WWC review of this study

The effects of a group-oriented contingency—the Good Behavior Game—on the disruptive behavior of children with developmental disabilities

Patterson, K. B. (2003). (Publication No. 3097200) [Doctoral dissertation, Kent State University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.

  • Single Case Design
    , grades

Reviewed: December 2022

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 download findings data here.

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


The study took place in one self-contained special education classroom in one elementary school in an urban area of the United States.

Study sample

Participants include six students in one classroom that served students in Kindergarten through grade 4 with developmental disabilities. The classroom served students in Kindergarten through grade 4 with developmental disabilities. Most of the students were Black (83%) and 17% were White. All of the students were male and had serious problem behaviors. No other sample characteristics were given.

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 split the class into two teams. Each day, the teacher reminded students of the Good Behavior Game rules, which required students to stay in their seats, remain quiet during assignments, refrain from disturbing others, and raise their hands to ask permission to talk or leave their seats. The teacher then gave teams a tally mark on the board each time they violated one of the rules. At the end of each session, students who were on teams that broke the rules five or less times received a victory tag and star sticker, were allowed to receive lunch five minutes early, had extra recess time, and were allowed to participate in a student activity of their own choice for the last 30 minutes of the school day, such as playing games or listening to music. The teacher led the Good Behavior Game for 30 minutes each day during math period, while students worked independently on math concepts that were introduced during the first 50 minutes of class. This review was not included in the 2023 Good Behavior Game intervention report because it was published outside of the eligible time frame specified in the Systematic Review Protocol for Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Interventions.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. In the baseline and withdrawal phases of the single case designs, the teacher provided typical math instruction.

Support for implementation

The study does not describe implementation support provided to the teacher.


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