Comprehensive Behavior Management: Individualized, Classroom, and Schoolwide Approaches


Ronald C. Martella, J. Ron Nelson, Nancy E. Marchand-Martella & Mark O'Reilly

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    One of the most critical issues facing teachers and related-services personnel today is behavior management. Behavior management consistently ranks as the most concerning issue in surveys completed by school personnel. Unfortunately, most do not feel well equipped to deal with the multitude of behavior problems they see every day in the schools. We wrote this textbook with these individuals in mind. It is critical for teachers and related personnel to receive high-quality training in behavior management; a solid textbook written by experts in the field that incorporates evidence-based best practices is an important foundational aspect of this training.

    This textbook is designed differently from other management texts. We wrote this textbook to aid teachers and related-services personnel in the planning processes that must take place when preventing or responding to behavior management issues. We see this planning as occurring across three levels of support—individualized, classroom, and schoolwide. Other textbooks do not provide the balanced coverage of these levels of support as is done in this text. For example, many textbooks provide extensive coverage of classroom management supports but provide little, if any, coverage of schoolwide or individualized supports. Other texts provide extensive coverage of individualized supports but provide little, if any, coverage of schoolwide and classroom supports. Therefore, our goal is to provide extensive coverage of all three levels of support to help teachers and related-services personnel to plan for and respond to behavior management issues effectively.

    This textbook can be used with undergraduate or graduate students in general education, special education, and educational and school psychology. Instructors teaching courses on behavior management, the principles of behavior, applied learning theory, and the classroom applications of educational psychology will find this textbook helpful.

    Additionally, consultants and administrators can use this textbook as a foundational text for those receiving inservice training on individualized, classroom, and schoolwide support planning. Target audiences include teachers and related-services personnel (e.g., school psychologists, counselors, social workers, behavior specialists, and instructional assistants).

    Major Features and Pedagogical Aides

    There are several major features of this textbook.

    • First, important aspects of behavior management (i.e., working with parents and families, ethics and the law, diversity, and data collection) are infused in chapters throughout the book.
    • Second, every chapter includes objectives that provide a clear overview of what will be covered in the chapter.
    • Third, all chapters have a vignette at the beginning that highlights an important issue covered in the chapter. This vignette is revisited at the end, showing how the issue was addressed.
    • Fourth, chapter headings are phrased as questions to facilitate easier note taking and discussion.
    • Fifth, several tables and figures are evident in every chapter to aid in the understanding of key concepts.
    • Sixth, discussion questions are found at the end of each chapter to test student understanding of the content. Answers to these questions are provided in the instructor's manual.
    • Finally, an extensive index and glossary are included to aid in the location and definition of key terms.
    Changes Made from the First Edition

    We made several changes and additions to this second edition.

    Changes Throughout the Book

    First, we added a new author, Dr. Mark O'Reilly, from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. O'Reilly brings specific expertise in individualized behavior management approaches including functional behavior assessments and behavior support plans. He also has a long and successful record in applied behavior analysis.

    Second, we changed the title of the textbook to reflect the trend of addressing behavior management support as a comprehensive issue rather than an individual one. This comprehensive approach incorporates individual, classroom (including instructional), and schoolwide supports (including those for nonclassroom settings such as the cafeteria, playground, and hallways).

    Third, the sequence of the chapters was changed to reflect how the material is most frequently taught in college classes. In the current edition, the chapter sequence in Part I remains the same. In Part II, individualized supports are described (this content was covered in Part IV of the first edition). Classroom supports continue to be addressed in Part III. Part IV contains information on schoolwide supports (this information was covered in Part II in the first edition). Finally, the term supports replaces organizational systems in the title of chapters to better reflect current terminology in the field.

    Finally, all chapters were updated with current research, corresponding citations, additional tables and figures, and rewritten pedagogical features.

    Chapter-Specific Changes

    Significant changes were made to several chapters.

    • Chapter 1. New information was added to this chapter on the best practices in behavior management, and the section on ethics was expanded to include a statement on seclusion and restraint.
    • Chapter 5. Discussion of preference and choice, as well as of prompting strategies related to behavior issues, was added to this chapter.
    • Chapter 7. The material from the Think Time® chapter (Chapter 8) in the first edition was edited and integrated into this chapter.
    • Chapter 10. Information on the “school evaluation rubric” was removed and coverage of the School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET) and the Benchmarks for Advanced Tiers (BAT) was added to this chapter.
    • Chapter 11. This chapter was previously Chapter 5 in the first edition, and was rewritten to focus on what makes a program evidence based. It now includes coverage of the criteria for being defined as an evidence-based intervention and how schools assess the magnitude of the effects of an intervention.
    • Chapter 12. This new chapter provides coverage of the response to intervention (RTI) approach and how to integrate multitiered intervention models such as RTI with the schoolwide positive behavior intervention and support model (SWPBIS).
    Ancillaries for Instructors

    Additional ancillary materials further support and enhance the learning goals of the second edition of Comprehensive Behavior Management: Individualized, Classroom, and Schoolwide. These ancillary materials include the following:

    Password Protected Instructor Teaching Site

    This password-protected site ( offers instructors a variety of resources that supplement the book material, including the following:

    • Test Bank (Word): This Word test bank offers a diverse set of test questions and answers for each chapter of the book. Multiple-choice and short-answer/essay questions for every chapter help instructors assess students' progress and understanding.
    • PowerPoint Slides: Chapter-specific slide presentations offer assistance with lecture and review preparation by highlighting essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
    • SAGE Journal Articles: A “Learning From SAGE Journal Articles” feature provides access to recent, relevant full-text articles from SAGE's leading research journals. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides discussion questions to focus and guide student interpretation.
    • Web Resources: These links to relevant websites direct instructors to additional resources for further research on important chapter topics.
    • Lecture Notes: These lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help instructors prepare for lectures and class discussions.
    • Answers to In-Text Questions: The site provides answers to the chapter discussion questions found at the end of each chapter.
    • Course Syllabi: Sample syllabi—for semester, quarter, and online classes—provide suggested models for instructors to use when creating the syllabi for their courses.

