WWC review of this study

Feasibility of and Teacher Preference for Student-Led Implementation of the Good Behavior Game in Early Elementary Classrooms

Donaldson, Jeanne M.; Matter, Ashley L.; Wiskow, Katie M. (2018). Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, v51 n1 p118-129 Win 2018. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1166843

  • Single Case Design
    , grades

Reviewed: January 2023

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
Meets WWC standards with 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: 42%
    Male: 58%

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


The study took place in four classrooms in one elementary school in rural west Texas.

Study sample

Participants included 53 students in four classrooms in kindergarten and grade 1 at one school. About 58% of the students were male. 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, researchers, teachers, and other students in the class led Good Behavior Game, which varied by session. During each session, the leader reviewed the rules, presented the reward for the day, and divided the class into two teams. The rules required students to remain seated, raise their hands to speak, and keep their hands and feet to themselves. Each time a rule violation occurred, the leader would place a tally mark on a board at the front of the class and state the rule that was violated. After the session ended, the leader asked teams to count their tallies, and the winning team received a reward. Both teams won if they had fewer than five tallies. Otherwise, the team with the fewest tallies won. Sessions lasted 15 to 25 minutes and were conducted once per day for up to 5 days a week during morning whole-group literacy instruction.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. In the baseline and withdrawal phases of the single case design, the teachers instructed their classrooms in the typical manner without using a formal behavior system. Sometimes the teacher stated classroom rules that required students to sit on the carpet with their legs crossed, keep their hands in their laps, and raise their hands to speak or leave their seats. Teachers either ignored, reprimanded, or acknowledged disruptive behavior.

Support for implementation

All of the teachers had previously implemented Good Behavior Game prior to this study, so they did not require additional training. Researchers trained student leaders from the classroom by modeling the Good Behavior Game and providing brief instruction. During the first few student-led phases, a researcher sat next to the student leader and prompted any missed rule violations.


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