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Positive Behaviour at School Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

Student behaviour refers to behaviours that occur in the learning environment; such as whether students are listening to their teacher or being disruptive. Student behaviour is closely related to classroom management, which is an important factor in a students’ social and psychological development (Romi, Lewis, & Salkovsky, 2015).

The Learning Bar’s framework on student engagement includes measures of social, institutional, and intellectual engagement. Institutional engagement refers to active participation in the requirements for school success, such as attendance, positive homework behaviour, and valuing schooling outcomes. Student behaviour is a key component of institutional engagement.

Why is it important?

  • Classroom interventions that are designed to promote socially responsible behaviour at school can result in better academic achievement (Wentzel, 1993).
  • Students who are disengaged may hold negative attitudes towards teachers and other students, and exhibit disruptive behaviours (Willms, 2003).
  • Students who demonstrate challenging behaviours in school are considered to have an increased risk of delinquency, academic failure, and dropping out of school (Dunlap et al., 2006).
  • Peer groups influence all aspects of school adjustment, including disruptive behaviour (Berndt & Keefe,1995).
  • Teachers can improve classroom behaviour by matching appropriate classroom management techniques to specific student misbehaviours (Romi et al., 2015).

How do we measure it?

In Tell Them From Me, in both the primary and secondary school questionnaires, students respond to questions asking how often they have been in trouble at school. The data are scaled on a 10-point scale, and students with a score less than or equal to 3.4 are considered to have ‘positive student behaviour’. The results are reported as ‘the percentage of students with positive student behaviour’.



Berndt, T. J., & Keefe, K. (1995). Friends’ influence on adolescents’ adjustment to school. Child Development, 66(5), 1312-1329.

Dunlap, G., Strain, P., Fox, L., Carta, J. J., Conroy, M., Smith, B. J., Kern, L., Hemmeter, M. L., Timm, M. A., McCart, A., Sailor, W., Markey, U., Markey, D. J., Lardieri, S., & Sowell, C. (2006). Prevention and intervention with young children's challenging behavior: Perspectives regarding current knowledge. Behavioral Disorders, 32(1), 29-45.

Romi, S., Lewis, R., & Salkovsky, M. (2015). Exclusion as a way of promoting student responsibility: Does the kind of misbehavior matter? The Journal of Educational Research, 108(4), 306-317.

Wentzel, K. R. (1993). Does being good make the grade? Social behavior and academic competence in middle school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 85(2), 357-364.

Willms, J. D. (2003). Student engagement at school: A sense of belonging and participation. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.