George Sugai and Brandi Simonsen
Center for PBIS & Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, University of Connecticut
June 19, 2012
Although initially established to disseminate evidence-based behavior interventions for students with Behavior Disorder l, the National TA Center on PBIS shifted focus to the school-wide behavior support of all students, and an emphasis on implementation practices and systems. As a result, PBIS is defined as a framework for enhancing the adoption and implementation of a continuum of evidence-based interventions to achieve academically and behaviorally important outcomes for all students.
As a “framework,” the emphasis is on a process or approach, rather than a curriculum, intervention, or practice. The “continuum” notion emphasizes how evidence- or research-based behavioral practices are organized within a multi-tiered system of support, also called “response-to-intervention” Within this definition, the mutually beneficial relationship between academic and social behavior student success is. Finally, the important supportive relationship between positive school- and classroom- wide culture and individual student success is emphasized.
The PBIS framework has a number of defining characteristics. First and foremost, student outcomes serve as the basis for practice selection, data collection, and intervention evaluations. These outcomes are (a) academic and social, (b) individual and small group, and (c) judged on their educational and social value and importance.
Second, rather than focusing on specific packaged or manualized interventions, the PBIS framework highlights specification and adoption of evidence- and research- based practices that characterize packaged programs. These practices are organized to support students across (a) school-wide (e.g., teaching and acknowledging a small number of positively stated behavioral expectations, clear and distinctive definitions for rule violations, and data-decision rules), (b) non-classroom (e.g., active supervision, reminders, teaching setting-specific routines), (c) classroom (e.g., effective academic instruction, active supervision, high praise rates), and (d) individual student (e.g., function-based behavior intervention supports, explicit social skills instruction, wraparound processes) routines.
Third, consistent with the response-to-intervention approach, PBIS is characterized by the establishment of a continuum of behavior support practices and systems. These practices are unified with procedures for universal screening, continuous progress monitoring, team-based decision making rules and procedures, explicit monitoring of implementation fidelity, and local content expertise and fluency. In addition, the PBIS framework stresses the importance of embedded and continuous professional development, monitoring based on phase of implementation, and systems-based competence and supports (e.g., policy, leadership, funding).
Finally, the effective, efficient, and relevant use of data or information to guide decision-making links the above characteristics. The collection, analysis, and use of data are considered essential for a number of PBIS purposes: (a) need clarification and priority, (b) matching of need and intervention or practice, (c) evaluation of research-base for practice selection, (d) student responsiveness and outcome impact, (e) intervention or practice fidelity, (f) social and ecological validity, and (g) implementation adjust for efficiency, effectiveness, and relevance.
Included in the 16,000 school teams that have been trained on the PBIS implementation framework (especially, tier 1 or primary prevention), are 3 states with more than 60% of schools involved in PBIS implementation, 9 states with more than 40%, and 16 states with more than 30%. This impact reflects efforts by state and district leadership teams to build capacity for sustaining and scaling up their implementation of PBIS. Schools that are effective in their implementation have (a) more than 80% of their students and staff who can indicate the desired positive behavioral expectations for a given school setting, (b) high rates of positive acknowledgements for contributing to a positive and safe school climate, (c) have more than 70-80% of their students who have not experienced an office discipline referral for a disciplinary rule infraction, (d) a good idea about which students require more intensive behavior supports, and (e) systems for regular review of their school-wide behavior data to guide their PBIS action planning and implementation decision making.
In addition, since the 1980s, a number of experimental studies have documented the effectiveness of the PBIS framework at the school-wide level. This body of research supports improvements in problem disciplinary behavior, school climate, organizational health, student bullying behavior and peer victimization, and academic achievement.
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