WWC review of this study

Responding to Rule Violations or Rule Following: A Comparison of Two Versions of the Good Behavior Game with Kindergarten Students

Tanol, Gizem; Johnson, LeAnne; McComas, Jennifer; Cote, Erin (2010). Journal of School Psychology, v48 n5 p337-355 Oct 2010. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ895127

  • Single Case Design
    , grade

Reviewed: January 2023

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 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
  • Race
    Native American
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Free or reduced price lunch (FRPL)    
    No FRPL    


The study took place in two Kindergarten classrooms in one public school serving students in pre-Kindergarten through grade 9, in a large metropolitan city.

Study sample

This review focuses on the reversal-withdrawal single case designs for four focal students (Walter, John, Russell, and Viktor) and their two Kindergarten teachers. All four students were male, Native American, and referred to the study by their teachers because of high rates of disruptive behavior. One student was diagnosed with an emotional behavioral disorder and received special education services to address behavior problems. The three other students were at risk for being classified with emotional behavioral disorders. About 93% of students in the school were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

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, teachers used two variations of Good Behavior Game, such that they always used verbal praise to reinforce good behavior, but acknowledged rule violations in only some of the sessions. The researchers randomly assigned which version of Good Behavior Game to use in each phase. The teachers divided their students into teams of five or six students, with the four focal students in the study distributed across the teams. At the beginning of each session, the teacher reviewed the classroom rules, which included staying seated and paying attention to the teacher, and stated the criteria for teams to win a reward at the end of the game. The teacher also displayed a poster displayed that stated the rules. During sessions that included acknowledgement of rule violations, all teams began with four stars on their team poster, and teachers removed stars as rule violations occurred; they also stated the problem behavior to the team and praised the other teams. At the end of the session, students on teams with one or more stars remaining on their team poster received a small reward. During the other sessions, all teams started with a blank team poster, and students earned a star and praise for following the rules. Teams violating the rules did not receive attention and did not earn a star. At the end of each session, the teams with at least three or more stars received a small reward. Teams also received a prize (such as a pencil, eraser, or winner medal) each week when they met the daily criterion for two or more days. All sessions took place during instruction periods when students were seated on a carpet and working with their teachers to identify letters, practice counting, or discuss the daily schedule.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. Before the study, teachers worked with the researcher to identify classroom rules that were important to their behavior management needs. Teachers reviewed the rules with students and instructed their classrooms in their typical manner.

Support for implementation

The study author trained the teachers on Good Behavior Game procedures and provided resources required for implementation, such as timers and posters that displayed the rules. Teachers were also trained how to identify target behaviors, praise rule following, and redirect rule violations. The study author also provided performance feedback to teachers during the Good Behavior Game phases.


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