School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Kevin Struble


EBD, Pragmatics, Social Pragmatics, Externalizing Behaviors, Internalizing Behaviors, PLOS, Pragmatic Language Observation Scale, Language Function and Pragmatics, Language Impairment, Learning Disability, Pragmatic Communication, Social Skills


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Special Education and Teaching


Over the course of a decade, schools have experienced an increase in inappropriate student behaviors and suspensions with a decrease in teacher retention. Students are demonstrating intensive externalizing and internalizing behaviors that are producing a negative effect on their success in the classroom, with low teacher efficacy in knowing how to properly address those behaviors and concerns. Students receiving special education services in behavior tend to experience challenges with more than just behavior but tend to only experience addressing of behavior. Studies have shown that an increased number of students with a behavioral disorder are more likely to have an undiagnosed language impairment. The sample size was drawn from a Washington school district. There were56 participants who had special education classifications of either specific learning disability (SLD), other health impairment (OHI), or emotional behavior disturbance (EBD). This study administers the Pragmatic Language Observation Scale (PLOS) to measure not only the likelihood of a student presenting with a deficit in their pragmatic language, but to measure the effectiveness of direct instruction, addressing pragmatic communication on the student’s behavior. A predictive correlational research design was implemented to allow the researcher to evaluate the intervention administered to measure its effectiveness. The results from the multiple linear regression demonstrated no significant predictive relationship between student social interaction and the students age and behavior classification, resulting in a failure to reject the null hypothesis. A recommendation for future research could include an increase in participants as well as the collection of pre and post data.