Tier 2 – Targeted Group Strategies

Professional Tools and Resources for Behavior Analysts

hosted at Science of Behaviorwww.scienceofbehavior.com

Classroom and/or Targeted Group Strategies (Standard Treatment Protocols) are the Middle or Second Tier of Intervention for Improving and Maintaining Behavioral and Academic Progress

3 Tier Pyramid Example

Highly effective classroom and targeted group strategies are described below. When these strategies are successfully applied,

  • at least 75% of students should have

  • zero or only one discipline referral (for less serious incident types) per year.

Effective instructional strategies for behavioral and academic skills:

Behavior Skills Training (BST):

All faculty are proficient in teaching expectations through structured lessons that help students learn desired behaviors. BST lessons include teacher explanation and modeling of the skill, student role playing with teacher feedback, peer feedback (in some instances), extended practice in all relevant school settings, plus student practice with his/her parents in the home and community (when feasible).

Academic instructional strategies are individualized to:

  • match the curriculum to student learning level, (achievable but challenging)
  • manage “teachable moments” by capturing and contriving student interest and motivation
  • modify the presentation, pacing, and fading of cues (i.e., prompts)
  • evoke active and frequent student responding, with high rates of correct responses
  • shape improved responses
  • provide immediate and frequent reinforcement
  • gather practical measures of student progress
  • chart (graph) progress to support decision-making

Fast-paced, active student responding strategies are employed to increase student engagement (and to decrease problem behaviors).

  • Click here for the Tier 2: Active Student Responding page.

Basic behavior management training is provided for all school faculty:

  • Planning a successful learning environmentClick here for an online module from SUNY that applies to students with and without disabilities in many types of classroom settings. The content is applicable to educators, parents, and caretakers.
  • Essential skills to support appropriate behavior and learning in real school and classroom settings with disabled and non-disabled students at various grade levels:

Click here for more related resources. Contributors to the above materials include H. Kenton Reavis and John Killoran of the Utah State Office of Education; Alan Hofmeister, Marilyn Likins, Douglas M. Allred, Bob Alogozzine, Melissa Genaux, William R. Jensen, Dan Morgan, and Ginger Rhodes of the Utah State University; plus many students and educators from school districts in Utah. This project was supported by USOE AF# 12244 (circa 1997).

  • Free online course by Dr. Glenn Latham – This course presents positive, practical, and user-friendly behavior management skills for children of all ages. Some parts of the course can be completed by independent readings, while others can be taught in class meetings. The course was developed for parents, but can easily be adapted for teachers and other professionals. Click here to access the course.
  • Sample training series for the faculty of a middle school
    • Click here to download the first presentation (December 11, 2008)
    • Click here to download the second presentation (December 18, 2008)
    • Click here to download the third presentation (January 8, 2009)
    • Click here to download the last presentation (January 15, 2009)

All classroom faculty, problem solving team members, and

administrators are proficient in implementing a variety of

Classroom Reward and Recognition Programs

The following strategies can be successfully applied for students at any age or grade level. Please refer to the Reinforcer page to prepare surveys and menus of items and activities that are highly desired by the respective students.

The following strategies may also be combined and adapted so they fit the particular needs of each classroom setting.

Success Chain (Terry Alderman) – In this visually appealing reward method, good student behaviors earn strips of pre-cut colored paper (about 2″ wide and 8-10″ long). The strip can be earned by one, a small group, or the entire class of students. To personalize the strip, the teacher (or rewarded students) can write their names, the good behavior that earned the strip, and the date. The strip is then joined as a link to other strips hanging from the ceiling, top of the whiteboard, or another high location. When the chain bottom hits a mark on the wall, desktop, or the floor, the reinforcer is earned for the entire class. The frequency of strip earning can be adjusted by the teacher (e.g., more strips during group transitions that are often rowdy). Click here for a sample trifold brochure describing the system.

