School-Wide Positive Behavior Support and RTI
This Talk is now concluded.
Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to view the questions that were asked and Dr. Horner's answers.
Most teachers agree that students who have behavior challenges typically also experience academic challenges, which is why a combined approach that provides both academic and behavior supports is so effective within the RTI framework in helping to improve outcomes for all students.* Learn how positive behavior support (PBS) helps prevent inappropriate behaviors through teaching and reinforcing appropriate behaviors to create positive school environments.
Join Rob Horner, Ph.D., professor of special education at the University of Oregon and director of the Educational Community Supports, as he answers your questions about maximizing student learning and the impact of effective interventions by preventing the development and lessening the intensity of problem behaviors. Dr. Horner will also offer tips and suggestions for establishing a school-wide system of positive behavior supports and interventions to meet the needs of students experiencing academic and social difficulties in school.
*Initial studies have illustrated that school-wide behavior supports decrease problem behavior, increase time spent in academic instruction, and are associated with improved academic outcomes — including improving student scores on standardized tests.
SOURCE: Putnam, R.F., Horner, R.H., Algozzine R. Academic Achievement and the Implementation of School-wide Behavior Support. Retrieved December 5, 2008 from http://www.pbis.org/pbis_newsletter/volume_3/issue1.aspx.
Read more about Rob Horner, Ph.D.
The second step is completing a functional behavioral assessment to clarify not only what and when problems occur but the maintaining reinforcer. Does the student fail to attend because school is aversive? Does the student fail to attend because there are no rewards (academic/social)? Does the student fail to attend because a peer group recruits and support skipping? Knowing why a problem keeps happening is important. Based on the answers to these questions you will be guided toward efficient support options.
To assess student outcomes, we monitor the rate of office discipline referrals. We would prefer to measure positive behavior, but the cost to collect and summarize these data has proven prohibitive. The School-wide Information System (SWIS) is now being used by over 5400 schools throughout the US to monitor office discipline referrals (ODRs). You can go to the School-Wide Information System (SWIS) to download information about this information system, and national statistics. For your schools in Alabama you should be looking for rates of ODRs per 100 students per school day of .34 or less for elementary school, .92 for middle school, and 1.02 for high school.
- Define and teach 3-5, positively stated behavioral expectations.
- Establish a system to acknowledge students regularly for behaving appropriately
- Establish a set of consequences for inappropriate behavior and implement those consequences consistently.
- Collect and report office discipline referral data weekly to the behavior support team, and monthly to the whole faculty.
- Establish a school-wide PBS team that has the task of implementing and updating school-wide discipline systems.
(a) redesign of environments to reduce problem behavior,
(b) teaching new skills to reduce problem behavior,
(c) rigorous reward of appropriate behavior while withholding rewards for problem behavior, and
(d) active and on-going collection and use of data to guide the design of school, community and home settings.
Edward Carr, Glen Dunalp, Wayne Sailor, Robert Koegel and others were instrumental in the transformation of PBS into a set of systematic practices George Sugai, Tim Lewis and others built on those practices and combined them with other implementation efforts that Roy Mayer, Tony Biglan and others were advocating in schools to create school-wide positive behavior support. Yes, positive behavior support and school-pbis are effective and research based. See a monograph published by AAMR by Carr et al., 1999 for a meta-analysis of research addressing PBS in general.
See the research cited at the OSEP National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports for both randomized control trials and single case research documenting the effects of school-wide PBIS. You may also want to read School-Wide Positive Behavior Support An Evidence-Based Practice?
We typically recommend that a school team plan on three years for full implementation of all three tiers of the PBIS approach. During the first year a school team typically will meet 3-4 times (for a day or a day and a half at each meeting)with a trainer. The trainer may be a national expert, but should within a two-year period become a local district person. The second and third years the teams meet 2-3 times with trainers, and work on implemenatation of the secondary and tertiary tiers ...these are where the individual student supports are developed. Note also that initial implementation is only part of the process. If School-wide PBS is done well, it is done with active involvement of the district. This means that in addition to getting the practices in place in a school... the district establishes an annual orientation for all new faculty and new administrators.
The district also uses on-going monitoring of fidelity (the Team Checklist) and invests in Professional Development activities that ensure sustained as well as initial implementation. Schools that implement school-wide PBS to fidelity with active district support are very likely to sustain for long time periods. Jennifer Doolittle's study on sustainability documents a .85 likelihood of sustained fidelity. Schools in Oregon have sustained high levels of implementation now for over 12 years without exteral support.
- build a solid foundation
- conduct universal screening and progress monitoring
- use evidence-based practices and
- (use data-based decision-making to guide implementation
These basic ideas continue to be useful in high schools. We are working with approximately 850 high schools throughout the country, and finding that while there is greater variability, high schools that invest in building a positive social culture are seen as more effective learning settings. Your specific question focused on the discipline codes... the codes themselves are not a core element of RTI...the key is that data are being used to assess student performance.
(a) building commitment with the faculty that the social behavior of students is one of the top three issues needing to be addressed,
(b) ensuring that the administrator is supportive and willing to be involved, and
(c) identifying the discipline practices that are already in place and working (and should NOT be abandoned).
See the PBIS Implementation Blueprint for a more complete discussion of the process for implementation.
- If students are in a learning context where they are not experiencing academic success the likelihood of problem behavior goes up. Students will engage in problem behavior that is maintained by escaping the aversive academic demands.
- Low income contexts are associated with both low levels of early social skills, and low levels of early academic skills. The good news is that if these children receive high quality support (not just high demands, but high level of support) they can respond quickly (both academically and behaviorally). If, however, students enter with low skills, and experience only failure in their early years, they are much more likely to have difficulty.
- Invest in early identification and intervention.
- Adopt literacy and behavior support systems that are demonstrated to be effective through scientific scholarship
- Collect data to document if effective programs are being implemented with fidelity...not just if training has occurred.
- Research is needed to document effective ways to integrate family support, academic support and behavior support for low income children. Tom Dishion recently received an NIH grant to address this very issue...so we hope to have much more precision in recommendations within the next 3-5 years.
That concludes our RTI Talk for today. Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful questions and thanks to our expert, Dr. Rob Horner, for his time today.
Related Reading from RTINetwork.org:
School-Wide Positive Behavior Support and Response to Intervention by George Sugai, Ph.D.
Keep It Simple and Think Systemically by David P. Prasse, Ph.D.
Field Studies of RTI Effectiveness: Behavior Support Model (BSM) from Field Studies of RTI Programs by Charles Hughes, Ph.D., and Douglas D. Dexter, M.Ed.
Evidence Based Research on School-wide Positive Behavior Support by Robert Horner and George Sugai
Crone, D. A., Horner, R. H., & Hawken, L. S. (2004). Responding to problem behavior in schools: The behavior education program. New York: Guilford Press.