Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Instructional choice, high school, meta-analysis, single-case design

Major Advisor

Brandi Simonsen

Associate Advisor

Sandra M. Chafouleas

Associate Advisor

Jennifer Freeman

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Students with disabilities, including emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities, tend to experience a higher rate of challenging behavior in school than their peers (Lane et al., 2008; NCLD, 2019). At the same time, increasing numbers of students receiving special education services are being educated in general education classrooms by teachers with limited training in evidence-based classroom management practices (Freeman et al., 2014; NCLD, 2019; Oliver & Reschly, 2010). Thus, there is a need for feasible classroom management strategies that effectively support the behavior and academic achievement of all students. One strategy with promising evidence is instructional choice (e.g., Royer et al., 2017).

This dissertation includes a meta-analysis and a single-case study that primarily investigate the effect of instructional choice on students’ classroom behavior. The meta-analysis includes 29 studies using single-case design; this includes 78 cases and 259 effect sizes. Using random-effects assumptions and robust variance estimation, results suggest that instructional choice leads to a statistically significant improvement in classroom behavior (LRR = .33, SE = .127, 95% CI [.053, .617]). Exploratory moderator analyses found that only functional relation significantly moderates effect size; on average, cases with a functional relation using visual analysis have an LRR .31 greater than studies with no functional relation.

The single-case study used an alternating treatments design embedded in a multiple baseline to investigate the relationship between instructional choice and class-wide behavior and academic achievement in a high school. The study also evaluated whether within-task choice or between-task choice had a greater effect on student outcomes. Three classroom teachers and their classes participated in the study. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and subsequent closure of schools, the study was terminated prior to completion. Preliminary data, however, suggest promising findings. Implications, limitations, and future directions of both the meta-analysis and the study are discussed.