Good Behavior Game – In this highly effective system, small teams of students compete to earn reinforcers. All teams are eligible to earn the reinforcer if they meet the criteria. Click here for a description of this strategy. The description is formatted as a checklist and may be used by teachers, trainers/coaches, and professionals to plan this intervention or provide related training. The checklist may also be used to monitor the intervention to reinforce teacher efforts and maintain peak integrity.

Mystery Motivator – This popular random reinforcement system relies on the elements of surprise and novelty. A menu of reinforcers (highly to moderately desired activities or items) is prepared. Some unexpected reinforcers are also included. Each reinforcer is written on a small slip of paper, folded, and placed in a jar or box. The teacher announces it is time to select the “Mystery Motivator” and draws one folded slip, placing and sealing it in an envelope with a big ? mark on it. The envelope is posted in a visible place out of reach of students. When the reinforcer is earned, the envelope is opened and the Mystery Motivator is provided.

Jim Wright of interventioncentral.com describes a variation of Mystery Motivator involving a chart and special markers.

Class Dojo This intervention is free for teacher use. A projector and white board is used to show avatars (characters) for each student with a display of how many points have been earned for desired behaviors. Teachers can use mobile devices to easily and immediately show points and customized feedback on the white board. Progress reports can be provided to an individual student’s family, school team members, and administrators. Be sure that procedures are in place to protect the confidentiality of all students’ information and that the site administrator has approved the use of this procedure. For more information, please click here.

Classroom Behavior Lottery / Raffle – This drawing-style system targets students who meet classroom behavioral expectations (i.e., follow class rules). This random reinforcement system relies on the element of surprise.

Behavior Bingo – This is a classroom version of the Principal’s 200 Club (see Schoolwide strategies above). This random reinforcement system relies on the element of surprise.

Classroom Token Economy – This is the classic system where students who meet behavioral expectations or objectives earn positive marks on point sheets or punch cards. Stamps, stickers, tickets, tokens, poker chips, coupons, slips, etc. can also be distributed. These are very convenient methods for dispensing reinforcers immediately after the desired behaviors and tracking the amounts of earned reinforcers. The immediate reinforcement bridges the delay until a bigger, backup reinforcer can be delivered. A criterion of 10, 100, 1000, etc points, stamps, etc. may be required to earn the backup reinforcer (e.g., Mystery Motivator, special privileges or activities, highly-desired, age-appropriate items.) To teach students to self-monitor their behaviors, point sheets may be first marked or scored by the students. The teacher checks the student’s recording accuracy, gives feedback, and records the final mark.

Other visual reinforcer systems:

  • Publicly-posted point sheets, stamps, etc. – see above
  • Thermometer chart – points, etc. earnings are colored in – when the level reaches the criteria line, the reinforcer is earned
  • Balls, blocks, etc. in a clear jar – items are placed in the container – when the level reaches the criteria line, the reinforcer is earned
  • Tower or Ladder– pictures or symbols are moved upward toward the criteria line

Random Beeper System – Audio beeps are played in the classroom using a variable interval (VI) schedule. The students cannot predict when the random beeps will occur. The beeps signal the teacher when to look for and reinforce specific desired behaviors. The beeps can also be used to signal students to self-monitor their behaviors. The schedule of beeps can be thinned to occur less often as the students make progress. For example, a VI-5 minute schedule might be thinned to a VI-10 minute schedule. Click here for an audio CD product with 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10 and 15 minute schedules. Or, make it yourself – click here to generate the VI schedule and record the beeps to a MP3 player, CD, etc.

Randomly Timed Cues from the “MotivAider – This method is similar to the Random Beeper System above. The MotivAider is a favorite device that generates audible and/or tactile (vibrating) cues. It is easily programmed to follow a random schedule to cue the teacher when to look for and reinforce specific desired behaviors, or to signal students to self-monitor their behaviors. The Motiv-Aider is available as an Android, iPhone or iPod application ($2-3) or a small portable device ($50).

