation. Triangulation helps to ensure that any action research conducted is valid
research. Mills (2011) explains that It is generally accepted in action research circles that
researchers should not rely on any single source of data, interview, observation, or instrument
(p. 96). Table 1 illustrates how triangulation was used during this action research. Instruments
such as teacher observation and anecdotal notes, pre and post student surveys, behavior tracking
sheets and the use of discipline referrals helped to answer the research questions.
Peer Review. Both colleagues agreed that data collection sources were sufficient,
considering the research is not as cut and dry as a project that focuses solely on academics.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 28

They agreed that observing is a powerful tool. Teachers are constantly self-reflecting and
pushing themselves to do more to meet the needs of all our students. Chatting with the principal,
with the common core standards posted on a nearby bulletin board, reminded both parties that
one of the most important domains of the CCT is Domain #2: Classroom Environment, Student
Engagement and Commitment to Learning. All indicators of CCT Domain 2 are related to
fostering appropriate relationships and standards for behavior to create a positive environment,
including maximizing learning time based on minimizing the behavior problems that often take
place during transition and unstructured times. This entire school is dedicated to PBIS for the
first time this year, and the principal liked that extra effort was being put forth to making sure a
classroom of 16 students understand the expectations that come with the program, as well as the
benefits of making positive behavior choices. The grade-level partner had similar reassuring
words, as she is on the "School Climate Committee" and is energetic about changing the morale
in the building. With this being said, more confidence in this research has been constructed.
There is a definite belief that the student pre and post survey will demonstrate that positive
changes are occurring throughout the course of this project. In the past, there was no
accountability for behaviors. Now, thanks to a school-wide PBIS committees hard work, there
are data forms, referrals, behavior tracking sheets, etc. so that accountability is imperative. A
universal language has thrived, resulting in expectations and rewards that can only improve
social and academic behaviors of students.
Not many changes were made to the data collection after these meetings. The principal
suggested continuing to involve parents in the process, especially as one of the school goals this
year is to promote more communication between parents and the school. While parents have
been given PBIS handouts at open house night and are aware of what is expected of their child
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 29

and what the rewards/consequences are, she suggested that information pertinent to this research
project be mentioned each week in the researchers classroom newsletter. This could be as
simple as, Ask me about something kind I did for a friend this week or Ask me about the
different ways we can show respect on the playground, cafeteria, classroom. This ensures that
talking points are present, and students know that both their teachers and grown-ups are checking
in and looking out for them. Both colleagues are interested in viewing the tally sheets and
observations of interruptions during academic time based on behavior issues.
Reliability. After ensuring that research is valid, its important to make sure that it is also
reliable. Throughout this research, the teacher researcher was the only teacher collecting formal
data on the participants. Even though she had a student teacher and paraprofessionals working in
her classroom while the research was being conducted, those individuals were never able to fill
in for the teacher researcher. Throughout this research, participants were broken up into two
groups. Eight participants who entered the grade below benchmark on reading assessments, or
had specific IEP goals for academics or behavior, or received Tier 2 and 3 interventions were
looked at more individually than the second half of the class. To maintain reliability, the teacher
researcher created a set schedule to ensure that these students would be fairly observed each
week. For example, their reading groups would be pulled more often throughout the research in
order for the research to get an accurate observation of their motivation or academic gains being
made. In addition, when students were given the pre and post behavior surveys, the teacher
researcher read and explained questions aloud each time so that there was minimal confusion. In
regards to reliability, Mills (2011) states, For qualitatively oriented action researchers the
message is simple: As you think about the results of your inquiry, consider whether you think
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 30

that your data would be consistently collected if the same techniques were utilized over time (p.
113). This was a golden rule throughout the course of this research.
Generalizability. An example of generalizability would involve taking the results of one
study (which could possibly involve only a small group of participants), and attempting to apply
those findings to that of a larger population (Mills, 2011). However, this was not the purpose of
this type of action research, as the action research conducted here was carried out by a teacher
researcher who only intended to collect information on her students and school. Generalizability
will differ based on who is conducting research and for what reason.
Results
Findings
Data was collected prior to, during, and post intervention. The student behavior survey
served as the pre and post tool. Each Friday over the course of the research, anecdotal notes were
reviewed and compiled together in a folder (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc.) So much time was
focused on observing students, that these notes helped the researcher to find similar trends in
areas such as students positive and negative behaviors and student engagement. Any discipline
referral forms given to a student were filed with notes regarding the type of behavior exhibited,
the intervention used, and whether or not it was successful. Behavior tracking sheets came back
signed each day as they should, and at the end of a week, the researcher noted gains made in the
behavior of these two IEP students.
Student understanding of expectations. Data on how clearly students understood the
rules and expectations set for them by their teacher/school was measured by a pre and post
behavior survey (Appendix E). Prior to implementing PBIS and explicitly modeling rules and
appropriate behaviors during the first week of school, students took the pre-test as a means of
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 31