    We believe the changes and additions made to this second edition have significantly improved the quality of the textbook. We are confident the new information will be regarded as an important addition to the understanding of comprehensive and evidence-based behavior management supports.

    SAGE would like to gratefully acknowledge the following peer reviewers for their editorial insight and guidance:

    • Robert L. Michels
    • Santa Clara University
    • Su-Je Cho
    • Fordham University
    • Graduate School of Education
    • Judith E. Terpstra
    • Southern Connecticut State University
    • DeAnn Lechtenberger
    • Texas Tech University
    • Suzanne McQuillan Jimenez
    • George Mason University
    • Karen Coughenour
    • Francis Marion University
    • Gholam Kibria
    • Delaware State University


    We dedicate this book to our families. Further, to complete this textbook, several individuals were involved. We would like to thank all those at Sage for their continued support in the entirety of the project, especially Diane McDaniel, without whom this project would not have come to fruition. We would like to thank Karen E. Taylor for her excellent editorial work. To the students who helped with tasks associated with the production of this text—Crosby Wilson and Alana Neis—we extend our sincere thanks. And finally, we wish to thank the reviewers who provided invaluable feedback and suggestions to help us produce a better product.

  • Glossary

    A-B design: Single-case design that combines the “A” condition or baseline/pre-intervention measurements with a “B” condition to determine the effectiveness of an intervention.

    A-B-A design: (See Withdrawal design).

    A-B-A-B design: Single-case design that combines the “A” condition or baseline/pre-intervention measurements with a “B” condition or intervention to determine the effectiveness of the intervention; the “B” condition is followed by a second “A” condition and ends with a return to the intervention (“B” condition).

    A-B-C analysis: Observation of a student during normal activities when a specific behavior is most likely to happen.

    Abolishing operation: Environmental event that decreases the reinforcing value of something.

    Academic functional assessment: Assessment conducted to help determine the function or purpose of a student's behavior as it relates to his or her academic performance.

    Academic learning time: Amount of time students spend engaged in learning activities and being successful.

    Academic support system: Integration of evidence-based academic skill support practices and interventions in three key skill areas (i.e., beginning reading, language, and mathematics) at the secondary and tertiary levels of intervention.

    Acquisition stage: First stage of learning; it is the entry point when learning a skill.

    Adaptation stage: Students learn to categorize, make decisions, see relationships/analogies, analyze, estimate, compare/contrast, show flexibility, and identify items that are irrelevant.

    Allocated time: Amount of time a teacher or school delegates for content/subject area.

    Alterable variable: Things that affect student achievement that we can change, such as teaching skills, the quantity of teacher-to-student interactions, and the use of instructional time.

    Alternating treatments design: Single-case design having as its main purpose making comparisons between or among two or more conditions or interventions such as baseline and interventions or multiple interventions.

    Antecedent: Something that occurs just before a behavior.

    Antecedent prompt and fade: Providing a more intrusive prompt on initial instructional trials and then removing the prompt in a systematic manner.

    Antecedent prompt and test: Prompting students during instruction and then providing them with practice or test trials after removing all prompts.

    Antiseptic bounding: Quiet reflective period in which everyone disengages from a student.

    Antisocial behavior: Behavior that violates socially prescribed norms or patterns of behavior.

    Applied behavior analysis (ABA): Behavioral model based on the understanding that the environment causes many of our behaviors to occur; the study of how the environment affects our behavior and how changing these environmental events will lead to behavior change.

    Appropriate error corrections: (See Error correction procedures).

    Appropriate instructions: Statements that state the command succinctly without phrasing it as a question; specify a desired motoric or verbal response; use a neutral or positive/pleasant tone of voice; and have a time delay of 5 seconds between commands, as opposed to rapidly repeating the command several times.

    Arbitrary consequences: Consequences that are not aligned with the offense.

    Available time: The amount of time available for instruction.

    Aversive: Anything that results in an escape or avoidance response.

    Avoidance conditioning: Negative reinforcement procedure in which an aversive is prevented from occurring only when the student acts a certain way.

    Avoidance response: Response that allows for the removal or delay of something aversive.

    Backward chaining: Teaching the final step in the chain until it is mastered, then teaching the next to the last step together with the final step, and so on.

    Baseline: The “A” condition in single-case designs; the level at which the participant performs a behavior without the intervention; the repeated measurement of a behavior under natural conditions.

    Behavior: Act that can be clearly defined and observed.

    Behavior-based time-out: Removing the source of reinforcement until the student is calm and ready to rejoin the group.

    Behavior intervention plan (BIP): (See Behavior support plan).

    Behavior support plan: Written document describing the environmental changes that will need to take place to bring about changes in a wanted or an unwanted behavior.

    Behavior support team: Collaborative team comprised of teachers, administrators, and support staff who possess the knowledge and competencies necessary to address complex student problems by analyzing and designing interventions and supports to improve student outcomes.

    Behavioral contract: Contract that specifies what both the teacher and the student must do; involves three main components: the task, the reward, and the task record.

    Behavioral debriefing: Self-evaluation of the student's behavior.

    Behavioral deficiency: Behavior that does not occur enough.