Randomly Generated Cue Schedule – This method is similar to the Random Beeper System above. The teacher follows a randomly-generated written schedule to set an online countdown timer and alarm (same timer – full screen version) or one of several devices to cue when to look for and reinforce specific desired behaviors, or to signal students to self-monitor their behaviors. Keep the timers hidden from student view to reduce student reactivity. Click here to see a sample schedule. Or, click here to generate your own sets of random schedules.

Beat the Timer Game – Students work to beat the online countdown timer and alarm (same timer – full screen version) or one of several devices. This method is also very useful for timing breaks, special activities, etc.

Spinner – This popular random reinforcement system relies on the element of surprise. A menu of reinforcers (highly to moderately desired activities or items) is prepared. Each reinforcer is written on a spinner wheel or dial. When the criterion to earn the reinforcer is met, the wheel is spun and the indicated reinforcer is delivered.

Dice – This popular random reinforcement system relies on the element of surprise. A menu of 12 reinforcers (highly to moderately desired activities or items) is prepared. Each reinforcer is written in a space on a chart numbered 1 to 12. When the criterion to earn the reinforcer is met, the die are rolled and the indicated reinforcer is delivered.

Other Classroom Reward and Recognition Programs

  • Awards & privileges for grade and conduct improvement
  • “Fun Friday”- brief, special activities for students who meet a good behavior criteria; other students work on classwork, homework, etc.


Select faculty are proficient in implementing

various Tier 2 Standard Treatment Protocols

Social Emotional Learning – Curriculae for teaching desired behaviors and prosocial skills:

    • Social Skills Training – Structured lessons help students develop competence in dealing with interpersonal conflicts, learn to use self-control, and contribute to a positive classroom atmosphere. A classwide reinforcer system (see above) can be combined with this strategy to strengthen student learning and practice of the skills. (For more information, please refer to Behavioral Skills Training above, and the Schoolwide strategies webpage.)
    • Coping Cats – This skills training intervention helps students be more successful in reducing avoidance or escape from situations that cause discomfort or anxiety. For detailed information, click here. To order materials; click here.

Check-In, Check-Out or Check and Connect:

    • Check-In, Check-Out – This multi-component intervention includes most or all of these features: a brief morning check-in by a significant adult, goal setting, teacher feedback using a simple behavior report card or point sheet, opportunities to exchange points for rewards (items or privileges), a brief check-out with the adult near the end of the school day, a school-to-home note, and contingent access to rewards at home.
    • For a clear description of the procedures, go to the “Method” section and read “Check-in/Check-out” in this article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3120067/
    • Check and Connect – This intervention shares some features with “Check-In, Check-Out.” One difference is that the adult mentor meets with the student about once per week instead of daily. The “Check and Connect” literature describes a concentrated focus on building the adult mentor-student relationship; persistent involvement by the mentor to support student engagement, problem solving, and capacity building; goal setting to help the student complete school while making academic and social progress over the years and across environments; and parent participation.
    • For more information on Check and Connect, please visit http://www.checkandconnect.umn.edu and www.checkandconnect.org.

Behavior Contracts:

Standard behavior contracts can be used for the entire class or a targeted group of students needing extra behavior support. Students set and track progress toward daily and weekly goals for behavior change. In a group format, students without behavior challenges may simply set goals for maintaining their good behavior. All students meeting their goals earn rewards. Penalties or other punishers for not meeting the goal are not recommended. Students may learn to self-monitor progress. Teachers may give feedback on the accuracy of self-monitoring. Click here to learn how to write a contract (courtesy of Utah State University Online Staff Development Academy).

Daily Behavior Report Cards:

Standard behavior report cards can be combined with the above strategies and support student self-monitoring. Jim Wright’s manual includes some good examples.


Students can learn to assess their own behaviors using tools like the Daily Behavior Report Card (see above). The teacher can give feedback to shape the accuracy of the student’s self-assessment. This may include a validation check using a highlighted marker to indicate when the teacher agrees with the student’s self recording. This strategy can be combined with other standard treatment protocols, such as Behavior Contract and Check-In, Check-Out as described above.

  • StatCounter