The treatment adherence of paraprofessional behavior training programs: a systematic literature review

Kary Zarate, Courtney Barcus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The professionalization of paraprofessionals through training is elemental in providing supports to students with disabilities. Through a systematic review of experimental studies (n = 18), we sought to explore the mechanisms of paraprofessional training programs, and the fidelity of implementation of those programs. For inclusion, studies were required to report paraprofessional and student outcomes related to interventions aimed at the improvement of challenging student behaviors. This review was conducted within the ProQuest database using ERIC and PsychInfo. Findings indicate that when trained, paraprofessionals successfully implement communication-based interventions as the primary means for reducing challenging student behavior. However, training program adherence is seldom reported in replicable detail. Furthermore, paraprofessional training is mostly delivered by a researcher and conducted in a one-on-one setting, using multiple training methods such as didactic instruction and coaching with feedback. Unfortunately, these training models are hardly feasible or replicable within authentic school settings. As such, researchers are called to report training treatment adherence with more clarity and detail so that we may begin the work of teaching pre-service educators these effective training methods. This study did not include training programs that provided academic interventions and thus is limited in scope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1317-1340
Number of pages24
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Challenging behavior
  • Paraprofessional
  • Personnel preparation
  • Special education
  • Training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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