Reducing Disruptive Classroom Behavior

Disruptive classroom behavior is an issue affecting not only the students who initiate these disruptions but also other children and educators. For this reason, researchers in behavioral sciences aimed to study ways in which disruptive classroom behaviors can be addressed. One approach suggested in the literature is time-out or the practice of providing students with breaks to allow them time to rest. The purpose of the article “A Single-Subject Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Time-Out in Reducing Disruptive Classroom Behavior” by Vegas et al. (2007) is to outline the authors’ research on ways to improve behaviors in a classroom. This paper will analyze the article by Vegas et al. (2007) and describe the different procedures and methods the authors used to conduct their study.

The article by Vegas et al. (2007) is based on the examination of previous publications that examined a particular behavioral change method, which is time-outs. The participants of this study were 25 students from different research studies that fit the set of criteria, such as targeted behavior, the use of graphs, and the type of data provided. Two partly overlapping approaches were used by the authors to identify potential papers for the meta-analysis. They restricted their first automated searches of the PsycINFO, ERIC, and Dissertation Abstracts International databases to papers published between 1969 and 1999. The studies examined in this meta-analysis were set in a classroom to ensure that the conditions of this research are as close to real life as possible. The design of this study used to evaluate behavior change is a meta-analysis.

The targeted behavior of this meta-analysis was disruptive classroom behavior. By definition, this term explains any type of action that affect the normal flow of the study process. These actions range from desiring control and authority in the classroom to being persistently late, talking when the students should not, arguing with the instructor unnecessarily, confronting the teacher on specific problems, disobeying directions, and others.

The results show that the methods proposed by the researchers in the articles included were effective. In the research examined, 25 students were represented. Twenty of the students were classified as male, while five were identified as female (Vegas et al., 2007). Fifteen of the pupils were between the ages of four and seven, with the remainder being between the ages of eight and twelve. The most commonly indicated behavior needing treatment was verbal and physical violence, with disruptive and off-task conduct rounding out the list. The most commonly mentioned effective method was a seclusionary time-out.

Reliability was evaluated using the +-1 approach based on each data point from the 25 studies, and the range of agreement between different data points was within 95%. ITSACORR method was used for variability, which showed a positive trend among the studies and their results. Based on the statistical changes among the 25 studies, the authors concluded that the behavioral change methods were indeed effective.

The findings indicate that this study is clinically significant because it can help address disruptive behaviors in the classroom since the authors confirm that the time-out method is indeed effective for students. Vegas et al. (2007) state that the implications for future research are linked to the following issue: “There is not a single, widely accepted method for analyzing single-subject design studies” (p. 118). Hence, studies investigating better methods for meta-analysis can aid future researchers.


Vegas, K. C., Jenson, W. R., & Kircher, J. C. (2007). A single-subject meta-analysis of the effectiveness of time-out in reducing disruptive classroom behavior. Behavioral Disorders, 32(2), 109–121.

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ChalkyPapers. "Reducing Disruptive Classroom Behavior." April 10, 2023.