baseline data. At the end of the research, students took the same survey again as post-data. By
the end of this action research, a large percentage of students had clearer understandings of the
rules and expectations, and were able to describe rules and expectations in greater detail than
they were able to at the start of the research (see Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1. This survey was taken prior to the intervention and displays students responses to
questions on the student survey regarding bullying and student understanding of respect and
logical consequences

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 32


Figure 2. This survey was taken upon completion of the intervention and displays students
responses to questions on the student survey regarding bullying and student understanding of
respect and logical consequences.
Table 2 below examines student responses to the open-ended questions on the student
survey. Findings here demonstrated that by the end of the action research, students were seeing
bullying less on the playground and in the cafeteria, and not at all in the classroom. Students
were also using more common language based on lessons taught by the teacher researcher.
General responses on the pre-test in regards to rules included be kind, and listen to the
teacher. These were replaced with more detailed responses such as, respect yourself, school,
and others on the post-test. It appears that bullying decreased in the classroom, lunchroom and
at recess. In addition, the data suggested that students obtained a better understanding of logical
consequences, respect, and what were considered to be problem behaviors in the school.
Table 2.
Pre & Post Assessment Data Open Ended Questions
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 33

Survey Question/Statement

Pre Data Post Data
Where has bullying occurred?


Recess: 4 students
Classroom: 3 students
Lunch: 3 students
Recess: 3 students
Lunch: 1 students

*One student did not specify

List 3 important rules that all
students must follow in our
classroom
Responses included:
Raise your hand
Dont shout
Be safe
Be kind
Do your work
Try your best
Do your homework
Ask friends to play
Listen to the teacher

Responses included:
Respect Self
Respect Others
Respect School
Leave no trace wherever we go
Be positive
Speak at a zero in the hallway
Use recess stuff the right way
Keep hands and feet to yourself
Be kind
Be polite
Raise your hand

Define/give an example of respect Being nice: 3 students

Not touching others: 1 student
Listening: 2 students

Treating others like you want them
to treat you: 1 student

Keep hands and feet to yourself: 5
students

Leave no trace: 3 students

Be nice: 3 students

Give personal space: 1 student

Listen when friends are talking: 1
student

Dont use bad language: 1 student

Take care of property: 1 student

Give an example of a logical
consequence
Being punished

What you get when you make a bad
choice

Losing recess

Going to the office

*one student did not specify
Its not a punishment 2

You leave a situation that you are
having trouble in and think about
how to make it better when you go
back 1

Not being able to use the playground
equipment if you were being unsafe
on it 2

Being punished - 2

*two students did not specify





EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 34

Off-task behaviors. The amount of off-task behaviors decreased drastically over the course of
this study. The teacher researcher noted that students were off-task very often, specifically
during whole-group lessons, earlier in the research. At the end, students did a much better job of
remembering to use non-verbal signals, take turns, move quickly and quietly, and maximize time
spent learning.
The use of universal discipline and incentive measures. Data in Table 4 (see below)
was taken from adding up the amount of times Students A and B had to Take a Break
according to their daily behavior tracking sheet. This sheet involved coloring in smiley faces,
medium faces and sad faces for the AM and PM, as well as whether or not the student had to
remove themselves from an activity due to more than two firm reminders.
Table 3.
Data from Individual Behavior Tracking Sheet Students A and B
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5
(3 day week)
Student A 4 breaks 2 break 1 break 0 breaks 0 breaks
Student B 2 breaks 1 break 0 breaks 0 breaks 1 break

