Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

MA Special Education


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Kuder, Sydney J.

Committee Member 1

Accardo, Amy

Committee Member 2

Xin, Joy


behavior-based goal groups, emotional disturbance, goal theory, school behavior system


Mentally ill teenagers--Education; Behavior modification


Special Education and Teaching


This study evaluated six students between the ages of 14 to 17 years old who are classified with emotional disturbance and attending an alternative school in suburban New Jersey to determine the impact of individual behavior-based goal-oriented groups on student behavioral performance. The goals groups were crafted using goal theory and were designed to address observed target behaviors in the school's pre-established point-based school-wide behavior support system. Data collected via the schoolwide point-based behavior system for the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 school years were analyzed to identify student performance. Additionally, data collected from the student self-evaluation process was compared to the 2017-2018 student behavioral performance data.

The results of this study revealed that individualized goal-oriented groups can successfully increase the instances of target behaviors identified in the school-wide behavior support system. This study also determined that student perception of understanding plays a significant role in the behavioral performance of students with emotional disturbance. The data showed that all students displayed behavior that correlated between behavioral performance and perception of learning, i.e., high behavioral performance, high perception of learning, low behavioral performance, low perception of learning.