Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

J. Michael Havey


This study compared the effects of choice and assignment of preferred academic tasks on disruptive behaviors and task engagement within the regular education classroom. Two first grade students, identified by their teacher for frequent off-task and disruptive behaviors, participated in this study. After formally assessing academic task preferences, a multielement design was used to evaluate three conditions: (a) assigning a non-preferred academic task, (b) assigning a preferred academic task, (c) providing a choice of academic tasks. Results indicated that both assignment of a preferred task and provision of a choice in tasks had minimal effects on disruptive behavior and task engagement for these students. Levels of task engagement and disruptive behavior were observed to be inconsistent across sessions in all conditions. Possible causes for the erratic data, as well as future directions to support this line of research are discussed.