Evidence-Based Behavior Interventions to Help Students Succeed

Here are several low intensity, evidence-based behavior interventions to help students participate in positive, productive, and fun learning environments.Teachers, therapists, and parents oftentimes work very hard to create positive, productive, and fun learning environments for our children. Let’s face it – students are not always compliant.  And on occasion, there are students who have behavioral difficulties.  Here are several low intensity, evidence-based behavior interventions that teachers and parents can do to help students succeed.

Offer Behavior-Specific Praise

The first evidence-based behavior intervention is to provide behavior-specific praise.  Work on being very specific when you offer positive feedback during academic and non-academic activities.  For example, “Johnny, I like how you took your time to write your essay neatly” or “Johnny, you did a great job walking in the classroom line without bumping into your friends”.

Try Using a High-Probability to Low-Probability Request

A high-probability request is when you ask students to complete a task that they usually do without any negative behaviors.  The opposite, a low-probability request, is when you ask students to complete a task that often results in challenging or inappropriate behaviors. Try to start with a high-probability request, followed by positive reinforcement after completion of the task.  Then within 10 seconds, try using a low-probability request.

Using Prevention as an Evidence-Based Behavior Intervention

A simple way to avoid negative behaviors is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Of course, this can not be done at all times since students have to participate in certain tasks. You can be aware though of certain situations or circumstances that often result in problem behavior.  Have a plan of action in place to provide students with supports, prompts, and reinforcement for engaging in appropriate behaviors when those situations arise. This will help to prevent negative behaviors before they occur.

Use Active Supervision When Needed

At times, students may require active supervision to prevent problem behaviors or to teach the rules of the classroom or situation at hand.  Teachers, therapists, parents, or other school staff may need to escort or provide assistance for the student to follow the rules until the student can learn to do it independently.

Evidence-Based Behavior Intervention – Offer Choices

Another evidence-based behavior intervention is to offer choices.  Present the students with two or more options to complete a task to help prevent inappropriate behaviors.

Provide Instructional Feedback

Throughout tasks, use instructional feedback with the students to provide specific performance-based information, confirm the students understanding of the tasks and restructure the task if needed.

Teachers, therapists, school staff, and parents can try this evidence-based, effective, low-intensity strategies to support student engagement and reduce challenging behaviors in the classroom.  These are excellent suggestions for tier 1 interventions to help all students succeed.

How to Determine if Evidence-Based Behavior Interventions are Successful?

In order to determine if the interventions are successful, data must be collected.  Data can be collected on how often the positive behaviors or negative behaviors are observed.  Here is a suggested outline for data collection:

  1. Be specific about what you are measuring.
  2. Collect baseline data through observation in the classroom or home.
  3. Provide one behavior intervention at a time.
  4. Collect data again through observation following the intervention.
  5. Analyze the data to determine if positive behaviors increased.

Repeat the process until the positive behaviors increase and continue to focus on those interventions to support the student.

These super easy to use Data Collection for Special Education Templates includes 14 ready-to-go forms to start today collecting data on your students!  

The Data Collection for Special Education Templates will help you get started today collecting qualitative information to make data-driven decisions to help your students succeed. These super easy to use Data Collection for Special Education Templates include 14 ready-to-go forms to start today collecting data on your students!

Reference: Lane, K. L., Menzies, H. M., Ennis, R. P., & Oakes, W. P. (2018). Effective low-intensity strategies to enhance school success: What every educator needs to know. Beyond Behavior27(3), 128-133.