Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy - School Psychology


Human Services

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel McCleary

Second Advisor

Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey

Third Advisor

Dr. Jaime Flowers

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian Uriegas


Nationwide, school districts are required (IDEA, 2004) to implement positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) for all students receiving special education services. These PBIS are reported to reduce problem behaviors and increase prosocial behaviors when implemented with fidelity (Crone et al., 2015). With a reduction of problem behaviors an expected reduction of discipline referrals should follow along with a reduction in days spent in exclusionary discipline for students in special education. Reducing days in exclusionary discipline is desired due to a strong research base linking the practice to several negative outcomes (Marchbanks et al., 2015) along with data demonstrating these negative outcomes are disproportionally experienced by minority and disabled students (DOE, 2018). The goal of the current study was to: 1) describe the discipline practices of a school district for students in special education, and 2) analyze the effectiveness of Tier 3 PBIS in reducing exclusionary discipline for students in special education. It was hypothesized that students receiving Tier 3 PBIS and students with more accurate behavior intervention plans (BIPs) would spend fewer days in exclusionary discipline. Results demonstrated that Black and ED students were at the highest risk for receiving exclusionary discipline and that students in special education receiving any Tier 3 PBIS spent more days in exclusionary discipline than students who did not receive Tier 3 PBIS. However, students with accurate BIPs did spend fewer days in exclusionary discipline.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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