    Behavioral excess: Behavior that occurs too often.

    Behavioral model: Position that assumes human behavior is determined by a person's interaction with his or her environment, which includes the physical setting and the social surroundings; this position is a firmly grounded scientific approach.

    Behavioral momentum: Desired behaviors are more likely to occur if preceded by reinforcement for other behaviors; used to increase the likelihood of compliance.

    Behavioral objectives: Specific statements about student performance typically including information about the conditions under which a student will perform the behavior, the behavior (in observable terms), and criteria under which the student will display the behavior.

    Behavioral trapping: Involves the maintenance of a behavior by normally occurring reinforcers.

    Benchmarks for Advanced Tiers (BAT): Self-assessment with 56 items organized into 10 subscales developed by Anderson et al. (2009) to measure the implementation status of secondary- and tertiary-level behavior support systems.

    Big ideas: Underlying concepts or skills that allow students to apply or generalize what they learn.

    Chain stopping: Breaking a chain of responses by intervening at one of the earlier links.

    Chaining: Putting individual behaviors together to form a more complex behavior.

    Changing-criterion design: Single-case design that looks like an A-B design but includes “phase” lines (i.e., changes within the intervention condition); a criterion is established within each phase to reduce or increase some dependent variable in a stepwise manner.

    Character education: Focused work on teaching students respect, being fair and trustworthy, caring for others, being responsible, and being better citizens.

    Checklist: Indirect assessment by caregivers, such as parents, or teachers who check off possible antecedents and consequences the students may be exposed to when specific behaviors occur.

    Chemical restraint: Using medication to control behavior or to restrict movement.

    Classroom organizational system: Instructional settings in which teachers supervise and teach groups of students.

    Classroom structure: Seating arrangements, rules, and routines present in the classroom.

    Cognitive theory: Position that internal mental processes can cause external behavior to occur. Internal processes transform environmental stimuli; this transformation determines the behavior the individual will emit. Therefore, internal mental events can be considered independent variables.

    Condition: Description of the context under which the target behavior is measured.

    Conditional threat: Threat that warns that a violent act will happen unless a demand or set of demands is met.

    Conditioned aversive: (See Secondary aversive).

    Conditioned positive reinforcer: (See Secondary positive reinforcer).

    Consequence: Something that occurs just after a behavior.

    Conspicuous strategy: Explicit teaching strategy that ensures student mastery of skills.

    Constant time delay: Providing a set amount of time between two prompts on subsequent learning trials.

    Contextual stimulus: (See Setting event).

    Contingency contract: (See Behavioral contract).

    Contingent exertion: Exercise; refers to having a student do some physically exerting behavior as punishment for an unwanted behavior.

    Continuous reinforcement schedule: Reinforcement for each behavior a student displays.

    Contrived reinforcers: Reinforcers that are not typically used in a particular setting, such as paying a student for good grades.

    Correspondence training: Teaching students how to report on what they have done or will do accurately.

    Criterion: Minimum level required for acceptable performance.

    Curriculum-based measurement (CBM):

    Standardized method teachers use to assess how students are progressing in basic academic areas such as math, reading, writing, and spelling.

    Curriculum pacing: Rate at which students progress through the curricula or program used in the classroom.

    Dead man's test: Term that refers to a problematic definition of behavior and to the reinforcement of a lack of behavior on the part of an individual: “if a dead man can do it, it's not behavior.”

    Deductive criminal profiling: Interpreting forensic evidence from a crime or crime scene after it has occurred to reconstruct behavior patterns and deduce offender characteristics, demographics, emotions, and motivations.

    Dependent group management: Providing consequences to the group based on the behavior of a selected group member or a small number of members of a larger group.

    Dependent variable: Behavior that is changed when the independent variable is manipulated.

    Deprivation: Increase in the reinforcing value of something due to a lack of it.

    Descriptive analyses: Direct assessments or observations of the unwanted and wanted behaviors under naturalistic conditions.

    Differential reinforcement: Involves reinforcing a behavior in the presence of something, while not reinforcing in the presence of something else.

    Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA): Involves reinforcing a more appropriate form of an unwanted behavior.

    Differential reinforcement of incompatible behavior (DRI): Involves reinforcing a behavior that is topographically incompatible or opposite with the behavior targeted for reduction.

    Differential reinforcement of low-rate behavior (DRL): Method used to reduce but not totally eliminate a behavior.

    Differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO): Time-based reinforcement schedule in which reinforcement is provided if unwanted behavior has not occurred within an established time period; also called differential reinforcement of zero rates of behavior and omission training.

    Differential reinforcement of zero rates of behavior (DRO): (See Differential reinforcement of other behavior).

    Differentiated instruction: Adjusting instruction to meet the unique needs of students.

    Direct instruction: Showing students how to act and then giving them opportunities to practice the skills they learned; differs from Direct Instruction, which is a published series of programs.

    Direct Instruction: Comprehensive system of instruction that focuses on active student involvement, mastery of skills, empirically validated curricula, and teacher-directed activities.

    Direct threat: Threat that identifies a specific act against a specific target that is delivered in a straightforward, clear, and explicit manner.

    Discipline: Methods to prevent or respond to behavior problems so they do not occur in the future; training to act in accordance with rules, as well as instruction and exercises designed to train proper conduct or action; behavior in accord with rules of conduct; a set or system of rules and regulations.

    Discriminative stimulus (SD): Signal indicating a response in its presence was reinforced in the past and will likely result in a reinforcer in the future.

    Dual stimulus function: Each link serves as an SD for the next link and as a conditioned reinforcer for the previous link.

