Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Margaret T. Floress


The current study examined six preschool teachers' natural use of praise. Two of the teachers taught in general education classrooms, two taught in at-risk classrooms, and two taught in special education classrooms. Over 10 hours (approximately 100 minutes in each classroom) of direct behavioral observation of teachers' use of praise were conducted across classrooms. Results did not indicate that teachers' use of praise was statistically different based on classroom type (i.e., general, at-risk, and special education). However, special education teachers used twice as many praise statements compared to teachers in general education and at-risk classrooms and the effect sizes for these differences were large, suggesting that results would have reached significance with a larger sample size. Across all preschool classrooms, teachers used more general praise statements compared to behavior-specific praise statements. This difference was statistically significant. Lastly, teachers delivered more praise to individual and large groups of students compared to small groups of students, which was a statistically significant difference.