WWC review of this study

Implementation of the Good Behavior Game in Classrooms for Children with Delinquent Behavior

Joslyn, P.R., Vollmer, Timothy R., & Hernández, V. (2014). Acta de Investigación Psicológica, 4(3) 1673-1682. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2007-4719(14)70973-1.

  • Single Case Design
    , grades

Reviewed: March 2023

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: 20%
    Male: 80%

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


The study took place in one public alternative elementary school in Florida offering services for children who engage in severe problem behavior.

Study sample

This review focuses on the reversal-withdrawal single case design for one classroom, "Classroom 1." Six to 10 students were in the class throughout the study, though the class size fluctuated throughout sessions due to student absences and new students entering and exiting the study school. All students had severe behavioral problems and were in grades 2 or 3. The study did not provide additional student characteristics separately for this classroom, but across all three classrooms that participated in the study, 80% of students were male, 72% were Black, 24% were White, and 4% were described as biracial.

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, the teacher divided the class into two groups listed on a board at the front of the room, along with Good Behavior Game rules. Before the game started, the researcher reminded the students of the rules, which included remaining seated, not talking without permission, and refraining from touching others. When a student broke a rule, the researcher reminded the class of the rule and added a tally mark next to the team’s name. At the end of the session, the team with fewer tally marks would win the game; both teams could win if they both met a criterion that was at least an 80% reduction in the average frequency of disruptive behavior observed during baseline sessions. Winning teams earned a choice of prizes such as snacks, stickers, pencils, or free time. Sessions took place three to five times a week, for 30 to 60 minutes, during silent work time or group instruction led by the teacher.

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 standard class rules that required students to remain seated, stay quiet unless addressed, and not make physical contact with other students. Teachers sporadically enforced class rules with verbal statements. Sessions took place 3 to 5 times a week, for 30 to 60 minutes, during silent work time or group instruction led by the teacher.

Support for implementation

The researcher implemented Good Behavior Game in the classroom, instead of the teacher. The teacher continued classroom instruction as usual.


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