WWC review of this study

An evaluation of the Good Behavior Game in a high school special education setting

Johnson, M.D. (2015). (Publication No. 3714080) [Doctoral dissertation, The University of South Dakota]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

  • 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%

  • Urban
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  • Race
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    No FRPL    


The study took place in one public high school in a midwestern city in a classroom offering Tier 2 services for students with emotional and behavioral problems.

Study sample

This review focuses on the reversal-withdrawal single case design for one focal student, "Student #1," in one classroom. The student had an emotional and behavioral disorder and exhibited attention problems, behavioral concerns, and difficulties in academics. The student was male, White, 16 years old, and came from a middle to upper-class socioeconomic background.

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. Students in the study classroom received Good Behavior Game over a 6-week period, with each session taking place during a 30-minute lesson when the teacher asked students to write in their journals, discuss the topic with others, listen to their teacher introduce a lesson, and then participate in an assignment. The classroom teacher divided the classroom into two teams based on which students worked best together. The teacher then explained Good Behavior Game and the expected behaviors of students. The teacher observed each team during 3-minute intervals and recorded whether they were on task on a whiteboard in front of the classroom. The entire group had to appear on task to receive a plus (+) sign on the whiteboard; the teacher recorded a minus (–) sign if any member of the group appeared off task. Following each 30-minute session, the team received a reward if they met the expectation for on-task behavior. Rewards included iPod use, computer time, or free time.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. In the baseline and withdrawal phases of the single case design, the teacher used normal classroom procedures and activities, including a token economy system for good behavior that started being implemented at the beginning of the school year and remained active throughout all phases of the study. A paraprofessional administered the token economy system.

Support for implementation

The researcher trained the special education teacher assigned to the study classroom on the implementation of Good Behavior Game and how to measure on-task behavior. An independent observer digitally recorded a sample of classroom sessions to ensure intervention procedures were implemented as intended.


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