Special Education ETDs

Publication Date



Three teachers and one assistant principal were recruited from a middle school in a large metropolitan area of the southwestern United States to implement evidence-based practices (EBP). The teachers implemented EBPs in self-continued classrooms to ameliorate the disruptive behavior of three students. The recruited teachers and assistant principal participated in collaborative work groups biweekly for a total of 12 weeks. The teachers chose the EBPs that they were interested in implementing, and the collaborative work groups served as a forum for learning about the EBPs. Data sources included coding and thematic analysis of initial and final interviews, recording of the collaborative work groups, classroom observations, prebehavior and postbehavior checklists, and a social validity questionnaire. Three main themes emerged from the qualitative analysis of the interview and collaborative work group data: Attribution, winging it, and its about me. Results were examined in light of the leadership framework of Fullan (2001) and the consolidated framework for implementation research (CFIR) of Damschroder et al. (2009). Implications included the need for consideration of the effect of attribution of teachers (to student diagnosis, other professionals, or behavior function) on user benefit, commitment, and relationships to the implementation of EBPs. A practical implication is the need for leadership models and a commitment to the process of adoption and implementation of the EBPs at the leadership level. An additional practical implication is the need for challenging teachers' perceptions of disruptive behavior through a process of reflective listening. Future research is needed on the effect of an individual's attribution of behavior on factors such as diagnosis or other professionals, an effect that may play out at any point in the implementation process.


Collaborative work groups, implementation science, evidence based practice, EBP, disruptive behavior, qualitative research, leadership in education

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Luckasson, Ruth

Second Committee Member

Dougher, Michael

Third Committee Member

Scherba de Valenzuela, Julia