Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Sarah Hough


Evaluation of a Middle School Positive Behavior Intervention Support Program

by Tracie Grogan

EdS, Mercer University

MA, Fort Valley State University BS, University of Georgia

Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education

Curriculum Instruction and Assessment

Walden University July 2016

School leaders at a middle school in a rural school district in Georgia were looking for ways to reduce poor student behavior, which has a negative impact on school climate. Judicious Discipline, a program based on Kohlberg's 6 stages of moral development, Bandura's social learning theory, and the 3 constitutional rights of freedom, justice, and equality, were implemented at the school by a group of 8th grade teachers. Since no evaluation had been conducted to examine the efficacy of this program, the purpose of this doctoral study was to examine the program's strengths, weaknesses, and impact on student behavior, as well as to recommend any needed changes. A mixed methods design, was used including a formative and a summative evaluation component. Data for the formative component were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics for teacher surveys (n = 9) and open coding for teacher interviews (n = 3). Data for the summative component were collected and analyzed using a Chi-Square Test of Independence to examine the change in the distribution (pre to post program), of students participating in JD (n= 148) along the Kohlberg levels of social development scale. This instrument consists of forced-choice items designed to measure the extent to which the student has reached a level of full autonomy so that they are intrinsically motivated to abide by the rules without the guidance of a teacher. Findings revealed that the intervention had a positive impact on student behavior, both from the teacher perspective and from evidence of student growth on the social development scale. Implications for positive social change included: (a) improved student behaviors, and (b) fewer behavioral referrals. The findings along with recommendations for change were presented to school leaders in the form of an executive summary.