    Duration recording: Measurement of the time a response or behavior lasts.

    Effect size: Quantification of the difference between the experimental and control/comparison groups in experimental studies; provides a measure of intervention strength, a summary when visual judgments do not agree, and a method for comparing relative intervention success across single-case studies.

    Engaged time: Amount of time students are on task or actively engaged in learning activities.

    Error correction procedures: Providing an effective model, a lead, a test, and a delayed test.

    Escape conditioning: Negative reinforcement procedure in which an ongoing aversive is removed only if the student behaves appropriately.

    Establishing operation: Environment event that increases the value of something as a reinforcer.

    Event recording: Tallying occurrences to establish a numerical dimension of a behavior.

    Evidence-based research: Research that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to educational activities and programs.

    Exclusionary time-out: Temporary removal of the source of reinforcement contingent on an unwanted behavior by removing the student from the group or environment.

    External validity: Asks this question: “What is the generalizability of these techniques?”

    Externalizing behaviors: Behaviors directed outwardly by the student toward the external social environment.

    Extinction: Permanent removal of the source of reinforcement for a behavior.

    Extinction burst: Rapid increase in the frequency, duration, or intensity of an unwanted behavior during the extinction process.

    Extrinsic reward: Something given to reward a student such as praise, tokens, stickers, or candy.

    Fact-based threat assessment: Approach to evaluate the likelihood that students will actually carry out a threat; used to make an informed judgment on how credible and serious the threat is.

    Fair-pair rule: Teaching a wanted behavior to take the place of an unwanted behavior.

    Family dynamics: Patterns of behaviors, relationships, thinking, beliefs, traditions, and family crises that make up the way a family exists together.

    First-time corrects: Counting the number of tasks in which students provide responses and the number of times students respond correctly and then dividing the correct responses by the total responses, multiplying by 100 to get a percentage.

    Fixed-interval DRO: Reinforcing a student if he or she refrains from the unwanted behavior for the entire interval.

    Fixed-interval schedule of reinforcement:

    Reinforcement of the first response after a set time has elapsed.

    Fixed-momentary DRO: Reinforcing a student at the end of a fixed time period for each interval.

    Fixed-ratio one (FR-1): (See Continuous reinforcement schedule).

    Fixed-ratio schedule of reinforcement:

    Reinforcement of a certain number of responses; the last response in a series of responses is reinforced.

    Flexible skill grouping: Grouping students according to skill; however, students can move into other groups depending on their skill performance.

    Forward chaining: Teaching the first step in a chain of behaviors until it is mastered, then teaching the first and second steps together until they are mastered, and so on.

    Four-term contingency: Addition of a setting event prior to the antecedent, behavior, and consequence in a three-term contingency.

    Frequency recording: (See Event recording).

    Functional analysis: Quantitative direct observation of behavior under preselected and controlled conditions.

    Functional Analysis Screening Tool (FAST):

    18-item rating scale in which a “yes” or “no” is used to determine if an item statement accurately describes the student's unwanted behavior; developed by Iwata and DeLeon (1996).

    Functional behavior assessment (FBA):

    Assessment that is used to determine the environmental functions of wanted and unwanted behaviors.

    Functional relationship: Interaction between behavior and consequences.

    Funding capacity: Fiscal resources available to implement interventions.

    Generalization stage: Occurs when students use their newly learned skills in novel situations.

    Generalized reinforcer: Reinforcer paired with several other reinforcers (both primary and secondary); not dependent on the same reinforcer used for conditioning.

    Goal: Broad statement of what is to be accomplished by the end of an academic term; also termed a long-term objective.

    Goal setting: Establishment of performance criteria and the identification and use of solutions to meet an established goal.

    Graduated guidance: Similar to the most-to-least prompting procedure except it involves more of a fluid movement from the highest level of prompt to the lowest level.

    Grandma's rule: (See Premack principle).

    Group alerting: Making sure students are paying attention and then providing them with specific instruction on what they are supposed to do at any one time.

    Group-oriented management approaches:

    Providing consequences based on the behavior of one member of a group, a small number of students within the group, or all members of the group.

    Guided practice: Teacher actively participates in the learning with the students.

    Guided rehearsal: (See Guided practice).

    High-level threat: Threat whose contents suggest students are likely to carry it out.

    High-probability response sequence: (See Behavioral momentum).

    Human capacity: Staff and volunteers who are currently available or could be available to implement the interventions.

    Incidental teaching: (See Training loosely).

    Independent group management: Having the same response requirements for each student while providing individual consequences based on the behavior of each student.

    Independent practice: Students complete work on their own after an 80% success rate is achieved on guided practice; examples are cooperative learning and homework.

    Independent variable: Something under teacher control that is being manipulated in order to change a behavior.

    Indirect assessment: Involves gaining information from other sources rather than a first-hand analysis of the environmental events.

    Indirect threat: Threat that is vague, unclear, and ambiguous; the plan is expressed tentatively.

    Individual organizational system: Specific supports for students who are at risk of or are experiencing learning and behavioral difficulties.

    Inductive criminal profiling: Looking for patterns in the present data to induce possible outcomes; strategy used to predict behavior and intervene before potential offenders commit a crime.

    Informal procedure: Procedure that does not require explicit behavior management plans.

    Instructional momentum: The movement of students quickly and successfully through the curriculum.

    Interdependent group management: Treating a group of students as a single individual; setting the same response requirements for all group members; delivering consequences based on the performance of all members of the group.

    Intermittent reinforcement schedule: Reinforcement given on a periodic basis following student behaviors; consists of fixed-interval, variable-interval, fixed-ratio, and variable-ratio reinforcement.

