Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Margaret T. Floress


Teacher praise is a strategy that effectively reduces student disruptive and off-task behavior. Although teacher praise has been studied for more than five decades, most research has looked at general and behavior specific praise. There may be other aspects of praise, beyond specificity, that could inform consultation. Examining teachers' diverse use of praise may inform how to maximize this strategy and improve upon teacher training. The purpose of this study was to determine whether teachers' diverse use of praise could be measured. Once it was determined, the data were analyzed to determine how many diverse praise categories teachers used on average and whether differences were noted between early and late grade elementary teachers use of diverse praise. Data for this study were re-analyzed from an original study which included 5721 minutes of direct observation across 28 kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms (approximately 200 min per classroom) to measure teachers' average use of diverse praise categories per observation. Across all 28 classrooms, teachers used 3.7 total diverse praise categories (TDP) per observation. Additionally, on average, teachers used more behavior specific diverse praise (BSDP) than general diverse praise (GDP) categories per observation per hour and this difference was statistically significant. There was no statistically significant difference in the number of TDP categories coded per observation per hour between early and late elementary classrooms. Lastly, praise adjective, compliance/appreciation, and work GDP categories were used most frequently across all teachers. Implications and future directions are discussed.