WWC review of this study

Effects of the Good Behavior Game on individual student behavior

Donaldson, J. M., Fisher, A. B., & Kahng, S. (2017). Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 17(3), 207–216. https://doi.org/10.1037/bar0000016.

  • Single Case Design
    , grades

Reviewed: January 2023

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
Meets WWC standards without reservations

To view more detailed information about the study findings from this review, please see Good Behavior Game Intervention Report (516 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.

  • Female: 64%
    Male: 36%

  • Urban
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  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Other or unknown    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


The study took place in one large, urban, public school in Maryland. Students were from two Kindergarten classrooms and one first grade classroom.

Study sample

This review focuses on the reversal-withdrawal single case designs for 11 focal students who teachers identified based on their disruptive behavior. The students were from two Kindergarten classrooms and one grade 1 classroom. About 64% of the study participants were female. The study did not report other demographic information.

Intervention Group

The Good Behavior Game is a classroom management strategy that promotes students collaborating together to create a positive learning environment. Students are placed into teams and are rewarded for demonstrating appropriate behaviors and not violating classroom rules. In this study, Good Behavior Game sessions took place during whole-group instruction focused on math, reading, and other literacy skills, while students sat on a large carpet. The researcher implemented Good Behavior Game during the first several sessions and the teacher delivered the whole-group instruction. After observing the first several sessions, the teacher then implemented the game while delivering the whole-group instruction. Before each session began, the teacher or researcher would divide the class into teams and review the rules of the game and criterion for winning. During the session, the teacher would record a tally on the board at the front of the classroom each time a team member engaged in disruptive behavior and would verbally state the rule the student broke. The teacher counted the tallies at the end of the game and rewarded the winning team(s). All teams could win if they did not exceed the maximum number of tallies. If all teams exceeded the maximum, then the team with the fewest tallies would win. Winning teams earned two points in the existing classroom token system and received a special cheer. Students could exchange points for access to special toys; lunch with the teacher; high fives or hugs; or prizes such as stickers, pencils, or gold medals. One to three sessions were conducted each day, 2 to 3 days per week. Sessions varied in length, depending on the duration of whole-group instruction, but averaged about 12 minutes each.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. Baseline and withdrawal sessions of the single case designs took place during whole group instruction focused on math, reading, and other literacy skills, while students were sitting on a large carpet. Teachers instructed class as they normally would and enforced existing classroom rules, such as requiring students to sit on their designated spot on the carpet, raise their hands before talking or getting up, and to pay attention. Teachers did not go over classroom rules at the beginning of sessions, but they did remind students of the rules if violations occurred during the session. During the baseline sessions, the researchers observed and recorded data. One to three sessions were conducted each day, two to three days per week, and lasted an average of 12 minutes.

Support for implementation

The researcher modeled the Good Behavior Game during the first several sessions so teachers could implement it properly. The study manuscript does not describe other training or supports that teachers may have received.


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