    Internal validity: Addresses this question: “Did the independent variable make the difference or was the change due to something else?”

    Internalizing behaviors: Behaviors directed inwardly and representing problems with self.

    Interobserver agreement: Percentage of agreement between two or more persons concurrently observing a behavior.

    Interresponse time (IRT): The time period between responses.

    Interspersed requests: (See Behavioral momentum).

    Interval recording: Provides an estimate of the percentage of intervals in which a behavior occurred; involves dividing observational periods into units of time.

    Intervention: Specific set of procedures or practices and associated materials developed to prevent or remediate learning and behavior difficulties.

    Intervention condition: The period when the behavior support plan is in effect.

    Interview assessment: Method used to determine the source of reinforcement for a behavior by asking people in the student's life what they think the likely function of the challenging behavior is.

    Intrinsic reward: Some rewarding thing that occurs inside the individual, such as pride, interest, and self-esteem.

    Intrusiveness: Involves the extent to which behavioral interventions infringe on a person's bodily or personal rights.

    Judicious review: Sequence and schedule of opportunities for students to apply and develop fluency with newly acquired skills.

    Latency recording: Involves recording the time from a specified event to the start of the targeted behavior or the completion of the response.

    Law of Effect: States that, when a behavior is reinforced, the behavior is more likely to occur in the future, and, when a behavior is not reinforced, it will extinguish.

    Leadership organizational system: System in which the school's role is key in developing a leadership team that implements a continual strategic planning process to achieve a safe and disciplined school environment maximizing student learning.

    Least-to-most prompting: Increasing assistance when a student does not perform a behavior.

    Lesson pacing: Pace at which teachers conduct individual or daily lessons.

    Level I procedure: Least restrictive approach aimed at reducing unwanted behavior; systematically planned and implemented.

    Level II procedure: Second least restrictive approach aimed at reducing unwanted behavior; involves the removal of the source of reinforcement.

    Level III procedure: More restrictive and aversive approach that involves the contingent removal of something reinforcing.

    Level IV procedure: Approach with the highest level of restrictiveness; involves the use of something aversive.

    Limited-responding DRL: Reinforcement is presented if a certain number of behaviors or fewer is emitted.

    Logical consequences: Consequences that are connected in some manner with the behavior.

    Low-level threat: Threat whose contents suggest students are unlikely to carry it out.

    Maintenance: The endurance of a behavior after the intervention has been removed.

    Maintenance stage: Periodic practice and review of the skill to ensure that students maintain skill mastery over time.

    Mastery: Performing skills at high, successful levels.

    Mechanical restraint: Using a device or object to limit bodily movement.

    Mediated scaffolding: Adjustments to the level of instruction provided students as they move through material enabling them to bridge the gap between current skill level and the goal of instruction.

    Medium-level threat: Threat whose contents suggest students could carry it out but that does not appear entirely realistic.

    Minimal intervention: (See Training loosely).

    Modeling: Showing students how to do the skill.

    Moment of transfer: Point at which the prompt to which you want the student to respond gains stimulus control.

    Momentary DRO: Observing the student at the end of a stated time period to see if the misbehavior is occurring.

    Momentary time sampling: Procedure to record behavior only if it is occurring at the end of a specified time interval.

    Momentum: Movement through lessons, including beginning lessons immediately after the start of class.

    Most-to-least prompting: Progressively decreasing assistance to a student in a progressive fashion and creating a prompt hierarchy.

    Motivating operations: Environmental variables that change the reinforcing value of something.

    Motivation (violence): Reason behind the threat.

    Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS): 16-item rating scale developed by Durand and Crimmins (1987); requires a specific description of the challenging behaviors and a description of the settings in which they occur.

    Multiple-baseline design: Single-case design that involves a series of staggered A-B designs; includes the placement of individual graphs on top of each other; can be used across participants, behaviors, or settings.

    Multiple-baseline design across behaviors:

    Single-case design involving a series of staggered A-B designs that requires at least two separate behaviors, which are independent of one another.

    Multiple-baseline design across settings:

    Single-case design involving a series of staggered A-B designs that requires behavior measurement in two or more set tings.

    Multiple-baseline design across students:

    Single-case design involving a series of staggered A-B designs that requires two or more students.

    Multiple-gating procedure: Series of assessments designed to screen out, in a systematic fashion, students with or at risk of learning or behavior problems.

    Multiple-probe design: Single-case design that is essentially a multiple-baseline design in which the measurements are not conducted on a frequent basis; overcomes the problem of using repeated measurements by probing (assessing) the behavior every so often; probes are also used in assessing generalization and maintenance of intervention effects.

    Natural consequences: Consequences that normally occur without any teacher intervention.

    Natural reinforcers: Reinforcers that are typically used in a certain environment, such as providing grades for good performance in school.

    Naturalistic teaching: (See Training loosely).

    Negative practice: Requires the repetition of the unwanted behavior to punish or to satiate students with that behavior.

    Negative punishment: Removal of something reinforcing contingent on a behavior that results in a decrease in the future likelihood of the behavior.

    Negative reinforcement: Removal of something aversive contingent on the occurrence of a behavior that results in an increase in the future likelihood of the behavior.

    Negative scanning: Trying to find students misbehaving.

    Negative trap: Provision of punishment techniques in such a manner that the negative interactions escalate.

    Nonalterable variable: Something that affects student achievement that we cannot change, such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and home background.

    Nonclassroom organizational system: Organizational structure at particular times or in particular places where supervision is emphasized in a school setting outside of the classroom, such as hallways, cafeteria, playground, and bus.

