1 page summary of article attachedhttps://doi.org/10.1177/10983007221126568

Journal of Positive Behavior
1 –12
© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2022
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DOI: 10.1177/10983007221126568

Empirical Research

Teacher praise has been examined for decades by research-
ers as a form of positive reinforcement to improve student
behaviors when attention maintains behavior (Becker et al.,
1967; Brophy, 1981; Markelz, Taylor, et al., 2019;
Sutherland et al., 2000; White, 1975). It is often stated that
teacher praise is a low-intensity, effective, and efficient pro-
active classroom management strategy for academic and
social behaviors (Ennis et al., 2018; Lane et al., 2015).
Although there is debate about whether sufficient high-
quality research exists to categorically claim teacher praise
as an “evidence-based strategy” (e.g., Moore et al., 2019;
Royer et al., 2019), researchers have demonstrated the
effectiveness of teacher praise in a variety of settings with a
variety of populations (Ennis et al., 2020; Moore et al.,

There is consensus among scholars that behavior-spe-
cific praise (BSP) may be a more salient reinforcer than
general praise (GP) due to the explicit linkage between
teacher approval and a specific student behavior (Alberto
et al., 2022; Gage & MacSuga-Gage, 2017). An example of
GP is “Nice job!” An example of BSP is “I like the way you
put your things away then immediately started working on
your project, well done!” When students receive feedback
about their behavior delivered as a specific positive affirma-
tion, the student’s behavior is rewarded with attention, the
student is told which specific behavior resulted in

that attention, and their classmates have been reminded of
classroom expectations. Specific feedback is a potentially
more effective reinforcer than nonspecific feedback because
the recipient is oriented to the behavior that elicited rein-
forcement and is thus able to replicate that behavior in the
future (Cooper et al., 2020). Accordingly, BSP is recom-
mended as a Tier 1 (classroom level), Tier 2 (small group
level), or Tier 3 (individual student level) intervention to
promote desirable behaviors (Floress et al., 2020).

Praise Variety

The past empirical literature has focused on the efficacy of
BSP versus GP (Markelz, Taylor, et al., 2019). Yet, scholars
have suggested another characteristic of praise may affect
efficacy such as praise variety (Floress & Beschta, 2018;
Hager, 2012; Markelz et al., 2020). Praise variety is a topo-
graphical characteristic grounded in research related to the

1126568 PBIXXX10.1177/10983007221126568Journal of Positive Behavior InterventionsMarkelz et al.

1Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA
2James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA, USA
3University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA

Corresponding Author:
Andrew M. Markelz, Ball State University, 749 Teachers Colle

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