Can Policy Promote Adoption or Outcomes of Evidence-based Prevention Programming? a Case Illustration of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Catherine P. Bradshaw, Elise T. Pas, Rashelle J. Musci, Joseph M. Kush, Ji Hoon Ryoo

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This study examined the impact of a state policy requiring that any school with a habitual truancy rate of 8% or higher to be trained in Tier 1 school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SW-PBIS). A regression discontinuity (RD) design was used to examine how the schools’ mandate status related to SW-PBIS training as well as student suspensions, truancy, and achievement in 410 public middle and high schools, of which 261 were affected by the mandate. We further examined the growth trajectories (i.e., improvement) of implementation fidelity over time using growth mixture modeling (GMM). Contrary to the intent of the policy to improve student outcomes, the RD results suggested that the mandate did not significantly impact reading and math achievement, truancy rates, or SW-PBIS training in 2010–2011 through 2013–2014. Mandated schools had higher suspension rates in 2010–2011 through 2013–2014 than the non-mandated schools; however, these differences in the suspension rates appear to have persisted from years prior to the mandate. Descriptive analyses suggested that mandated schools had statistically significantly higher rates of training, and the GMM analyses on the fidelity data indicated that mandated schools were significantly more likely to be in an improving implementation growth trajectory over time. Taken together, results suggested that the policy showed some promise for improving SW-PBIS training and fidelity over time, but it had little to no impact on student outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)986-1000
Number of pages15
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305H150027 (PI: C. Bradshaw) to the University of Virginia.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the Maryland PBIS Management Team, which includes the Maryland State Department of Education, Sheppard Pratt Health System, and the 24 local school districts. We give special thanks to Philip Leaf, Katrina Debnam, Elizabeth Stuart, Susan Barrett, and Jerry Bloom for their support of this project.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Society for Prevention Research.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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