Improvements in academic behaviors. Based on anecdotal notes, students showed
great improvements with staying motivated, specifically in reading groups. Prior to the
implementation of PBIS, students spent more time paying attention to what the other students
were doing. They did not use the expo markers and white boards appropriately during sight word
and spelling practice, and rather drew pictures and became off task during lessons. As this
research went on week by week, students seemed influenced and motivated by the improved
behaviors of their peers. Students A and B showed great growth in attention skills. Students C,
D, E and F who are in the same guided reading group were heard talking aloud in regards to
strategies they were using. For example, I wrote m-a-k but that cant be right. Oh yes, I have to
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 35

add magic silent e to give all the power to the a and spell MAKE! Groups were running
smoother, allowing the teacher researcher to cycle through her students more efficiently and
effectively. Students E and F, Tier 2 students who left the room for reading support daily for a
half an hour, entered back into the classroom after their reading support session quietly. In the
past, these students had trouble adjusting after leaving the room. They ran in loudly or in
disruptive manners, throwing off the concentration of the rest of the class. As the weeks of AR
continued, they appeared more focused and independent. They entered the room and took it upon
themselves to figure out what their task was and what it is they should be working on. The
majority of the class were observed quietly working in Daily Five sessions, such as read to self,
read to someone, work on writing, word work, or listen to reading, while the teacher researcher
pulled small groups. Prior to this research, many students in class could not be trusted to
independently work at a session without making the session into a game or becoming silly with
peers. There was much improvement in overall academic behaviors, engagement and motivation.
A limitation is that many assessments will not be re-given until January, and even if students do
well, it may be difficult to tell why some gains were made do to PBIS and what percentage of
students were simply improving with time spent working on skills in second grade.
Discussion of Findings
This action research examined the effects of explicitly teaching school-wide disciplinary
practices on how students understood what is expected of them, how often off-task behaviors
occurred throughout the day, how well the use of universal discipline and inventive measures
worked with students, and how students academic behaviors improved due to the
implementation of PBIS. Participants showed positive improvements in all four areas.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 36

Student understanding of expectations. The first hypothesis which stated that
participants would have a better understanding of what the expectations were for them was
confirmed. In looking at Figure 1, significant changes were observed from the pre and post data.
Students who claimed they were a victim of unkind behavior decreased from 63% to 31%.
Students who claimed that they treated others in an unkind way decreased from 38% to 19%.
94% of students claimed to have understood the meaning of respect by the time of the post test,
from an initial 44%. 75% of students understood what a logical consequence was by the time of
the posttest from an initial 31%.
In regards to Figure 3, some students initially wanted to write a few sentences in the open
ended sections but were prompted to choose ONE answer. For example, choose ONE way to
show respect, and choose ONE explanation of a logical consequence. This made data clearer to
interpret. In all open-ended areas, student responses were much more detailed and specific on the
post test. Additionally, responses better aligned with expectations taught by the researcher
according to the teaching matrix of school wide expectations. Using the motto, Respect self,
respect others, respect school and reminding students how to do these things throughout the
course of the research helped students to better understand the rules. When reviewing student
thoughts in regards to logical consequences, it was still difficult on the post-assessment for some
students to express what a logical consequence was, although 7 more students claimed to know
what a logical consequence was from the pre-test. Two students still viewed logical
consequences as being punished. In future research, more emphasis should be placed in this
area and it should be deeper entwined with PBIS. Also, 4 students stated on the pre-test that they
experienced some form of bullying at recess. This number only decreased to 3 students on the
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 37

post-test. Since this is the most unstructured time throughout the school day, future action plans
will have to address how to better observe and encourage appropriate recess behaviors.
The last question on the pre and post student behavior survey asked students to circle the
problem behaviors. The correct response would be All of the above. On the pre-test, only 25%
of students viewed all of the behaviors as problem behaviors. To their defense, this question
could have been new to some students. The researcher explained that if students chose All of
the above, they could not circle any other answer. By the end of the research, 81% of students
understood that teasing, taking things that belong to others, using inappropriate language and
using bodies to hurt others are all considered problem behaviors. Prior to the PBIS
implementation, students may have viewed teasing or the uses of inappropriate language
acceptable in school, as both are not physical.
Off-task behaviors. The second hypothesis which stated that explicitly spending time
modeling appropriate behaviors would decrease the amount of off-task behaviors throughout the
day was also confirmed. The amount of off-task behaviors decreased drastically over the course
of this study. The teacher researcher noted extra minutes being left over after a repeat lesson that
was previously cut short during reading time due to students fooling around on the carpet during
a read aloud or fidgeting with items in their desks. Students were able to walk quietly from one
place to another within the building without having to stop to be reminded of talking, shoving,
jumping up to touch the lights in the hall, resulting in shorter travel time and maximized learning
time. Students also showed improvements in following multi-step directions more quickly and
accurately. This involved taking their math books out as soon as a teacher asked and getting to a
desired page quicker. With so many students in the class improving, other students followed the
actions of their peers, as if there were more positive peer role models in the classroom. Students
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 38