    Nonexclusionary time-out: Temporary removal of the source of reinforcement contingent on an unwanted behavior without removing the student from the group or environment.

    Nonintensive teaching: (See Training loosely).

    Objective: (See Behavioral objectives).

    Observation form: Descriptive analysis that structures the observation into a checklist format with operational definitions of each of the target behaviors.

    Observer drift: Occurs when observers change the way they employ the definition of behavior over the course of a study.

    Observer expectations: Expectations of the observers that can influence what is observed.

    Omission training: (See Differential reinforcement of other behavior).

    Operational definition (for a program): Specific elements of the intervention can be observed and counted.

    Outcome evaluation: Assessment of whether or not interventions are effective and meet the established goals.

    Overcorrection: Aversive procedures aimed at decreasing unwanted behaviors by requiring the student to engage in a behavior that is related to correcting the damage caused by the unwanted behavior.

    Overlapping: Teachers control or have an influence over several activities that overlap.

    Partial-interval recording: Procedure used to record a behavior if it occurs at any point within a specified time interval.

    Pause and punch: Vocal variation in timing and then in tone, loudness, or pitch that provides additional information to students, such as the emphasis of a particular word.

    Performance contingent: Providing external reinforcers if students have met a predetermined performance criterion.

    Permanent product recording: Involves the teacher observing the enduring product or outcome of a student's behavior (e.g., worksheet completion, written spelling words).

    Personality: Pattern of traits or behaviors that characterize individual students.

    Physical capacity: Setting selected in which the interventions will occur.

    Physical restraint: Restricting the movement of a person's body.

    Positive practice overcorrection: Having students repeatedly engage in an alternative appropriate behavior instead of an inappropriate one.

    Positive punishment: Something added to the environment contingent on the occurrence of a behavior that results in a decrease in the likelihood of that behavior over time.

    Positive reinforcement: Something added to the environment contingent on the occurrence of a behavior that results in an increase in the future likelihood of the behavior.

    Positive scanning: Watching for positive behaviors to occur.

    Postreinforcement pause: Delay that occurs after reinforcement on a fixed-ratio schedule.

    Praise around technique: Students surrounding a misbehaving student are praised for appropriate behavior.

    Precision teaching: Standardized methods with which to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and curriculum in a formative fashion.

    Precorrection: Active teacher supervision and effective instruction during which students are taught expectations, rules, and routines to prevent a misbehavior from occurring.

    Preferred activity time (PAT): Procedure that involves allowing students access to those things students enjoy but are an extension of the academic content.

    Premack principle: Getting a less preferred behavior to occur by reinforcing it with a more preferred one; indicates a high-probability behavior can reinforce a low-probability behavior; also called Grandma's rule.

    Pretask requests: (See Behavioral momentum).

    Preventive strategies: (See Informal procedure).

    Primary aversive: Something that is not learned that results in an escape or avoidance response (e.g., electric shock, nauseating smells).

    Primary level: Instructional and behavioral focus is on a schoolwide basis so that students do not become at risk for learning and behavior difficulties.

    Primary positive reinforcer: Something that is a reinforcer without being learned; also called an unconditioned reinforcer (e.g., food, water, warmth).

    Primed background knowledge: Connection of previously acquired knowledge to the skills about to be taught.

    Principle of least dangerous assumption:

    Suggests the strategy selected should produce the least amount of harm if the procedure is ineffective.

    Problem Behavior Questionnaire: 15-item rating scale that measures the frequency with which an event is likely to be seen; developed by Lewis, Scott, and Sugai (1994).

    Problem solving: Process of reaching a successful outcome or solving a problem; can be taught to students as a self-management procedure.

    Process evaluations: Assessment of fidelity of implementation (i.e., extent to which the intervention is delivered as intended).

    Proficiency stage: Follows acquisition; once students have acquired a skill, they must be able to perform the skill at a fluent or automatic level.

    Program: Grouping of interventions designed to prevent or remediate learning and behavior difficulties.

    Program common stimuli: Instruction or support occurs under conditions that are broadly available in different classrooms and other environments within the school.

    Progress monitoring: Ongoing use of formative assessment procedures to determine the extent to which students are benefiting from classroom instruction and to monitor the effectiveness of the core curriculum and instruction program as well as of secondary- and tertiary-level interventions.

    Progressive time delay: Time delay between two prompts is gradually increased on subsequent learning trials.

    Prompted practice: (See Guided practice).

    Proximity control: Decreasing unwanted behaviors by positioning the teacher somewhere next to the student.

    Punishment: As a consequence for behavior, the presentation or removal of something that reduces the future likelihood of that behavior.

    Rating scale: Indirect assessment completed by parents or teachers that provides a level of likelihood that an antecedent or consequence would occur before or after the target behavior.

    Reactivity: Differences in interobserver agreement that result from observers being aware that their observations will be checked.

    Redirection: Informal method in which students are prompted to do something that interferes with the unwanted behavior.

    Regression discontinuity designs: Designs in which participants are assigned to the intervention and the comparison conditions based on a cutoff score on a pre-intervention measure that typically assesses need or merit.

    Reinforcement: Presentation or removal of something that increases the future likelihood of a behavior as a consequence for that behavior.

    Reliability: Consistency of results over time.

    Reprimands: Strong negative verbal statements.

    Response cost: Involves the permanent removal of some portion of a reinforcer.

    Response deprivation hypothesis: Any behavior that is reduced below its baseline level can function as a reinforcer.

    Response generalization: Behavior being more likely to occur in the presence of something as a result of another behavior having been reinforced and strengthened in its presence.

    Response-induced aggression: Aggression toward a person providing aversives or toward others associated with this person.

