Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

K. Richard Young


K. Richard Young


Richard West


Susan Friedman


Pamela Hudson


Glen Jenson


Classroom management is still one of the top-rated concerns of general educators and public school administrators, even though there exist a number of empirically supported interventions that improve classroom behavior. The current research, consisting of two studies, examined the effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of one of these interventions, a classwide peer-assisted, self-management program. Using a multiple baseline design across classes, the first study investigated the effects of the Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) Game on appropriate classroom behavior of three classes of seventh-grade language arts students and of 10 target at-risk students. The PAL Game consisted of teacher instruction in self-management and social skills, a classwide self-monitoring game in which two teams of peer dyads rated themselves and each other, a teacher-rated mystery match, and public posting of team and partnership scores. The second study examined the effects of the systematic withdrawal of the PAL Game on maintenance of appropriate behavior of the class and of target at-risk students. In addition to examining the effects of the PAL Game on classroom behavior, another purpose of these two studies was to document and analyze the feasibility of implementing the PAL Game in a general education classroom and acceptability of the PAL Game to students and the teacher.

The results revealed that simultaneous on-task behavior of the class and on-task and appropriate use of social skills of the I 0 target at-risk students improved after the PAL Game was introduced in the general education classroom. Improvements in behavior were maintained for all classes and most at-risk students throughout the systematic withdrawal of the PAL Game. Simultaneous on-task behavior of the class improved from zero to low levels during baseline to almost 80% during the last few days of the intervention. As a group, target students improved from an average 35% on-task during baseline conditions to an average of 80% during treatment conditions. In addition, target students' appropriate use of the two social skills, following instructions and gaining teacher attention, also increased. Teacher ratings of target students' social competence and academic-related skills as measured by the School Social Behavior Scales improved in statistical and practical significance. In terms of feasibility and acceptability, the PAL Game compared favorably with other class wide interventions in the time, personnel, training, and material resources required to implement the game.

The results of these studies are discussed in terms of their implications for classroom practitioners and for future research.