Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)



First Advisor

Helmut H. Reimer

First Committee Member

Heath Lowry

Second Committee Member

Otis Shao

Third Committee Member

Richard Coke Wood

Fourth Committee Member

Robert R. Hopkins


Problem children present a major concern in the field of education. Because they are not adjusting to the socially-acceptable behavior norms of their environment, they disrupt their own progress and the learning efforts of their classmates.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of school counselors involving problem children in a middle school with their teacher and parent(s) in a contractual agreement. This contractual agreement was based upon Glasser's Reality Therapy and tailored to the individual problem child's own needs, in order to help him to improve his behavior and achievement.

PROCEDURE: The treatment group was composed of middle school problem children, so designated and rated by the classroom teacher on the Devereux Elementary School Behavior Rating Scale. The non-treatment group consisted of three intact homerooms, one at each grade level, most closely approximating that mean grade level in terms of Stanford Achievement Test scores. The pretest for both groups in the Paragraph Meaning and Arithmetic Computation subtests of the Stanford Achievement Test was a part of the school testing program. As soon as the problem child was designated, he was involved in a contractual agreement with his counselor, teacher, and parent(s). At the end of the school year, posttesting in the two subtests was administered to the treatment and to the non-treatment groups. The treatment group was again rated by the classroom teacher on the behavior rating scale. Five dependent variables were investigated for the treatment group: gradepoint average, paragraph meaning, arithmetic computation, grade in the subject of the designating teacher, and behavior. Three dependent variables were investigated for the non-treatment group: grade-point average, paragraph meaning, and arithmetic computation.

FINDINGS: The data for the experimental group was analyzed by employing the Student t-test for correlated samples to test for a significant mean gain for the dependent variables of this group. The non-experimental group was used as a secondary comparison. The .05 level of statistical significance was used for testing the null hypotheses. Problem children, as well as non-problem children, made significant gains in grade-point average, paragraph meaning, and arithmetic computation. The gain of the Problem children was not significantly higher than that of the non-problem children. The problem children received significantly fewer deviations from the mean on the behavior rating scale at the end of the year, but did not make a significant gain in the subject of the designating teacher.

CONCLUSION: From the significant gains of the treatment group and from subjective impressions, the researcher concluded that the contractual agreement and Reality Therapy may well be utilized for helping the problem child in the middle school improve his behavioral and achievement.



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