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Evaluation of the Behavioral Skills Program: A public school-based day treatment for students with behavioral disorders

Jerry L Oestmann, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study was done to examine the outcome of placement in the Lincoln Public Schools Behavioral Skills Program (BSP) for students with behavioral disorders in Kindergarten through 9th grade for the years 1993/94, 1994/95, 1995/96, and 1996/97. Results of this study indicate that students referred to BSP experience levels of individual and family risk factors and exhibit levels of problem behaviors that are comparable to or higher than those experienced by children identified in the literature with severe behavioral and emotional problems. Results of this study also indicated that behavior ratings from both referring/home school and BSP teachers remained in the borderline to clinically significant range during placement regardless of length of service received However, improvement was noted for some mean total problems, and externalizing and internalizing problem behavior ratings. In addition, performance on IEP behavior goals generally showed improvement. Students that had been in the program 1 to 18 months had the most improvement with end-of-year success rates usually above 80% in most goal categories. Students that had been in the program 18 months or longer had less improvement overall but end-of-year performance was often over 80%. Academic achievement test results indicated that placement at BSP resulted in stable academic performance with significant gains in some areas for the entire sample. Finally, almost half the participants who were dismissed from BSP were in less restrictive settings one year following dismissal. On the downside, this study indicated that the single largest group of students were high school age students who dropped out of school. However, the dropout rate was less than typically found in the literature for students with BD. ^ Discussion of the results of this study includes the possible reasons for behavioral and academic outcomes made for the entire sample and for each group. Implications of the one-year follow up are presented and the need for continuation of day treatment through the high school grade levels is pointed out. The implications of the results are discussed in terms of support and possible need for change of program structure and treatment interventions. Also methodological concerns are discussed to improve future evaluation of BSP or other day treatment programs. ^ The practical implications of this study are that the overall improvement for students appears to support BSP's program philosophies and interventions. There are also implications for areas of concern-that the program may need to address. The program should attempt to determine why some students' problems are so persistent and if other intervention alternatives are called for. Another concern is that BSP appears to be successful in helping students achieve targeted goals but it should be determined if there are other behaviors that are not being addressed that continue to prevent placement in less restrictive settings. These concerns along with improvements of research methodology and use of other research approaches should be considered in the future. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Education, Educational Psychology|Psychology, Clinical

Recommended Citation

Oestmann, Jerry L, "Evaluation of the Behavioral Skills Program: A public school-based day treatment for students with behavioral disorders" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9992000.