special education, emotional disorders, behavioral disorders, academic interventions, inclusion


Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) have traditionally been educated in self-contained special education settings. Recent legislative changes such as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 have led to increased inclusion of students with EBD in general education classrooms. Because of these changes, general educators need to know which research-based interventions are effective in improving academic performance with these students. This systematic review examined the literature to identify research-based effective interventions for students with EBD served in general education settings. Studies included in this review had to meet the following criteria: research sample includes students identified with EBD as their primary disability who are being educated full time in general education settings; description of intervention and implementation are thorough enough to allow replication; documented relationship between intervention and academic performance is clearly established; and data documenting intervention effect is provided. The focus of interventions for students with EBD is too often only on controlling behavior, whereas this review focused on improving academics. Studies not meeting these criteria were excluded from the review. These inclusion and exclusion criteria were necessary to identify studies relevant to current practice of inclusion, as well as to provide information to educators on interventions having an effect on academic performance. Five studies met all inclusion criteria. Effective interventions included: writing instruction, discovery teaching, teacher modeling, cross-age tutoring, and guided notes. Nineteen studies met all inclusion criteria except setting, with intervention and data collection performed in self-contained special education classrooms. These studies suggest that peer-tutoring and self-management interventions may also be effective if introduced into general education classrooms. The study concludes by suggesting specific methodological criteria needed for future research in this area.


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Graduation Date



Boote, David


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Studies

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction








Release Date

September 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)