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Results of this one-year study supported the use of an in-class behavioral intervention program that allowed 8th-grade students to reclaim themselves after verbally disruptive behavioral incidences with direct principal led administrator assistance resulting in student return to differentiated individualized instructional classroom activities. Students involved in a second verbally disruptive incident in the classroom were identified for intervention. Academic and behavioral improvement noted for verbally disruptive students with co-occurring below grade level reading test scores (n = 23) and verbally disruptive students with grade level reading scores (n = 12) suggests continued use of this intervention. All participants were in attendance in a large metropolitan, racially and economically diverse, Midwestern school district. Programs that reduce the amount of missed class time due to students’ verbally disruptive behavior merit consideration by educators for implementation.Student disruptive behavior represents one of the greatest barriers to student achievement(Brown, 2007; Dupper & Bosch, 1996; Shanker, 1995). Researchers have documented that as much as one half of classroom instructional time is taken up with non-instructional activities (Cotton, 1991) and discipline problems are responsible for a significant portion of this lost instructional time (Cotton, 1991;Dupper & Bosch, 1996; National Education Goals Report, 1995). Disruptive students are often removed from the class (Hill & Coufal, 2005; Obenchain & Taylor, 2005) and referred to the administrator for further discipline(Blomberg, 2004; Dupper & Bosch, 1996; Kritsonis & Cloud, 2006). Thus begins the unfortunate process of excluding children from classrooms just when they need increased time with a teacher the most (Blomberg, 2004). After many office referrals fail to stop the disruptions, repeated violators are often assigned to in-school suspension programs (Kritsonis & Cloud, 2006; Morrison, Anthony, Storino, & Dillon, 2001). When problems persist, students are suspended from school (Arcia, 2006; Dupper & Bosch, 1996). If repeated uses of these measures do not work, the final phase in this vicious downward cycle is long term out of school suspension or reassignment to an alternative school. Once removed from the classroom, students struggle and most often fail academically thus compounding the problem and increasing risk factors which lead to early school leaving. Furthermore, poor attendance is linked to lower test scores and higher failure rates (Roby, 2004). Predictably, a student is much more likely to drop out of school where there is a history of disruptive behavior resulting in either in or out of school suspension (Suh & Suh, 2007).


Published in International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation 5:2 (2010). Retrieved from the Connexions Web site: Used by permission.