Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Karen Westberg; Candace Chien-Tzu; Sarah Noonan


Behavior management is an area of concern for school personnel that can have a strong influence on student achievement. How do teachers, administrators and other school personnel perceive and manage student behavior in a highly diverse single urban elementary school with a lower than average rate of student achievement in reading and mathematics? The purpose of this study was to (a) obtain data about what staff do in terms of behavior management, and (b) explore staff perceptions of behavior management related issues that include student home life, student culture, teacher personality, perceptions of colleagues, perceptions of one’s own practices, and effective methods for improvement.

The methodology for this study was a bounded case study of one elementary school during one school year. All staff were invited to participate in a survey, and a purposeful sample of participants was invited to participate in qualitative interviews. The analyzed data indicated that staff (a) use components of behavior management school reform initiatives but are not fully implementing programs, (b) were concerned about a lack of consistency, (c) believe teacher-student relationships and establishing clear expectations are important steps, (d) believe they are the biggest influence of student behavior, and (e) preferred proactive measures and conferencing over consequences for misbehavior. Many participants tended to attribute student misbehavior to factors outside of the students’ control, and thus may not hold students accountable for their behavior and may not consistently expect student to follow expectations. High behavior management expectations of all students may improve student behavior at this setting. Improved staff consistency in already established behavior management protocols and implementation of school improvement initiatives may also be effective. Because there may be a strong correlation between behavior management and academic achievement, improving behavior management may improve student academic performance at this site.


behavior management, elementary education, school reform, educator perceptions

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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