were seen helping one another more often and without having had been asked by a teacher.
Students also used the classroom universal signal for Me too when their peers were sharing,
rather than shouting out and interrupting to share their own stories. Students seemed happier and
more respected in the classroom.
The use of universal discipline and incentive measures. The third hypothesis which
stated that the use of universal discipline and incentive measures would improve behavior was
confirmed. Part of PBIS involves making sure expectations are the same for all students. Of
course, there are the exceptions where students have IEPs and/or disabilities that require teachers
to differentiate their practice and use dissimilar assessment and/or behavior measures. In this
research, students were all able to benefit from a universal school and classroom set of rules.
Only two participants were using an additional behavior chart in order to meet the goals in their
IEP, and like the rest of the participants, these two students demonstrated growth in positive
behaviors. For Students A and B, the teacher researcher totaled the amounts of breaks that each
student had to take per week for five weeks. Students are introduced to Take a Break early in
the year. For many students, this is a review from their previous teacher. After being given two
firm reminders, students must remove themselves from the location theyre struggling in, and
stop and think about their behavior choice and how they can change their behavior to make a
better choice. In the classroom, the student may just go to a certain area and sit for a few
minutes. It is up to the student to re-join the group when he or she feels ready. Table 4 shows that
both student A and B had to take less breaks, therefore needing less reminders, if any, throughout
the 4 and a half week that research was conducted. In addition, the researchers field notes state
that both students made comments about wanting to earn a Montowese M. Both students did
earn a Montowese M in week 3 and week 4 for above and beyond behaviors. Both students
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 39

also spent more time engaged and motivated in their small reading groups, where they used to
spend more time watching other classes out at recess or fiddling with materials and talking about
irrelevant topics not related to reading.
Only 3 discipline referral forms were filled out throughout the course of this data. Two
were filled out by the teacher researcher, both in the second week of data collection. The third
was filled out by a substitute in the building and the validity of it was unknown. Therefore,
strong patterns were not able to be seen in regards to decreases in Level 1 and Level 2 behaviors,
but these forms will continue to be part of PBIS and used in years to come to compare with
previous years data.
Improvements in academic behaviors. The fourth hypothesis which stated that the
development of PBIS in the researchers classroom would result in improvements in academic
behaviors such as increased engagement and motivation was confirmed. Students A and B have
been in their own 2-person reading group for the entire year up until this point. Their struggles
with reading are very severe. Comments made during the first couple of weeks of research
included students saying things like, I got it wrong, didnt I? Ill never be good at reading.
This is stupid. Im trying! Its just hard! Even when a little bit of effort was put forth and the
teacher researcher would complement either student, they were not receptive to the compliment.
As weeks went on and behaviors of students A and B seemed to improve, so did their effort and
motivation. They coached each other rather than crack jokes at one another when one struggled
with decoding or fluency. They smiled more often, gave high fives, worked with the teacher
more cooperatively and without complaints.
The other six students also improved academically. The Tier 2 and Tier 3 students who
have been being progress monitored on decoding skills biweekly were improving on the reading
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 40

