Date of Completion


Embargo Period



academic achievement, specific praise, on-task behavior, disruptive behavior

Major Advisor

Lisa M. H. Sanetti

Associate Advisor

Melissa A. Bray

Associate Advisor

Brandi Simonsen

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The relationship between classroom behavior and academic achievement is well established in the literature. Specific praise is an evidence-based classroom management strategy that has been shown to increase appropriate behavior and decrease inappropriate behavior. It is recommended that teachers use specific praise in the classroom; however, researchers have not identified the optimal rate at which this praise should be delivered. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of two systematically manipulated rates of specific praise on the disruptive behavior and on-task behavior of elementary school students. An alternating treatments design, embedded within a multiple-baseline across participants, was utilized and teachers received tactile prompts from a programmed watch to deliver praise at the specified rates of 0.40 and 0.80 specific praise statements per minute. Results indicate that there were no meaningful differences in levels of student behavior under the two systematically manipulated rates implemented during intervention; however, meaningful improvements in both disruptive behavior and on-task behavior were observed from baseline to intervention. Teachers also found both intervention rates to be feasible and acceptable. Preliminary considerations on the relationships between the level of specific praise and student outcomes and increases in specific praise and classroom climate are also presented, along with a discussion of limitations of the study and implications for practice and research.