Whole-School Positive Behaviour Support: Effects on student discipline problems and academic performance


Many students attending public schools exhibit discipline problems such as disruptive classroom behaviour, vandalism, bullying, and violence. Establishing effective discipline practices is critical to ensure academic success and to provide a safe learning environment. In this article, we describe the effects of whole-school positive behaviour support on discipline problems and academic outcomes of students enrolled in an urban elementary school. The whole-school model was designed through technical assistance consultation with teachers that emphasized: (1) improving instructional methods; (2) formulating behavioural expectations; (3) increasing classroom activity engagement; (4) reinforcing positive performance; and (5) monitoring efficacy through data-based evaluation. As compared to a pre-intervention phase, the whole-school intervention was associated with decreased discipline problems (office referrals and school suspensions) over the course of several academic years. Student academic performance, as measured by standardized tests of reading and mathematics skills, improved contemporaneously with intervention. Issues related to whole-school approaches to student discipline and the contributions of positive behaviour support are discussed.


Educational Psychology


  • A. B. Feinberg
  • M. W. Handler
  • James K. Luiselli
  • R. Putnam

Prevention Level

  • Primary


  • Administrators
  • PBS Coaches
  • PBS Teams
  • Teachers

System Impacts

  • District Team
  • Whole School


  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • Systems