passages each week. Student C went from 21 words per minute in Week 1 to 38 in Week 3.
Student D went from 45wpm to 55wpm, and Student E improved from 24wpm to 32wpm. The
researcher will continue to progress monitor these students, as much more time is needed to see
if improvements continue. All other students have spent time actively engaged in group and
working hard. More strategies have been seen being used by the teacher researcher. One student
spoke aloud, Its easier for me to read without (Student C) and (Student D) fighting all the
time. Students began to influence one another and spend more time on explicit reading
strategies that should continue to improve.
Results Conclusion
In conclusion, all hypotheses were confirmed based on qualitative and quantitative means
of data assessment. When repeating this type of research in the future with a different population
of students, the researcher would like to include even more measurable data and specific means
of data collection. Teacher observation and field notes were such an integral part of this process,
making it challenging to sort through all of the information at the end of four and a half weeks. It
was obvious that gains were made in all areas, however, further research may involve looking at
exact motivators for individual students.
Limitations
One limitation of this study involved time. Although the entire class was observed as a
whole, this research focused mostly on eight students who were either performing below
benchmark academically or demonstrating negative behaviors. Due to the nature of this group,
many of these students were pulled from the general education classroom to receive small group
support with by the Tier 2 and 3 reading specialists, speech teacher, school social worker or
school special education teacher. A few times throughout the research period, which was already
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 41

shortened due to awaiting approval from the IRB, students had to leave the room to work with
another teacher as the researcher was taking a group and planning to record engagement and
motivation observations. The teacher researcher rearranged the schedule several times so that
these students would still receive the additional support required, but at a different point
throughout the day. Still, this did limit some observational time. Luckily, the students involved in
this research had wonderful school attendance and so that was not a factor, although its
important to be reminded that attendance could be a factor in the future for others who wish to
participate in action research such as this.
Slight teacher bias could have been a limitation in this study. While the teacher
researcher made every effort to be as fair as possible, there were times throughout the completion
of field notes where it was questionable if a student was being viewed subjectively. Perhaps the
teacher researcher viewed a certain behavior as positive or negative due to being very familiar
with a student participant, whereas a stranger entering the room to observe would have a
different opinion. This is a factor that needs to be paid close attention to during action research.
During the last week of the research, although the researcher was wrapping up data and
administering post behavior surveys, it was more difficult to find patterns in student behavior.
This was mostly due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, some fun holiday activities that
were not routine, along with a shortened week and an early dismissal day, resulting in a change
in routine procedures such as when and where students ate lunch, went to specials, etc.
All in all, hypotheses were confirmed and students showed grave improvements in all
areas that the research studied. However, by the end of the research periods, it was clear that
further research could be beneficial in several areas.
Further Research
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 42

In the future, there would most likely be a benefit in studying the pros and cons of
classroom pull-out hours for students. In all schools, there are often several students who are
pulled out of the classroom several times over the course of the week for extra support. While
this extra support such as occupational therapy, social work services, speech and language
services, etc. is often extremely beneficial to students, it also plays a role in their behavior and
ability to catch up and learn in their general education environment. Students may feel that they
do not create as strong of friendships as others or are missing out on fun parts of class. The
researcher in this study noticed just how often her students were coming and going as she was
engaging in data collection. In addition, itd be beneficial to study behavior when routines are
altered due to holidays, shortened days/weeks, delayed openings, substitutes, special programs,
etc. Common trends may be discovered when looking at factors such as these, allowing teachers
to come up with ways to ease anxiety of students and promote more pro-social behaviors.
Specifically at Montowese School, the researcher believes teachers should spend more
time discussing the differences between punishment and logical consequences to ensure students
remain positive, even when given an intervention that is not always desirable by the student.
Action Plan
This research studied the positive effects that implementing school-wide disciplinary
practices had on student behavior and academics. While PBIS was adopted by the entire school
for the 2013-2014 academic year, the researcher in this study chose to focus solely on how the
program affected students in her own grade two class, specifically those students requiring extra
attention due to poorer behavior and academic skills. Pleased with the results of this study, a plan
of action will be created to ensure that the benefits of PBIS continue to help students thrive
academically and socially.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 43

