Martha Koepke

Date of Award


Document Type


Superseded Degree Name

Master Of Arts In Special Education

Colleges & School

College Of Education And Leadership

First Advisor

Sister Gabrielle Kowalski, O.S.F.

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Special education; Adjustment disorders in children; Behavior disorders in children; Behavior therapy


Some alternative education schools have characteristics such as flexibility in school design, small school size with increased opportunities to build relationships of trust, and individualized instruction that address students' behavioral needs. As a veteran special education teacher working in an alternative education school, specifically a behavior reassignment site, the researcher began with a concern that the needs of students with EB/D may not be met due to the comprehensive nature of the students' needs and resource limitations within this setting. Past research has studied the effective behavioral interventions that have demonstrated benefit to students with disabilities, as well as alternative education as a setting for instruction. That literature helped to define the main research question: Do behavioral interventions used in alternative education schools, specifically behavior reassignment sites, impact the behavior of students with EB/D, as perceived by their teachers? Special education teachers and those making student placement decisions must be aware of the behavioral interventions provided, or not provided, to this vulnerable population within this setting. Essentially the study asked whether the behavioral interventions used in certain alternative education settings for students with EB/D benefits them, and to what extent or level of efficacy. To effectively examine the efficacy, or lack of efficacy, of behavioral interventions used in alternative education, several working questions were developed: 1. What behavioral interventions are needed by students with EB/D? 2. What resources of behavioral interventions are available to special education teachers? 3. What is the short term and long term impact of behavioral interventions on the behavior of students with EB/D? These questions helped identify components of the research question and helped inform the construction of the survey in particular. Academic failure, retention, suspension, expulsion or dropping out of school are all factors that may affect students with EB/D. Many of them are placed in alternative education schools for a period of time. Within that unique setting, special education teachers have an opportunity to use strategies that may change the trajectory of students' behavior. This study intended to help determine the level of benefit of the behavioral interventions that these students require. Results then can be applied within this setting to the behavior of students with EB/D to increase the option of reentry into traditional schools. This study set out to investigate the behavioral interventions used in alternative education schools, specified as behavior reassignment sites. The study also intended to discover the level of impact these strategies have on the behavior of students with EB/D. It was expected that the study would provide significant feedback to special education teachers, staff, and administrators in alternative education schools. The researcher hoped to identify behavioral interventions that demonstrated benefit or lack of benefit to students with EB/D. The goal was to provide insight into the resources and strategies that may enable special education teachers to better effect changes in students' behavior.


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