Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Check in/ Check Out: A Post-Hoc Evaluation of an Efficient, Secondary-Level Targeted Intervention for Reducing Problem Behaviors in Schools

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Check in/ Check Out: A Post-Hoc Evaluation of an Efficient, Secondary-Level Targeted Intervention for Reducing Problem Behaviors in Schools

Article excerpt


The Check in/ Check out (CICO) program was developed as a secondary-level, targeted behavioral intervention in a three-tier preventative model of behavior support and has received empirical support as an effective way to reduce problem behaviors (Hawken & Horner, 2003; March & Horner, 2002). The purpose of the present study was to evaluate, post-implementation, the fidelity of implementation and effectiveness of the CICO program to reduce problem behavior when program training and implementation was managed by typical district personnel. Results indicate that the critical components of the program were implemented with fidelity across three elementary schools and that the program was effective in reducing the number of office discipline referrals for students who entered the program. Further, the program was perceived as being effective and efficient by district personnel. It is argued that the CICO program should be considered a viable targeted behavioral intervention with students for whom primary-level preventative measures are insufficient.


The Check in/ Check out (CICO) program was developed as an efficient, secondary-level, targeted intervention for reducing problem behavior (Crone, Horner & Hawken, 2004). The structural goals of the approach are to (a) increase antecedent prompts for appropriate behavior, (b) increase contingent adult feedback, (c) enhance the daily structure for students throughout their school day, and (d) improve feedback to families about student behavior.

The targeted intervention fits within school reform guidelines offered by Walker et al. (1996) to develop a three-tier model of prevention including: (1) primary prevention, school-wide discipline systems for all students, (2) secondary prevention, targeted interventions for students at-risk for more severe problem behavior, and (3) tertiary prevention, intensive, individual interventions for students with chronic problem behavior. Walker et al. noted several types of interventions that fit into the secondary, targeted level of support including social skills instruction, behavioral contracting, and at-risk counseling. It is generally recommended that secondary-level, targeted interventions be implemented with students who have two or more office discipline referrals but whose problem behaviors do not pose an immediate danger to self or others. More dangerous behaviors and behaviors that prove resistant to secondary interventions are best addressed with intensive tertiary-level interventions.

The CICO program, also known as the Behavior Education Program, is a research-based intervention that addresses the secondary level of support for students who do not respond to primary prevention, but do not demonstrate dangerous patterns of problem behavior. The CICO program is built on a daily cycle in which a student checks in with a designated adult in the morning to develop behavioral goals, carries around a point card which provides numerous opportunities for adult behavioral feedback throughout the day, reviews behavior relative to goals with designated adult at the end of the day, and gives the point card to a parent at the end of the day, which the parent then signs and returns to the school.

There is evidence that the CICO program is effective, and can be integrated with functional interventions (Hawken & Horner, 2003; March & Horner, 2002). In one study using a multiple baseline across students design (Hawken & Horner, 2003), the CICO program was implemented by teachers and school personnel in a rural middle school with four students with disruptive classroom behavior. The results demonstrated that teachers and school personnel implemented the intervention with fidelity, and that the systematic implementation of the CICO program was effective in reducing the overall level of students' disruptive classroom behavior.

In another experimental analysis, the CICO program was blended with function-based, individual interventions as a low cost, positive, and efficient intervention that was most effective for students whose disruptive classroom behavior was maintained by adult and/or peer attention (March & Horner, 2002). …

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