Mills (2011) explains that action planning answers the question, Based on what I have
learned from my research, what should I do now? (p. 152). Based on this research, there are
many places to go from here so that improvements continue to be made and the PBIS model is
even more solidified at Montowese School. The teacher researcher will begin by sharing the
results of this research with the school principal and colleagues. Ideally, the researcher would
like to continue to observe her participants up until June and even into next year. However, due
to a maternity leave in February and the participants being dispersed to three different third grade
classrooms, this would not be possible. Therefore, the following proposed action plan would
begin for teachers and students on the very first day of school in 2014. Teachers should meet at
the end of the school year to discuss strengths and weaknesses of the PBIS model and begin
planning for the following school year. This year, the school did not have much baseline data to
go on, as PBIS was a new initiative. Next year, this will have changed. Teachers should take the
time at the end of the year to assess improvements made this year and this knowledge should be
utilized in order to create more measurable goals for the school year ahead. Time should be spent
throughout the summer and during the professional development days that take place a few days
prior to the students arrival.
Next school year, PBIS lessons will begin the very first day of school. All staff members
should be involved and 45 minutes should be allotted in each area of the school in order for
students to learn explicit school rules. For example, from 9:00-9:45, one class will be scheduled
to go onto the bus to be introduced to bus behavior. Bus drivers should be part of this, as well.
From 9:45-10:30, the next session may include what lunch in the lunchroom should look like,
and so on and so forth. These lessons should take place immediately in order to be effective, and
in a variety of places and situations. Coming up with these lessons will be the responsibility of
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 44

the PBIS core team and administrator, with clear maps that involve rules in each area of the
school and common language that will be taught and consistently repeated and used by students.
Another idea for next year is to re-visit these PBIS lessons after lengthy holiday breaks or when
the core team reviews referrals and decides that students need additional practice.
Once school is underway, like previous years, staff meetings will be held at the school
the first Monday of every month. It will be suggested that there should be 15 minutes of time
allotted to discuss PBIS concerns, successes, issues, etc. so that all teachers in one place have a
chance to collaborate. The core PBIS team that meets monthly to assess how things are going
should encourage new members to join or swap in and out so that every staff member fully
experiences the planning that goes into a universal behavior program. The last PBIS core team
meeting resulted in coming up with colorful Voice Level posters to hang in the hall so students
had common language on when their voices should be at 0 silent, 1 whisper talk., all the way
to a level 5. This came after teachers noticed that even though behaviors have improved, hallway
reminders have been given more often as the holidays and exciting times have been approaching.
This is a way that the core team constantly self-assesses and plans.
This year, lesson plans regarding behavior expectations in each part of the school were
extensively developed by the core team and distributed to teachers during the initial PBIS lessons
to ensure that all staff was using the same plan. This worked great and should continue to be
used next year, with additional lessons and locations added. In regards to the discipline referral
forms, teachers were given specific documents on what level 1 and level 2 behaviors were
considered to be. These office referrals will be used once again, however, next year should
involve deeper instruction on how to handle interventions. For example, interventions for a Level
1 behavior include but are not limited to a temporary change in environment, loss of privilege,
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 45

conference with student, etc. The core team should plan on ensuring that these interventions are
universal and discuss how they can best be used to best support students.
As always, teachers should continue to assess students appropriately throughout the year
and possibly align academic gains with improved behavior practices. Being consistent in the use
of rewards and incentives should prove to be beneficial for all. Keeping teacher bias to a
minimum and scheduling more frequent professional development opportunities and trainings
should be available, as well. Many staff members write weekly or monthly newsletters and
should include some PBIS information in these letters. Its important that parents and families be
kept informed of what is happening in the school so that they could also support their child at
home. Support is a key factor to successful PBIS implementation. According to the OSEP
Center, US Dept. of Education (2009), systems, data and practices go hand in hand to create
positive outcomes. Staff, students and decisions need to continue to be supported so that PBIS
can be successful.
Conclusions
Research suggests that effective teacher classroom management and the implementation
of PBIS could positively impact students (Herman, et al., 2013). Even when a program such as
PBIS is implemented in a school, teachers need to follow through at the classroom level to make
it successful.
Throughout this research, student behaviors improved, thus resulting in maximized time
for learning to take place. The eight participants who were observed closely all demonstrated
higher levels of engagement, specifically in reading groups. Students seeing their peers receive
Montowese Ms and gain incentives helped curve behavior, while students unknowingly
served as positive peer role models to others. When teachers effectively modeled and
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 46

communicated what the expectations are for their students and reiterate those expectations in
several ways throughout a school year, positive results were yielded. Common language helped
students remember that all staff had the same expectations for them, resulting in less confusion
for the second graders.
Sufficient baseline data for this study was difficult to collect. As long as the action plan is
followed, there will be more adequate baseline to successfully continue the PBIS model into the
next school year and make appropriate changes where they are needed.
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 47