    Response to intervention (RTI): Initiative aimed at providing a high-quality continuum of instruction and interventions matched to student need and at monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in what students need to be successful.

    Restitutional overcorrection: Involves having the student return the environment to a better state than the one in which it was before.

    Restraint: Limiting or restricting an individual from behaving in some way.

    Restrictiveness: Involves the extent to which an individual has limited access to basic human freedoms.

    Review: Having students perform skills over time so the skills are not forgotten.

    Reward: Something given to a student that does not necessarily result in the increased future likelihood of the behavior.

    Ripple effect: Tendency for primary-aged students to react to a teacher's actions when those actions are aimed at other students.

    Routines: Sets of actions students take to reach specific outcomes in the most efficient manner.

    Rule-governed behavior: A behavior controlled by verbal or written rules.

    Rules: Statements that contain one or more of the three terms in the three-term contingency (i.e., antecedent, behavior, consequence).

    S-delta (SD): Indicates a behavior in its presence will not be reinforced.

    Satiation: Decrease in the reinforcer effectiveness of a stimulus due to receiving that stimulus.

    Scatter plot: Descriptive analysis that enables the observer to monitor target behaviors over an extended period of time.

    Schedules of reinforcement: Points at which reinforcers are delivered for the purpose of increasing or maintaining behavior.

    School dynamics: Patterns of behaviors, relationships, thinking, beliefs, and traditions that make up the school culture.

    School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET): Assessment developed by Sugai, Lewis-Palmer, Todd, and Horner (2001) with 28 items organized into seven subscales to assess and evaluate the critical features of the primary level of SWPBIS.

    Schoolwide organizational system: Organizational structure involving all students and staff in all settings within a school.

    Schoolwide positive behavior intervention and support program (SWPBIS): Application of positive behavioral interventions and supports to achieve socially important behavior change across all of the school environments.

    Seatwork variety and challenge: When teachers make seatwork interesting to students.

    Seclusionary time-out: Temporary removal of a student from the group to an isolated area.

    Secondary aversive: Things that are learned that result in an escape or avoidance response; things that are not aversive from the time we are born (e.g., grades, reprimands).

    Secondary level: Instructional and behavioral focus is on providing academic and behavior support to students at risk for learning and behavior difficulties.

    Secondary positive reinforcer: Something that has acquired a reinforcing function through pairing with a previously established reinforcer; those reinforcers that are learned (also called conditioned reinforcers), including praise, money, grades, and reprimands.

    Self-charting: Self-management procedure; students graph their own behavior.

    Self-evaluation: Self-management procedure; students measure their own behavior against some specified standard.

    Self-instruction: Self-management procedure; students are taught to “talk to themselves” or engage in covert verbal responses.

    Self-management: Variety of methods used by students to manage their own behavior.

    Self-monitoring: Self-management procedure; students observe and record their own behavior without the use of a prompt.

    Self-recording: Self-management procedure; students observe and record their own behavior using a prompt.

    Self-reinforcement/punishment: Self-management procedure; students provide consequences for their own behavior.

    Sequential modification of the training situation: Involves successfully implementing the management program in one setting and then changing the management system in another setting to match that of the first setting.

    Setting event: Antecedent occurring in the environment that sets the occasion for certain behaviors; also, part of a four-term contingency.

    Setting/situation generalization: (See Stimulus generalization).

    Shaping: Reinforcement of successive approximations of the behavior; progressing step by step toward a terminal objective.

    Signposts: Behaviors that indicate students are planning a targeted act of violence.

    Single-case design: Experiment in which the participants serve as their own control group; intent is to establish a relationship between the dependent and independent variables.

    Situational inducement: Involves manipulating contexts that already have a history of control over the behavior.

    Smoothness: Being able to conduct a lesson without undue interference or changes that disrupt the students.

    Social dynamics: Patterns of behaviors, relationships, thinking, beliefs, and traditions that make up the culture of the larger community in which students live and go to school.

    Spaced-responding DRL: Reinforcing a behavior if a certain amount of time (interresponse time) has elapsed between responses.

    Specific praise: Precise statements of praise in a neutral or positive/pleasant tone of voice that reflect a positive response to a specific desired behavior.

    Spontaneous recovery: Return of a behavior at various times after that behavior seems to be eliminated.

    Standard protocol: Any set of activities designed to evaluate the effects of instruction or intervention on student achievement.

    Stimulus control: Situation in which a behavior is changed by providing or removing an antecedent stimulus.

    Stimulus generalization: A student using new and appropriate behaviors in contexts other than where they have been taught.

    Strategic integration: Integration of concepts, content, and skills that are mutually facilitative of each other or arranged so that instruction communicates generalizations to new areas removed from the original area of instruction.

    Strategy: General conceptual approach or framework for preventing or remediating learning and behavior difficulties.

    Student accountability: Keeping students involved in the lesson.

    Success contingent: Providing external reinforcers, with additional reinforcers along the way, if students have met predetermined performance criteria.

    Sustainability: An intervention is durable and likely to continue over a period of time and has the resources to support it.

    Task analysis: Breakdown of a task into several links or steps.

    Task contingent: Providing reinforcement to students for simply engaging in a task for some period of time without requirements on quality of performance.

    Teaching functions: Classroom experiences that move students from lack of skill mastery to mastery.

    Technical capacity: Administrative and specialized support necessary to implement interventions.

    Tertiary level: Instructional and behavioral focus is on students who display a life course of persistent learning and behavior difficulties.

    Think Time®: Empirically validated disciplinary response used by classroom teachers and playground/lunchroom supervisors that includes three interventions common to schools: an effective request for appropriate behavior, antiseptic bounding, and behavioral debriefing.

