Evidence Based Interventions

There are many assessment that can be utilized to support behavior intervention. The following information on assessments is designed to inform the reader.

IEP: Individual Education Plan
FBA: Functional Behavior Assessment
BIP: Behavior Intervention Plan (amendment to IEP)
PBS: Positive Behavior Supports
RTI: Response To Intervention

The FBA supports behavior intervention as it is critical in identifying the function of a particular behavior in order to plan a positive behavior plan that will change that behavior (Kerr and Nelson, 2010). Without an FBA, you cannot identify the function of the behavior that needs changing. Once it is identified, you can structure the classroom and behavior supports to help the student change in a positive way.

PBS and RTI are not the same thing. The third tier of RTI addresses more severe behaviors and involves individual strategies in behavior management (Laureate Education Inc., 2010). Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) are put into place once an FBA has been completed and the targeted behavior has been identified. RTI also targets specific behavior and implements individual strategies to assist in correcting this behavior. They are very similar, however an FBA is typically seen in conjunction with a BIP in an IEP which is for all grades, and RTI is typically utilized in the lower grades and can be implemented with an IEP but is usually implemented before an IEP becomes the focus of the students behavioral and academic issues. (Tonya)


Kerr, M., & Nelson, C. M. (2010). Strategies for addressing behavior problems in the classroom (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Advanced behavioral interventions in special education. Baltimore: Dr. Sean Smith and Dr. Jeanmarie Bantz

A Little More Information…

Based on the research, FBA, PBS and RtI should all be applied together in the same classroom….even as adults, we are more responsive to positive rather than punitive interactions.

An FBA supports behavior analysis by finding out exactly what precedes an undesirable behavior, the behavior itself, and what happens as a consequence. This information is extremely useful to formulating an effective PBS and RtI. (Christine)


The Special Connections website (1999-2005 University of Kansas) provides teachers with information about instruction, behavior plans, collaboration, and assessment. Retrieved on November 14, 2010 from http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/cgi-bbin/cgiwrap/specconn/main.php?cat=behavior&section=main&subsection=classroom/preventive

Positive Behavior Supports
"Positive behavior support is an application of a behaviorally-based systems approach to enhance the capacity of schools, families, and communities to design effective environments that improve the link between research-validated practices and the environments in which teaching and learning occurs" (OSEP, 2010). The web site listed below offers suggestions and evidence-based practices based on the assumption that all children can learn appropriate behavior and that positive behavior intervention and supports (PBIS) can be created to identify specific behaviors that are targeted for change. It includes tools, presentations, publications and training sources. (Tonya)

OSEP. (2010). Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. Effective Schoolwide Interventions. Retrieved online at http://www.pbis.org/school/default.aspx

Behavior Intervention PBIS
Disruptive behavior is a problem in schools today that takes the focus off of teaching and usually ends in classroom disruptions and discipline measures that remove the problem, but not the behaviors that are creating the problem. This article discusses several research-based approaches to behavior interventions such as PBIS, which has three tiers to address school wide interventions, group interventions and individual interventions for severe behavioral and/or academic needs. This article introduces several evidence based programs that have demonstrated effectiveness, such as PBIS. In addition, it directly addresses behaviors caused by ADHD, conduct disorders and typical disruptive behaviors. (Tonya)

Hunter, Lisa. (2003). School psychology: A public health framework. III. Managing disruptive behavior in schools: The value of a public health and evidence-based perspective Journal of School Psychology, 41 (1), pp. 39-59. Retrieved online at waldenulibrary.org.

Intervention and Referral Services

There are many web-based resources available and this is a web site that lists several links to research-based educational programs that can be retrieved with a click of your mouse. It was developed by The Southern Regional Institute and Educational Technology Training Center at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. This site states that the links to organizations posted on their site are provided as a service only. On this site are links to other web sites that offer research-based information on different methods of behavioral interventions. Many include free valuable tools that could be used, such as behavioral assessments and plans. (Tonya)


PBS and Families
Evidence has determined the importance of parent involvement in a positive behavior system. Challenges exist when parents and teachers have varied ideas ablout the implementation of parent involvement. Ethnographic differences can create barriers to this type of collaboration. Reserach conducted by Minke (2005) identifies these differences of perception and how this can affect student learning and family involvement. The collaborative approach to family involvement requires an understanding of different situations and vlaues both economically and culturally. This article supports the idea of a positive behavior support system involving families with an emphasis on understanding the varying perceptions between teachers and families. (Angie)

Minke, K., & Anderson, K. (2005). Family-School Collaboration and Positive Behavior Support. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7(3), 181-185. Retrieved from ERIC database.

Behavioral Supports and Autism
I frequently work with children on the autism spectrum and have found positive behavior supports to be an integral part of the classroom structure. In some classes, much of the day is spent implementing a positive behvior support system. I found this website to be very informative in outlining positive behavior supports specifically for children on the autistic spectrum. It utilizes the principles of applied behavior analysis as described by Kerr and Nelson (2010) and targets children from birth to 18 years of age. Autistic children often require extra supports in behavior management that includes very specific goals and communication practices. (Angie)


Kerr, M., & Nelson, C. M. (2010). Strategies for addressing behavior problems in the classroom (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Positive Environments, Network of Trainers (PENT)
Providing positive behavior supports can be overwhelming. However, it is necessary for at risk students. Evidence based strategies have been established in school to protect and support students with behavior problems with the goal of creating a safe and positvie learning environment. It is important for educators and other professionals to have a comprehensive support system that enables them to successfully wor with students who have emotional and behavior challenges. The website called Positive Environments, Network of Trainers (PENT) based out of the California Department of Education is a valuable resource and tool that includes evidence based strategies that can be implemented in the classroom. As an educator with limited time I found this to be very useful for quick review and research of forms and strategies that are tested and proven to be effective in the classroom. (Angie)


Teaching Skills
Teaching appropriate social skills and behaviors is a research based approach to reducing undesirable behavior in a variety of school environments, from the classroom to the lunch room to the playground. We often take for granted that students know what appropriate school behavior looks like. For those students who do not seem to know how to behave in school, explicit instruction is required. The instruction can include such topics as procedures, conflict resolution, or impulse control. Follow this link to the Doing What Works web site for various sources of strategies for teaching skills that promote positive behavior as well as interviews with experts in the field and slide shows and videos of strategies being demonstrated. (Katie)


Modify the classroom environment to decrease problem behavior
Changing the physical layout of the classroom, altering the schedule or modifying instructional activities can minimize the occurrence of problem behavior. The following site provides a multimedia overview of the modifying classroom environment strategy as well as interviews of experts in the field, videos that demonstrate the strategy, sample materials, tools, and related links. (Katie)

Contingency Contracts
Contingency contracts are a way of changing a problem behavior using a contract signed by the teacher, student and parent. A contingency contract typically includes a goal, a set span of time and a reward decided upon by all the members signing the contract. I find contingency contracts very useful during parent teacher conferences and other school meetings, as it is an easy to read report of the progress a student is making. The following link provides several examples of contracts that can be used with elementary school age students. (Kathryn) http://specialed.about.com/cs/behaviordisorder/a/behaviorcontrac.htm

Sound-Field Amplification
Using a microphone in a relatively small space may seem a bit much, however, many students may indeed have trouble hearing the teacher in the classroom. I have used a microphone in my classroom for the past four years. It is a great tool for several reasons. My students can hear me even if I am walking around giving students advice on their work. The other students can hear this and it prompts them to check their work. Also, the students can easily hear directions, read alouds, and general classroom instruction. Perhaps the most important reason for using a microphone was the motivation it provided for my students. My students were eager to use the hand-held microphone to tell stories, read reports and answer questions. (Kathryn)

The following link provides an explanation of research completed on Sound-Field Amplification: http://gofrontrow.com/files/documents/research/sound-field-amplification-research-summary.pdf.

Establishment and Practice of Classroom Rules
Students with special needs crave routine and structure, and need to understand specific limits and expectations. Through the creation and implementation of classroom rules and practices, an organized and productive learning environment can be established (Conroy, M., Sutherland, K. S., Snyder, A., & Marsh, S., 2008). One fatal mistake that a teacher can make is assuming that his/her students know what is expected of them. Classroom rules need to be spelled out clearly and concisely so that students understand fully what is and is not tolerated in the classroom (Kerr, M. M., & Nelson, C. M., 2010). By working with the students to create a set of rules together, the students would feel a sense of ownership over the rules, and would feel more inclined to follow them. There would be no discrepancy or confusion about the rules, since the students assisted in their creation. Without the establishment of class rules, behaviors such as disruption, anger, and horse play would certainly increase (Conroy, Sutherland, Snyder, & Marsh, 2008). (Kelli)

Conroy, M. A., Sutherland, K. S., Snyder, A. L., & Marsh, S., (2008). Classwide interventions: Effective instruction makes a difference. Teaching exceptional children. 40(6), p. 24-30.

Kerr, M., & Nelson, C. M. (2010). Strategies for addressing behavior problems in the classroom (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Differentiated Instruction
Differentiated Instruction, or DI is defined as a process to approach teaching and learning for students of differing abilities in the same class (Huebner, T. A., 2010). In any classroom, but particularly in classrooms of students with special needs, students’ ability levels vary drastically. In order to keep all students on-task and engaged in class, a teacher needs to “modify and adjust” accordingly. Through DI, a teacher can ensure that his/her students are positively engaged in the classroom instruction, without worrying about a student finishing early or struggling because the task is too difficult. Instruction can be differentiated in several ways: adjusting the content (what students learn), the process (how students learn), or the product (how students demonstrate mastery of knowledge) (Tomlinson, C. A., & Strickland, C. A., 2005). There is no “one size fits all” approach to DI, and each teacher can adjust according to the specific needs of each of their learners. If the students are engaged, interested, and learning, the positive behavior will follow. (Kelli)

Huebner, T. A., (2010). Differentiated instruction. Educational Leadership, 67(5), 79-81.

Tomlinson, C. A., & Strickland, C. A., (2005). Differentiation in practice: A resource guide for differentiating curriculum, grades 9-12. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS)

School-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) has proven time after time to be effective for accomplishing student goals and improved behavior. This study was conducted in order to find out how much social validity was involved in the first year of putting the program into practice in many pre-school classrooms. The stakeholders consisted of sixty-two administrators and staff of the selected schools. The program was named
“Early Childhood Stars (ECS): Bright minds … Bright futures.”
“The goals are to (a) promote evidence-based practices, (b) support change at the systems level, (c) increase local capacity to sustain effective practices over time, and (d) collect and use data for decision making. The procedures by which PWPBS initiatives are adopted involve (a) securing full staff support and engagement via an active vote, (b) establishing a leadership team to guide implementation, (c) developing an implementation plan, (d) providing professional development and organizing support services to ensure high implementation fidelity of the plan, and (e) conducting formative data-based monitoring of the plan” (Frey, Park, Ferrigno, & Korfhage, 2010).
Goal and outcomes of SWPBS were highly supported by stakeholders, although procedures need to be improved.

Frey A., Park, K., Ferrigno P., & Korfhage, T. (2010). The Social Validity of Program-Wide Positive Behavior Support [Electronic Version]. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 12(4), 222-235 (Christine)