Study identifies most popular Tier 2 interventions used by middle schools

Schoolchildren and teacher in science classThe most common Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) Tier 2 intervention used by middle schools is the Check-In/Check-Out (CICO), according to a nationwide survey of state contacts for SWPBS. The study, published in Preventing School Failure, says many schools use programs that are already in place for Tier 2 instead of developing new interventions.

Check-In/Check-Out, developed by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis (, provides students with a mentor who encourages participation in learning and school activities and helps the student learn to interact and be part of his or her community and school.

The next most common intervention is social skills training or clubs followed by (in descending order of frequency of use) mentoring, academic intervention, support by homeroom teachers or advisers and Check and Connect, a mentoring program and the Safe & Civil Schools program as an intervention.

One concern identified in the survey is that many schools are not providing enough Tier 2 interventions to meet the diverse needs of students. To be effective, the Tier 2 intervention needs to match a student’s individual needs, the study says. In 9 states, contacts only reported 1 or 2 interventions being offered as Tier 2 options for all students. In 12 states and the District of Columbia, contacts reported that there were no Tier 2 interventions in middle schools.

“The results of this study indicate that some states still do not implement Tier 2 in middle schools, whereas others do not appear to provide intervention options depending on the needs of students.”

Among the specific social skills programs cited by state contacts were: Second Step (Committee for children, 2009), Skillstreaming (Goldstein & McGinnis, 1997), the Why Try Program (Moore, 209), the Think Time Strategy for Schools (Nelson & Carr, 1996) and the Stop & Think Social Skills Program (Project Achieve, 2009).

A major feature of SWPBS is the collection of data for evaluation and program improvement, the researchers write. There are 2 types of evaluation data used in SWPBS, one to determine the effectiveness of the SWPBS system and the other to evaluate the fidelity of implementation.

The primary method of collecting data to determine the effectiveness of SWPBS is office discipline referrals, which are available in most schools. The referrals help school-based teams identify patterns of student behavior and areas of need assess and develop interventions.

Three evaluation tools have been developed to gather data on fidelity of implementation. The Schoolwide Evaluation Tool is widely used by schools to assess SWPBS. Researchers are reviewing 2 other tools, the Effective Behavior Supports Survey (Safran, 2006) and the Schoolwide Benchmark of Quality, which has been found to be valid to measure universal implementation.

Based on their survey of state contacts for SWPBS, the researchers write that responses raise concerns that schools are not collecting data to monitor fidelity of implementation of Tier 2 interventions. “For SWPBS to be successful, researchers and school personnel must collect accurate data to determine whther teachers and staff are implementing interventions with fidelity.

“Positive Behavior Supports: Tier 2 Interventions in Middle Schools,” by Carol Hoyle et al., Preventing School Failure, 2011, Volume 55, Number 3, pps. 164-170.

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