WWC review of this study

The Good Behavior Game with Students in Alternative Educational Environments: Interactions between Reinforcement Criteria and Scoring Accuracy

Sy, Jolene R.; Gratz, Olivia; Donaldson, Jeanne M. (2016). Journal of Behavioral Education, v25 n4 p455-477. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1120262

  • Single Case Design
    , grades

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.

  • Female: 12%
    Male: 88%
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • Ethnicity
    Other or unknown    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


This study took place in an alternative educational placement school in one classroom that served nine students in kindergarten to grade 2.

Study sample

This review focuses on the reversal-withdrawal single case design for one classroom (Classroom B). Participants included nine students in kindergarten to grade 2 within one special education classroom taught by two teachers. At the start of the study, students in the class were diagnosed with emotional disturbance (45%), other health impairments (33%), a learning disability (11%), and intellectual disabilities (11%). Class composition changed over the course of the evaluation and, by the end of the evaluation, students in the classroom were diagnosed with emotional disturbance (88%) and other health impairments (12%). Most students (88%) were male. The study reported no 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, Good Behavior Game took place during reading or math instruction. The teacher divided students into two teams and displayed the team names and members on a board in front of the classroom. Before each intervention session, the teacher reminded the students of the rules and that the team would receive a point each time a team member displayed a negative or disruptive behavior. Both teams could win if each team scored below the maximum point criterion determined by the teacher or researcher before the session. The students on the winning teams could select rewards from a treasure chest that contained candy and small toys. Students could also choose to have extra time at recess or spend time playing games or watching videos. Sessions alternated daily between teacher- and experimenter-implemented sessions. The implementer recorded points on the board at the front of the classroom. Implementers sometimes also told the team they would receive a point and explained why. At the end of each session, teachers announced the winners and distributed rewards. To receive a reward, a student had to be present during at least half of the game.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. In the baseline and withdrawal phases of the single case design for Classroom B, the teacher instructed the classroom as usual, during reading or math instruction. Sessions took place during group instruction periods that occurred once per day and lasted for an average of 23 minutes. Students were expected to either sit at their desks or on the center carpet during story time. The teachers delivered inconsistent responses to student problem behavior, including vocal redirecting, ignoring, reprimanding, or bringing the student into the hall to talk. The observers sat in the back of the classroom and did not interfere with the classroom activities.

Support for implementation

Before the start of the Good Behavior Game sessions, the experimenters met with the teachers for about an hour to explain the components of the game and provide research support, including the advantages of using the intervention. They showed the teachers how to set up the game, answered questions, and provided references to empirical articles and notes. The experimenters also provided feedback to the teachers after the first session.


Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

back to top