References
Bevans, K., Bradshaw, C., Brown, L., Leaf, P., & Reinke, W. (2008). Implementation of school-
wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) in elementary schools:
observations from a randomized trial. Education & Treatment of Children, 31(1), 1-26.
Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.
Eber, L., & Netzel, D. (2003). Shifting from reactive to proactive discipline in an urban school
district: a change of focus through PBIS implementation. Journal of Positive Behavior
Interventions, 5(2), 71-79. Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.
Growe, R., Hicks, J., & Vallaire-Thomas, L. (2011) Solution-focused brief therapy: an
interventional approach to improving negative student behaviors. Journal of Instructional
Psychology, 38(4), 224-234. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
LeBrun, M., Mann, E., & Muscott, H. (2008). Positive behavioral interventions and supports in
New Hampshire: effects of large-scale implementation of school wide positive behavior
support on student discipline and academic achievement. Journal of Positive Behavior
Interventions, 10(3), 190-205. Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.
Herman, K., Reinke, W., & Stormont, M. (2013). Classroom-level positive behavior supports in
schools implementing SW_PBIS: identifying areas for enhancement. Journal of Positive
Behavior Interventions, 15(1), 39-50. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Mills, G.E. (2011). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher (4
th
ed.). Boston, MA:
Pearson Education, Inc.

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 48

OSEP Center, US Dept. of Education (2009). What is school-wide positive behavioral
interventions & supports? Retrieved September 21, 2013 from
http://www.pbis.org/common/cms/documents/WhatIsPBIS/WhatIsSWPBS.pdf.
Samuels, C. (2013). Stacked deck seen in growth of PBIS. Education Week, 33(2), 1-16.
Retrieved from ProQuest Education Journals.

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 49


Appendix A
Teacher Observation Student Anecdotal Record Form
(Mills, 2011, p. 80)
Student Anecdotal Record Form
Name: ______________ Grade: ___________
Date: ____________ Place: ______________
Comments_____________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
Student Anecdotal Record Form
Name: ______________ Grade: ___________
Date: ____________ Place: ______________
Comments_____________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
Student Anecdotal Record Form
Name: ______________ Grade: ___________
Date: ____________ Place: ______________
Comments_____________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
Student Anecdotal Record Form
Name: ______________ Grade: ___________
Date: ____________ Place: ______________
Comments_____________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
Student Anecdotal Record Form
Name: ______________ Grade: ___________
Date: ____________ Place: ______________
Comments_____________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
Student Anecdotal Record Form
Name: ______________ Grade: ___________
Date: ____________ Place: ______________
Comments_____________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
______________________________________
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 50


Appendix B
Behavior Tracking Sheet
(These have been used daily for two students with behavior goals)


How Was My Day?

Todays Date:
Morning
I needed reminder(s) in the morning.
I made good choices.

Afternoon
I needed reminder(s) in the afternoon.
I made good choices.

I didnt take any breaks today.

I needed to take a break today.

Parent/Guardian Signature:
*Return to school on the next school day.


EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 51


Appendix C
Discipline Referral Form 1

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 52


Appendix D
Discipline Referral Form 1
Dear ____________________________________
(Parent/Guardian)
Today I broke a rule. This is what happened. _______________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________.
This behavior is inappropriate because ____________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________.
I can improve my behavior and make a better choice by _____________________________
______________________________________________________________the next time this
happens.

Sincerely, ____________________________________
(Student signature)
EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 53


Appendix E
Behavior Survey
Administered to students as a Pre & Post data tool

I have been bullied or picked on by other students in my class: YES NO

- If yes, when has this occurred? (playground, cafeteria, etc.):

____________________________________________________________

I have bullied or picked on another student in my class: YES NO

I know what it means to respect others: YES NO

If yes, define respect or give an example of what respect may look like:

____________________________________________________________

List 3 important rules that all students must follow in our classroom:

1.)
2.)
3.)

I know what a logical consequence is: YES NO

If yes, give an example of what a logical consequence would look like in second grade:

____________________________________________________________

Which of the following are problem behaviors? (circle)

Teasing others

Taking something that is not yours

Using inappropriate language

Using your hands to hurt someone else

All of the above are problem behaviors

EFFECT OF DISCIPLINARY PRACTICES ON STUDENTS 54