Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

John Matt

Commitee Members

Roberta Evans, Beverly Chin, Merle Farrier, Bill McCaw


No Child Left Behind, Positive Behavior Supports, Principals, Safe Schools, Stress, Student Achievement


University of Montana


Guthals, Jennifer, Ed. D., May 2009 Educational Leadership

The Relationship between Positive Behavior Supports, Student Achievement, Severe Problem Behavior, and Administrative Stress

Chair: Dr. John Matt

Due to the pressures and expectations for current and future principals to create safe and welcoming schools with high student achievement, a better of understanding of the relationship between Positive Behavior Supports (PBS), student achievement, severe problem behavior, and administrative stress was needed. This study investigated the relationship between these four factors, as measured through the Effective Behavior Supports Survey (Sugai, Horner, & Todd, 2003), Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) (OPI, 2008), suspension/expulsion rates, the Administrative Stress Index (Gmelch & Swent, 1977), and respondent characteristics.

All practicing elementary and secondary principals in Montana were invited to participate in this survey via online and mailed invitations; 232 principals responded out of 516 possible. Respondent characteristics indicated the sampling was an accurate representation of Montana principals. The resulting data were analyzed for correlations between the four main factors and their components. Variables meeting screening tests were subjected to discriminant function analysis. All combinations of variables including PBS and administrative stress levels were also subjected to further statistical analysis.

Results indicated that Montana principals reported low to moderate levels of administrative stress and high levels of PBS components present. Participants indicated AYP status in all areas, as well as levels of severe problem behavior, as similar to state averages. No experimentally important relationships were found between district size, school grade level, school poverty level, previous training/education, or years of experience, nor were these variables found to have an experimentally important relationship with any other study variables.

No experimentally important relationship was found between PBS rates, student achievement, severe problem behavior, or administrative stress. However, an experimentally important relationship was found between level of PBS-related training and rates of PBS components present; statistical analysis showed a consistent pattern of participants with the highest levels of PBS-related training reporting the highest rates of PBS components present. In addition, though the results did not meet tests of importance, there was a consistent pattern of low administrative stress levels associated with higher rates of PBS components present. Results are discussed in terms of implications for practice and future research.



© Copyright 2009 Jennifer Guthals