WWC review of this study

Managing Student Behavior in the Middle Grades Using Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams

Caldarella, Paul; Wills, Howard P.; Anderson, Darlene H.; Williams, Leslie (2019). RMLE Online: Research in Middle Level Education, v42 n7. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1226018

  • Single Case Design
    , grades

Reviewed: February 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 Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT) Intervention Report (289 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: 30%
    Male: 70%

  • Urban
    • B
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    Midwest, West
  • Race
    Other or unknown
  • 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 nine classrooms in five public, Title I schools located in urban areas of the Midwest and western United States.

Study sample

Participants included 20 focal students in grades 6 through 9. Across the focal students, 55% were White, 30% were Black, and 15% were Hispanic or Latino. Seventy percent of the focal students were male. All 20 focal students were identified by their teachers as at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders based on their externalizing or internalizing behavior. Across all five schools, approximately 63% of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The study also provided class-level findings across 234 students in the nine classrooms and teacher-level findings for nine teachers.

Intervention Group

Class-Wide Function-Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT) is a classroom management system designed to improve student behavior. The program includes establishing classroom rules and appropriate behaviors, playing a team-based game to reinforce appropriate behaviors, minimizing social attention to inappropriate behaviors, and providing self-management tools to individual students who need extra support. In this study, CW-FIT was implemented during the class period teachers identified as having the most challenging student behavior and included periods with instruction in social studies, language arts, math, and science. Prior to implementing CW-FIT, teachers shared CW-FIT target skills and classroom expectations with students during 10-minute lessons, which included following directions, listening to the teacher, staying on task, collaborating with peers, and showing respect to others. Teachers also posted the expectations in their classrooms so all students could see them. Teachers then organized students into teams of three to five students and explained that teams could earn points and rewards if they demonstrated the expected behaviors. Teachers told students the daily point goal, observed teams in 5-minute intervals, and awarded points to teams that demonstrated expected behaviors during the interval. They praised good behavior and reminded the teams that did not earn points about the expectations for behavior. The teachers tallied points at the end of each class period, and teams that met the daily point goal received a group reward, such as school supplies, snacks, or free time.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. In the baseline and withdrawal phases of the single case designs, teachers instructed their students as they normally would.

Support for implementation

Researchers trained teachers on CW-FIT procedures during one 60-minute session or in two 30-minute sessions. Training consisted of a presentation with embedded video clips of CW-FIT implementation in other middle school classrooms and emphasized providing behavior specific praise. Researchers also provided teachers a copy of the procedural fidelity checklist and offered coaching and modeling. Researchers continued to provide feedback and support throughout the intervention sessions.


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