Examining the effects of the personal matrix activity with diverse students

Alexandria C. Muldrew, Faith G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tier 1 implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) focuses on developing, teaching, and reinforcing school-wide behavioral expectations. Yet, it is unclear whether expectations align with the cultural experiences of students from diverse backgrounds. The Personal Matrix Activity (PMA) provides students with an opportunity to describe behavioral expectations across settings and is intended to help bridge cultural gaps that may exist between school and other contexts. The purpose of this study was to examine the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of the PMA with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students in a school already implementing PBIS. Participating classrooms (N = 4) consisted of students (N = 74) who all identified as nonwhite and the majority of whom (81%) were non-native English speakers. A multiple baseline design across classrooms was implemented with Direct Behavior Rating – Single Item Scales targeting class-wide respectful and disruptive behavior as primary outcomes. Both visual and quantitative analyses illustrated the class-wide behaviors of CLD students improved after implementation of the PMA. The PMA appeared feasible to implement and preliminary evidence of effects indicate promise. Future research evaluating the PMA and other culturally responsive PBIS practices is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-533
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
For this study, the PMA came from the (Leverson et al., 2016 ) supported by the US Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. However, almost all of the recommended practices from this field guide are informed by research and do not have direct, empirical evidence that support their use to improve the behaviors of CLD students. Thus, to begin shifting from research‐informed recommendations toward evidence‐based practices, the present study implemented a CRPBIS practice, the PMA, and examined the extent to which it was associated with improved class‐wide behaviors of CLD students. The present study aimed to answer the following research questions: 1. PBIS Cultural Responsiveness Field Guide: Resources for Trainers and Coaches


  • culturally and linguistically diverse
  • personal matrix activity
  • positive behavioral interventions and supports
  • student behavior

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