Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Behavioral Education 17:1 (March 2008), pp. 43–62; doi: 10.1007/s10864-007-9050-1 Copyright © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. Used by permission.


This study describes the academic, social, and behavioral performance of elementary and secondary students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) receiving services in a self-contained school for students with serious behavior problems, with an emphasis on how school adjustment and problem behavior patterns predict academic performance. Results revealed that elementary and secondary group scores were well below the 25th percentile on reading, math, and written expression measures. Further, a seven variable model representing academic, social, and behavioral domains was able to differentiate between age groups explaining 54% of the variance and correctly classifying 78.26% (n = 18) of the elementary students and 84.21% (n = 16) of the secondary students. Findings also suggested that behavioral variables (e.g., school adjustment, externalizing, and internalizing) were predictive of broad reading and broad written expression scores, with school adjustment (a protective factor) accounting for the most variance in the three-variable model. Limitations and recommendations for future research are addressed.