Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Internal Consistency of the School-Wide Subscales of the Effective Behavioral Support Survey

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Internal Consistency of the School-Wide Subscales of the Effective Behavioral Support Survey

Article excerpt


Throughout the United States, schools and entire school districts are implementing school-wide positive behavioral supports. This systemic, team-based approach often employs assessment tools such as The Effective Behavioral Support Survey (Sugai, Todd, & Horner, 2000) as part of its implementation to improve school-wide discipline. The EBS Survey is divided into four components (i.e., school-wide, non-classroom settings, classrooms, and individual students), each having two subscales. Although this instrument is primarily used to generate information for action planning, if its components were found to be technically adequate, they could prove to be valuable tools for program evaluation and applied research. This study investigated the internal consistency of two subscales of the school-wide component of EBS survey. The results indicated that both scales of the EBS school-wide component had adequate internal consistency.


Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is an approach embraced by many schools across the U.S. and Canada and its use continues to grow. Preliminary findings from schools implementing school-wide PBS are encouraging. For example, dozens of schools and school districts implementing school-wide PBS practices report 20% to 60% reductions in office discipline referrals, as well as improved social climate and academic gains (Cushing, 2000; Horner et al., 2004; Luiselli, Putnam, & Sunderland, 2002; Nakasato, 2000; Nelson, Colvin, & Smith, 1996; Nelson, Martella, & Galand, 1998; Nersesian, Todd, Lehmann, & Watson, 2000; Sadler, 2000; Taylor-Greene et al., 1997; Taylor-Green, Kartub, 2000).

PBS is not a "one-size fits-all" curriculum, but rather a process based on a common set of guiding principles built on the foundations of applied behavior analysis (Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1968) and organizational behavior management (Gilbert & Gilbert, 1992). Specifically, PBS is an approach that embraces a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies designed to achieve important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behaviors (Sugai & Horner, 2002). The systemic application of PBS allows schools to adopt promising and effective practices designed to meet the educational, social, and behavioral needs of all student.

Levels of Intervention

PBS practices and strategies are organized and conceptualized to meet the needs of students with a vast range of behavioral challenges. In order to respond to such a broad array of behaviors with varying intensities, PBS relies on a continuum of behavior supports based on implementing interventions with differing specificity, comprehensiveness, and intensity (Nelson, Martella, & Martella-Marchand, 2002; Patterson, 1982; Reid, 1993). In general, the application of a given PBS practice can be classified into one of three levels of intervention: (a) primary (e.g., universal), (c) secondary, and (c) tertiary (Walker et al., 1996; Walker & Shinn, 2002).


Primary Intervention Efforts

Primary interventions efforts are universal. Within a school-wide system of PBS, primary interventions are designed to increase the structure and support needed to promote prosocial behaviors among students (Lewis & Sugai, 1999). Staff members work collaboratively to define and teach a small number of school-wide expectations, reward performance of those expected behaviors, and implement clear consequences for rule infractions (Sugai & Horner, 2002, Taylor-Green et al., 1997). Successful implementation of school-wide PBS should improve school culture and strengthen the prosocial behavior and learning outcomes for the majority (70-80%) of students (Horner & Sugai, 2003).

Secondary-Level Interventions

Secondary-level interventions typically target those students within a school who are considered to be at-risk for the development of chronic problem behavior patterns. …

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