Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Utility of Number and Type of Office Discipline Referrals in Predicting Chronic Problem Behavior in Middle Schools

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Utility of Number and Type of Office Discipline Referrals in Predicting Chronic Problem Behavior in Middle Schools

Article excerpt

School-wide approaches for promoting appropriate behavior have become more common in schools across North America (e.g., School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports [SWPBIS]; Sugai & Horner, 2009). When unidentified and unaddressed, significant externalizing behavior problems can lead to not only negative individual, family, and educational outcomes (e.g., dropout, poor achievement; Irvin, Tobin, Sprague, Sugai, & Vincent, 2004) but also significant financial costs to society (Jones, Dodge, Foster, Nix, & Conduct Prevention Research Group, 2002). The monetary value of individually supporting one child at risk of challenging behavior from birth to adulthood is between $2.6 and $4.4 million but increases to over $5.8 million if intervention begins after age 14 years (Cohen & Piquero, 2009). Moreover, early identification and support (before Grade 6) of children at risk of future behavior difficulties also lead to more positive long-term outcomes (Cohen & Piquero, 2009).

Tiered models of behavior prevention, such as SWPBIS, frequently rely on three tiers of support. Tier 1 reflects universal or school-wide behavior interventions, Tier 2 represents small groups of students who receive additional targeted supports, and Tier 3 represents yet fewer students receiving individualized program supports for specified areas of concern. Although Tier 1 systems provide an effective means for reducing the numbers of students requiring additional support (see Horner, Sugai, & Anderson, 2010, for a review), a proportion of students continue to be at risk of the development of future serious behavior problems. A critical activity for school teams implementing these systems is determining which students require which level of intervention by use of effective screening measures. As such, school teams can benefit from implementing screening systems that accurately predict which students would benefit from interventions at Tiers 2 and 3.

Severson, Walker, Hope-Doolittle, Kratochwill, and Gresham (2007) identified characteristics of screening instruments that schools might consider for identifying students who are at risk of future behavior difficulties. They discussed the importance of weighing a number of factors for selecting appropriate behavioral screening measures, with effective screeners characterized as being (a) cost-efficient, (b) able to accurately identify a high proportion of students requiring support (sensitivity), (c) able to accurately identify students not requiring support (specificity), (d) capable of identifying students early, and (e) usable by various raters. In their review of multiple screening tools, the most highly rated measures also provided information to guide interventions and used teacher ratings on common aspects of behavior and social interactions.

PATTERNS OF PROBLEM BEHAVIOR IN SCHOOLS

Rates of specific behavior problems and behavior trajectories (i.e., developmental pathways toward long-term positive or negative student behavior outcomes) identify middle school as a period of particular need for support (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2010). To provide more effective and efficient behavior support for students in middle school, it would be useful to identify problem behaviors that are most prevalent, thereby identifying specific targets for instruction and intervention. Behavior problems have been found to present differently across elementary, middle, and high school. In a large-scale study by Spaulding et al. (2010), defiance was found to be one of the most commonly exhibited behavior problems across all grade levels (elementary school, 29%; middle school, 31%; and high school, 24%). Spaulding et al. (2010) reported that peer-directed problem behaviors (i.e., inappropriate behavior when interacting with other students), such as fighting (32%), were among the most commonly exhibited problem behaviors in elementary school, whereas in middle school, problem behaviors were more often adult directed (i. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.