Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Granting Department

Interdisciplinary Education

Major Professor

Linda M. Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Powell-Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


Elementary behavior, Academic outcomes, Longitudinal, Special education, Emotionally handicapped


Research has consistently shown a greater likelihood of negative outcomes later in life for children with early-onset behavior problems. Understanding the educational outcomes for these children is essential information that can help educators and families to provide targeted interventions in an effort to positively impact these at-risk children’s school experiences. The current study used archival data and a causal comparative research design to examine the educational outcomes (academic achievement, suspension rates, retention rates, and dropout rates/failure to complete high school) for children identified as at-risk for early-onset behavior problems in grades 1 through 3 for a cohort of children in a large suburban Florida school district. Educational outcomes for students with early-onset behavior problems were compared to those of a comparison group of students not identified as having behavior problems in early elementary school. Additionally, the outcomes for students with early-onset behavior problems who received special education services and those who did not receive ESE services were compared. Results indicated that children with early-onset behavior problems were more likely to have been retained, suspended, and fail to complete high school when compared to their peers without early-onset behavior problems. They also had a lower high school grade point average. Among these students with early-onset behavior problems, those who received special education and those who did not were equally at risk for these negative educational outcomes.