PBIS is a universal, school-wide framework that is designed to increase student’s positive behaviors by teaching and acknowledging them when they occur while at the same time decreasing negative behaviors. Despite SWPBIS having positive behavior in its name, formal measure of positive behaviors have been elusive. There is no uniform definition for positive behavior but, drawing on definitions from various scholars, positive behavior appears to be behavior that follows the teacher’s directions, is socially accepted by peers and adults, and is rewarded by teachers (Ebsen & Filter, 2013; Epps et al., 2005; Geisel, 1944; & Hearron and Hildebrand, 2009). The purpose of this study is to determine what behaviors that teachers find to be worthy of giving a reward and how large of a reward they are willing to give, according to the logic that higher magnitude of rewards indicates higher degree of positivity of the behavior. Participants were recruited from the winter 2016 Southern Minnesota SWPBIS regional trainings. Participants completed a survey in which they rated their willingness to reward a range of student positive behaviors derived from PBIS behavior expectation matrixes and their beliefs about what level of reward each behavior should receive. Overall results indicate that staff are low on willingness to reward most behaviors that are included in lists of student behavior expectations. However, staff are in agreement on when they would be more or less willing to reward behaviors. Behaviors that were rated high on willingness to reward were also rated high on level of reward.


Kevin Filter

Committee Member

Shawna Petersen-Brown

Committee Member

Jeff Buchanan

Committee Member

Sean Wachsmuth

Date of Degree




Document Type



Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright