Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) in the Classroom: Assessing Perceived Challenges to Consistent Implementation in Connecticut Schools

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) in the Classroom: Assessing Perceived Challenges to Consistent Implementation in Connecticut Schools

Article excerpt


The number of schools implementing school-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) practices nationwide is increasing, but still little is known about the fidelity with which teachers implement SWPBS practices in the classroom. Specifically, data are needed that reflect the consistency with which classroom-based SWPBS practices are implemented, as well as challenges to implementation faced by school personnel, to ensure the best possible behavioral and academic outcomes for students. In this study, personnel in Connecticut schools implementing SWPBS (N = 171) were surveyed, and results indicate that although classroom-based SWPBS practices are implemented very consistently by the majority of respondents, certain practices are somewhat challenging to implement. Implications for improving practice and training are offered.

School-wide positive behavior support (SWPBS) is a framework consisting of effective intervention practices aimed at establishing and improving the social culture, educational environment, and individual behavior of all students in a school (Sugai et al., 2010). SWPBS has been linked to improved student behavior and academic achievement as well as staff perceptions of school safety (Horner et al., 2009). In 2008, nearly 8,000 schools in 40 states were in varying stages of adopting or implementing SWPBS (Spaulding, Horner, May, & Vincent, 2008). Currently, it is estimated that over 18,000 schools in all 50 states are currently adopting or implementing SWPBS nationwide (OSEP Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support, 2013). Although the number of schools implementing SWPBS practices to promote prosocial, positive behavior has dramatically increased in recent years, few studies have investigated the consistency with which SWPBS practices are being implemented by school personnel in classroom settings or the perceived challenges school personnel face when implementing SWPBS practices in the classroom. A foundational process within the SWPBS framework is to monitor the implementation of practices and progress toward outcomes (Colvin, 1991; Colvin, Sugai, & Kame'enui, 1994; Lewis & Sugai, 1999). Assessing implementation and addressing perceived challenges to SWPBS practices in the classroom is aligned with this process and results may be used to improve school personnel's implementation and promote better behavioral and academic outcomes for students.

Prior research surrounding SWPBS and implementation fidelity has mainly focused on monitoring school-wide practices (as opposed to classroom-based practices) and aggregating data at the school-wide level. These studies have used such instruments as the School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET; Sugai, Lewis-Palmer, Todd, & Homer, 2001), Benchmarks of Quality--Revised (BoQ; Kincaid, Childs, & George, 2010) the Implementation Phases Inventory (Bradshaw, Barrett, & Bloom, 2004) the Team Implementation Checklist (TIC; Sugai, Todd, & Homer, 2001), and the Effective Behavior Support (EBS) Self-Assessment Survey (Sugai, Homer, & Todd, 2003). For some measures, evaluating universal supports includes measuring components of classroom practice (i.e., EBS Self-Assessment Survey, BoQ), but it's only one area amongst several for assessment. Below we provide a brief review of these measures. All measures described below are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1 Select Measures of SWPBS Implementation Fidelity

Tool                        Purpose         Focus        Assessor

School-wide Evaluation  Measures the      Annual      Administered
Tool (SET) (a)          extent to which   assessment  by a trained
                        schools are       tool        external
                        implementing key              observer for
                        features (i.e.,               2-4 hours,
                        primary                       annually
                        features) of

School-wide             * Measure used    Annual      Survey
Bench-marks of          to determine      assessment  completed by
Quality(BOQ)--Revised   areas of SWTBS    tool        coaches and
(g)                     that are not in               teams,
                        place (-), need               annually
                        improvement (+),
                        or in place
                        * Informs
                        training and
                        information to
                        state and
                        districts to
                        target technical

Implementation Phases   Used to monitor   Semiannual  Administered
Inventory (IPI) (m)     start-up          assessment  by coaches(or
                        activities for    tool        external
                        initial                       technical
                        implementation                assistance
                        of SW- PB5 and                provider) for
                        to determine a                10-15 minutes
                        school's phase                twice a year
                        after SWPBS
                        initiation by
                        indicating if
                        the activity is
                        not in place
                        (0), partially
                        in place (1), or
                        implemented (2)

Team Implementation     * Measures the    Progress    Administered
Checklist (TIC) (t)     extent to which   monitoring  by coaches for
                        SWPBS activities  tool        10-15 minutes
                        have been                     * Emerging
                        "achieved," "in               teams: Update
                        progress" or                  monthly
                        "not yet                      * Established
                        started"                      teams:
                        * Informs PBIS                quarterly
                        Action Plan to                (i. … 
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