Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2024

Thesis Director

Margaret T. Floress

Thesis Committee Member

Assege HaileMariam

Thesis Committee Member

Wesley D. Allan


The purpose of this study was to expand the praise acceptability literature by examining K-12 teachers’ preferences for praise and whether their acceptability for praise, as a behavior management tool, declines as grade level increases. Teacher acceptability and preferences for praise and reprimand were collected through the Teacher Praise and Reprimand Preference Survey (TPRPS) which is a survey adapted from the previously existing Adolescent Preference for Praise Survey (APPS). A total of 140 teachers from rural, suburban, and urban school districts completed the TPRPS survey. Results of the study showed that as grade level increased, teachers reported to praise students less frequently for academic work and appropriate behavior. Significant differences were found between elementary and secondary teachers’ preferences for praising students’ work and behavior. Elementary teachers preferred to praise students out loud for doing their work, and reward students out loud and quietly with points for work, compared to secondary teachers. General education teachers reported praising students less frequently for doing their work and engaging in appropriate behavior compared to special education teachers. This is the first study to examine teachers’ acceptability and preferences for praise and reprimand and results may help inform teachers use of praise across grades K-12, with an emphasis on secondary teachers as research in this setting is scarce.