WWC review of this study

Improving the Classroom Behavior of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders Using Individualized Curricular Modifications.

Kern, Lee; Delaney, Beth; Clarke, Shelley; Dunlap, Glen; Childs, Karen (2001). Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, v9 n4 p239-47. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ637186

  • Single Case Design
    , grade

Reviewed: December 2016

Meets WWC standards with reservations

To view more detailed information about the study findings from this review, please see Functional Behavioral Assessment-based Interventions Intervention Report (977 KB)

Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Male: 100%


The study took place at two public elementary schools in self-contained classrooms for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Both classrooms had 8–10 students, a teacher, and a paraprofessional. The study sessions took place during a journal activity for Art and handwriting activities for Benjamin. All classroom management procedures, including a point system providing awards for different behaviors, remained constant across all phases of the study.

Study sample

Two students were part of the study sample. Both students were 11 years old and in the fifth grade. Art was diagnosed as having an emotional disturbance. He had poor task engagement and peer relations and demonstrated disruptive behavior and frequent noncompliance. Benjamin was diagnosed as having an emotional and behavioral disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He displayed frequent disruptive behaviors and poor task engagement and peer relations.


Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) procedures for both students included direct observations of students and structured interviews with teachers, other school staff, and students. Based on the FBA, researchers hypothesized that problem behavior would decrease and task engagement would increase for both students if they could complete their work in a preferred writing medium. It was also hypothesized that Benjamin’s behavior would improve if his interests were incorporated into his tasks. Art’s FBA-based intervention involved using a preferred writing medium, a portable laptop computer, during journal assignments in which he could write about either a topic provided by the teacher or one of his own choosing. Benjamin’s FBA-based intervention required him to neatly copy four to five sentences from a photocopied handwriting sheet onto a blank sheet of paper. In the intervention condition, the handwriting sheets consisted of copies of pages from a Sega Genesis game booklet. For Benjamin, the study authors also examined another FBA-based intervention that involved giving him the choice of one of three media with which to complete his spelling assignments; the experiment used an ABACDC design for this comparison and does not meet WWC pilot single-case design standards because it did not include at least three attempts to demonstrate an intervention effect at three different points in time.


The study used a reversal-withdrawal design for both students. During the baseline/withdrawal condition, Art used traditional paper and pencil during journal assignments rather than a laptop. Art’s journal assignment required that he write about either a topic provided by the teacher or one of his own choosing. He was required to complete this assignment in a composition notebook. Benjamin was assigned sentences from a handout including topics such as dinosaurs, funny poems, or the solar system for his writing assignments. His daily assignment was to neatly copy four to five sentences from a photocopied handwriting sheet onto a blank sheet of paper. In all other ways, the assignments were identical to those in the intervention condition.

Support for implementation

Not reported.


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