WWC review of this study

Improving Student Behavior in Art Classrooms: An Exploratory Study of CW-FIT Tier 1

Nelson, Melanie A.; Caldarella, Paul; Hansen, Blake D.; Graham, Mark A.; Williams, Leslie; Wills, Howard P. (2018). Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, v20 n4 p227-238. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1191271

  • 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 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: 41%
    Male: 59%

  • Suburban
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  • Race
    Other or unknown
    Pacific Islander
  • Ethnicity
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
  • Eligible for Free and Reduced Price Lunch
    Other or unknown    


The study took place in two art classrooms in one Title 1 elementary school in suburban Utah.

Study sample

Participants included 46 students in two art classrooms (Classes 2 and 3) taught by the same teacher. The students were in grades 3 and 5. Across the two classrooms, 35% of students were White, 4% were Asian, 4% were Pacific Islander, and 57% did not report race. Fifty-seven percent were Hispanic or Latino. More than half of the students (59%) were male.

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, the teacher organized each classroom into six teams of three to four students based on their seating assignments. During the first 3 weeks, the teacher taught one social skill lesson each week, focusing on following directions the first time, getting the teacher’s attention the right way, and ignoring other students’ inappropriate behaviors. Each social skill lesson lasted 10 to 15 minutes and included explaining the rationale for the social skill, an explanation of the behaviors needed to demonstrate the skill, and opportunities for role-playing with other students. During the remaining sessions, the teacher briefly reviewed the target skills at the beginning of each period and displayed a poster with the CW-FIT skills. In 3- to 5-minute intervals during each session, the teacher praised teams and gave them a point if all members were demonstrating the target skills. If one or more students in the group were off task, the team received no points. At the end of the class, teams that earned points in 75% to 85% of the intervals received rewards such as candy, pencils, toys, or games. The teacher also implemented a Tier 2 self-management component of CW-FIT with six students who continued to have difficulty using the target skills. These students were asked to record their own behavior, and when the timer vibrated, the teacher instructed the students to evaluate their own behavior and award one point to themselves if they used the target skills. Classroom 2 met once a week for 1 hour, and Classroom 3 met twice a week for 30 minutes.

Comparison Group

There is no comparison group in single case designs. In the baseline and withdrawal phases of the single case designs, the art teacher conducted art class as normal, using classroom management techniques such as assigned seating, expectations related to correct use of art supplies, negative consequences for behavior problems, and reinforcement for appropriate behaviors. Class expectations were displayed on a poster. The teacher gave candy to students who exhibited good behavior and awarded points to classrooms for good behavior, which they could put toward a pizza party. The school was implementing components of schoolwide positive behavior support but did not have a complete program.

Support for implementation

Prior to the study, researchers provided a 2-hour training that consisted of explanations of the major intervention components, including social skills, teams, points, rewards, consequences, and self-management, as well as opportunities to practice implementation and ask questions. The researchers also provided a 30-minute booster training right before CW-FIT implementation began, which included a review of the desired social skills, praise, and reward options. The researchers were present during initial CW-FIT sessions to ensure implementation fidelity and help answer any questions. Over the course of the study, the teacher also had brief consultations with researchers totaling approximately 10-15 minutes.


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