WWC review of this study

An Evaluation of Interdependent and Independent Group Contingencies during the Good Behavior Game

Groves, Emily A.; Austin, Jennifer L. (2017). Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, v50 n3 p552-566 Sum 2017. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1147515

  • Single Case Design
    , grade
    Not reported

Reviewed: March 2023

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.

  • Male: 100%

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  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


The study took place in one classroom in a specialist school in South Wales, United Kingdom. The school served children with severe emotional and behavior disorders with histories of aggression, property destruction, and excessive classroom disruption.

Study sample

Participants included four focal students from one classroom within one school. The teacher nominated the four students (Rhys, David, Owen, and Thomas) to include in the study based on their high levels of problem behaviors. All four students were male, had severe emotional and behavioral disorders, and were 9 or 10 years old. The authors did not provide further characteristics of the students.

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. This study implemented two versions of Good Behavior Game: group and individual. For the group Good Behavior Game sessions, teachers divided students into two teams based on their seating arrangement, with two focal students on each team for the purposes of collecting study data. Students received points and prizes based on the behavior of all students in their group. For the individual Good Behavior Game sessions, individual students were on their own team and awarded points and prizes based on their own behavior. Before Good Behavior Game sessions, the teacher explained the game and reminded students of three rules: requesting attention appropriately, staying in one’s seat, and staying on task. The teacher displayed the rules on a poster at the front of the classroom. The teacher also drew a mystery number from a bowl that determined the number of good behaviors each team (or individual) had to display to win a reward. The teacher recorded a point on the board at the front of the class every 2 minutes if all children on the team had followed the rules during the 2-minute interval. At the end of each session, the teacher added the points and revealed the mystery number. The teams (or individual students) who received points equal or more than the mystery number would receive a reward, such as a piece of fruit or time to play games, use an iPad, or play outdoors. Teachers conducted the sessions three or four times a week during normal class activities in which they expected students to work independently, such as literacy-based work. Lessons were usually 1 hour in duration, and students played Good Behavior Game during the independent work portion of the lesson, which usually lasted 20 to 30 minutes.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. During the baseline sessions of each alternating treatment design, the teacher used business-as-usual classroom management procedures, such as reminding students to raise their hands before speaking. All children in the class also participated in a school-wide points system. If children earned a certain number of points by the end of the week, they could participate in preferred activities on Friday afternoons. The baseline sessions were conducted three to four times a week during activities in which students were expected to work independently, such as literacy-based work. Lessons were usually 1 hour in duration, and the baseline observation sessions typically lasted 9 to 12 minutes.

Support for implementation

The researcher provided the teacher with a two-hour training, including a description of the game, a step-by-step handout, a model of the game, and a chance to practice through role-playing. The teacher also watched a video of the game being played in other classrooms and took part in a discussion.


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