Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Daniel U. Levine

Second Advisor

Dr. Martha Bruckner


Conflict is the most crucial issue jeopardizing school safety in middle schools today. With escalating violence, a school-based program teaching conflict resolution skills may reduce disruption to an orderly environment and provide a peaceful alternative to violence. The primary purpose of this study was to identify and investigate possible effects of a conflict resolution program in an urban middle school. The secondary purpose was to examine the program ’s impact on students selected as conflict resolution managers. Data were collected from the total student body, and teachers, as well as conflict resolution managers. In this study, there was no decrease in the proportion and rate of suspensions from baseline to project year; instead an increase was seen. When the data was disaggregated into violent and nonviolent categories, there remained no statistically significant differences. Conversely, there was a statistically significant decrease in the proportion of students receiving referrals. Effect size estimates indicated meaningful change. However, there was no evidence o f a change in rate o f referrals per student. This finding held true when the referral data was disaggregated into violent and nonviolent categories. In examining teacher perceptions after program implementation, teachers perceived improvement in general discipline, albeit limited to fighting and conflict resolution. Additionally, more teachers felt that students take part in solving their own problems in school. While reality indicated an increase in the proportion and rate of behavior incidents, teachers perceived improvement. Several reasons were offered for this dichotomy. In examining all students’ feelings related to disagreements or conflicts and their relationships with others, no significant differences were found. Furthermore, for conflict resolution managers, no significant positive differences were found in attendance rate, GPA, referral rate, and self-esteem. Effect size estimates did indicate a somewhat meaningful improvement in self-esteem. As a result of these findings, it is recommended that the cadre approach be supplemented with a total student body model, integrating conflict resolution skills into the total school curriculum.


A Dissertation Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2000 Deborah A. Frison.

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