    Threat: Spoken, written, or symbolic expression of intent to do harm or act out violently against someone or something.

    Three-term contingency: Made up of the antecedent, behavior, and the consequence; used to explain behavior.

    Tier 1: (See Primary level).

    Tier 2: (See Secondary level).

    Tier 3: (See Tertiary level).

    Time-based time-out: Removing the source of reinforcement for a set amount of time.

    Time delay: Initially presenting at the same time a prompt to which you ultimately want the students to respond, such as a list of homework assignments written on the board, and another prompt, such as a verbal directive for students to write assignments in their agendas, and then delaying presentation of the second cue.

    Time-out: Temporary removal of the source of reinforcement contingent on an unwanted behavior; considered a negative punisher.

    Token economy system: System in which, contingent on some behavior, tokens are provided that can be turned in for backup reinforcers; tokens serve as secondary reinforcers.

    Total task chaining: (See Whole task chaining).

    Train sufficient response exemplar: Involves teaching students several appropriate responses to a given situation.

    Train sufficient stimulus exemplars: Using multiple examples of the targeted skills during teaching.

    Training loosely: Involves varying the situation under which the behavior support plan is introduced.

    Trait: Psychological characteristic of a person, including disposition to discriminate between or among different situations similarly and to respond to them consistently despite changing conditions.

    Unconditioned aversive: (See Primary aversive).

    Unconditioned positive reinforcer: (See Primary positive reinforcer).

    Unison oral responding: All students respond together and receive feedback from the teacher.

    Universal screening: Assessment procedures that are characterized by the administration of quick, low-cost, repeatable evaluations of critical academic skills and that are used to assess all students.

    Valence and challenge arousal: Stimulating a positive reaction to a lesson by showing enthusiasm and using a variety of activities when teaching students.

    Variable-interval DRO: Reinforcing a student if he or she refrains from the unwanted behavior for an average amount of time.

    Variable-interval schedule of reinforcement:

    Reinforcement of the first response after an average amount of time has elapsed.

    Variable-momentary DRO: Reinforcing a student if there is a lack of unwanted behavior at the end of varying interval lengths.

    Variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement: Reinforcement after an average number of responses.

    Vary the acceptable responses during training: Require different responses during training.

    Veiled threat: Threat that strongly implies but does not explicitly threaten violence.

    Visual analysis: Prominent technique for judging the magnitude of the intervention effects from single-case studies by assessing all conditions within the design.

    Wait time: Gives students the opportunity to think about the answer before they actually say it.

    Whole-interval DRO: Observing a student's behavior consistently over a time period.

    Whole-interval recording: Procedure used to record behaviors only if they occur throughout the entire specified time interval.

    Whole task chaining: Teaching the chain of behaviors at once.

    Withdrawal design: Also called A-B-A design; a single-case design that combines the “A” condition or baseline/pre-intervention measurements with a “B” condition or intervention to determine the effectiveness of the intervention; the “B” condition is followed by a second “A” condition.

    Withitness: Act of teachers being aware of what is going on in the classroom.


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    About the Authors

    Ronald C. Martella, Ph.D., is a professor of special education at Eastern Washington University, teaching classes in behavior management and research methodology. He has more than 25 years of experience working with at-risk populations. He provides technical assistance to numerous states and districts on positive behavior support (PBS)/behavior management for students with or without disabilities. Dr. Martella has more than 130 professional publications including a six-level supplemental reading program (Lesson Connections) for Reading Mastery Signature Edition and a two-level adolescent literacy program (Read to Achieve). Finally, for the State of Washington, he served on the statewide PBS Leadership Team and as a PBS coach for several schools throughout eastern Washington and serves as a consultant for the Washington State Striving Readers Grant, which features the adolescent literacy program he co-wrote.

    J. Ron Nelson, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Dr. Nelson has more than 20 years experience in the field of special education as a teacher, technical assistance provider, and professor. He has a national reputation as an effective researcher and received the 2000 Distinguished Initial Career Research Award, awarded by the Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Nelson's research career includes over 22 million dollars in external funding and the publication of more than 150 articles, book chapters, and books that focus on serving children at risk of school failure and research issues. He has developed a number of behavior and literacy interventions that have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (e.g., the registered behavioral strategy Think Time®, Stepping Stones to Literacy, Early Vocabulary Connections, and the Multiple Meaning Vocabulary Program).

    Nancy E. Marchand-Martella, Ph.D., is a professor of special education at Eastern Washington University. She has more than 25 years of experience working with at-risk populations. For the State of Washington, she serves as a consultant for the Washington Improvement and Implementation Network and the Washington State Striving Readers Grant, which features an adolescent literacy program she co-wrote. She has also served as a Reading First panel member for selecting core, supplemental, and intervention programs for students in Grades K through 12. Dr. Marchand-Martella has more than 140 professional publications including a two-level vocabulary program (Multiple Meaning Vocabulary), a six-level supplemental reading program (Lesson Connections) for Reading Mastery Signature Edition, and a two-level adolescent literacy program focused on comprehending content-area and narrative text (Read to Achieve).

    Mark O'Reilly, Ph.D., BCBC-D, is Mollie Villeret Davis Professor of Learning Disabilities at the University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching primarily focus on the education and behavioral support of children with autism spectrum disorders. He is also interested in the development and evaluation of assistive technology for use with individuals with profound multiple disabilities. He has coauthored more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in these areas. His research has been funded through grants from the European Union and the Institute for Educational Sciences. He is a former associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and was vice president of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.

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