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Effective Tier II Systems: From Classroom to Small Group. Tim Lewis, Ph.D. University of Missouri OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports www.pbis.org. Today. Overview of basic process Work time Classroom Universals Data Decision Rules

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Effective Tier II Systems: From Classroom to Small Group

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.

University of Missouri

OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports


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  • Overview of basic process

  • Work time

    • Classroom Universals

    • Data Decision Rules

    • Classroom problem solving structure

    • Tier II Team structure

  • Next steps

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School-wide Positive Behavior Support

SW-PBS is a broad range of systemic and individualized strategies for achieving important social and learning outcomes while preventing problem behavior

OSEP Center on PBIS

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Academic Systems

Behavioral Systems

  • Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Individual Students

  • Assessment-based

  • High Intensity

  • Intensive, Individual Interventions

  • Individual Students

  • Assessment-based

  • Intense, durable procedures

  • Targeted Group Interventions

  • Some students (at-risk)

  • High efficiency

  • Rapid response

  • Targeted Group Interventions

  • Some students (at-risk)

  • High efficiency

  • Rapid response

  • Universal Interventions

  • All students

  • Preventive, proactive

  • Universal Interventions

  • All settings, all students

  • Preventive, proactive

Designing School-Wide Systems for Student Success







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Social Competence &

Academic Achievement









Staff Behavior





Student Behavior

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Universal Strategies: School-Wide

Essential Features

  • Statement of purpose

  • Clearly define expected behaviors (Rules)

  • Procedures for teaching & practicing expected behaviors

  • Procedures for encouraging expected behaviors

  • Procedures for discouraging problem behaviors

  • Procedures for record-keeping and decision making (swis.org)

  • Family Awareness and Involvement

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Universal Strategies: Nonclassroom Settings

  • Identify Setting Specific Behaviors

  • Develop Teaching Strategies

  • Develop Practice Opportunities and Consequences

  • Assess the Physical Characteristics

  • Establish Setting Routines

  • Identify Needed Support Structures

  • Data collection strategies

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Universal Strategies:Classroom

  • Use of school-wide expectations/rules

  • Effective Classroom Management

    • Behavior management

    • Instructional management

    • Environmental management

  • Support for teachers who deal with students who display high rates of problem behavior

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Teams(Data, Practices, Systems)

  • School-wide PBS

    • Universals

    • Connect points to Tier II & III

  • Classroom Problem Solving

    • Review data

    • Develop function-based interventions

  • Tier II (III) (e.g., CARE, SAT, TAT)

    • Partner with Classroom Problem Solving Lead/Coordinator

    • Coordinate and monitor tier II supports

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During Work Times

  • Today you = “The Build Team”

  • Follow team roles/process

  • Work efficiently

  • Assign names and dates to tasks

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  • We can’t “make” students learn or behave

  • We can create environments to increase the likelihood students learn and behave

  • Environments that increase the likelihood are guided by a core curriculum and implemented with consistency and fidelity

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Big Ideas

Understand interaction between behavior and the teaching environment

Behavior is functionally related to the teaching environment

Build Positive Behavior Support Plans that teach pro-social “replacement” behaviors

Create environments to support the use of pro-social behaviors (practice, practice, practice)



Small Group / Individual

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Basic Steps

  • School-wide, including classroom, universals in place

  • Identify students who need additional supports

  • Identify what supports student needs

    • Environment

    • Intervention

  • Monitor & evaluate progress

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Starting Point

  • Work within current formal and informal systems

  • Develop missing steps of efficient process

  • Provide training and technical assistance to facilitators

    • Classroom Problem Solving Teams (partnership)

    • Tier II Team

  • Guided process with templates for environmental modifications and interventions

  • Goal = fluency among all faculty and staff

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Tier II /

Small Group Supports

Classroom Supports


School-Wide Universal Supports

Continuum of Positive Behavior Supports

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SAT Process

Teacher Training and Support

Targeted Interventions

Individual Student Plans

SAT Team



Behavior Specialist


Core Team/Classrooms

Implement AIS

Monitor Progress

Refer to SAT

Core Team Representative

SAT Partner

Core Team Teachers

*Meets Weekly


School-Wide Systems


Lesson Plans

School-Wide Data



Core Team Representative

District PBS Support

Building Administrator and Counselors

*Meets Monthly

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Tier II Support Process

  • Step 1 – Insure Universals, including Classroom, in place

  • Step 2 – Student Identification Process

    • Decision Rules

    • Referral

    • Screen

  • Step 3 – Classroom Problem Solving

    • Classroom supports (function-based)

    • Progress monitor

  • Step 4 - Tier II supports

    • Non-responders to grade level supports

    • Match function of student behavior to intervention

    • Progress monitor

  • Step 5 - Evaluate Process

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1. Classroom Universals in place

  • Review of essential feature

  • Implementation Plan

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  • Classroom expectations & rules defined and taught (all use school-wide, create classroom examples)

  • Procedures & routines defined and taught

  • Continuum of strategies to acknowledge appropriate behavior in place and used with high frequency (4:1)

  • Continuum of strategies to respond to inappropriate behavior in place and used per established school-wide procedure

  • Students are actively supervised (pre-corrects and positive feedback)

  • Students are given multiple opportunities to respond (OTR) to promote high rates of academic engagement

  • Activity sequence promotes optimal instruction time and student engaged time

  • Instruction is differentiated based on student need

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Brief in-service, single topic focus

Practice (performance feedback)

Peer coaching

Principal “walk throughs”

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Your First Task: Classroom Universals

  • Develop a plan to:

    • Identify strengths and areas of need

    • Provide training for all staff on key features

    • Identify a strategy to assess use

    • Identify a strategy to provide performance feedback

  • For Example

    • All self-assess

    • Identify areas of need

    • “Mini-modules” during faculty meetings (pbismissouri.org)

    • Peer observe and count (performance feedback)

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Peer Coaching with Performance Feedback

  • 4 teacher mini-lessons on:

    • instructional talk

    • prompts

    • feedback

    • wait time

  • Implemented school-wide

    • provided a tip sheet and mini in-service on each

    • weekly email reminders from administrators

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Peer Coaching with Performance Feedback

  • 2 schools – one high SES, one low SES

  • 4 teacher “cool tools” on instructional talk, prompts, feedback, and wait time

  • Implemented school-wide; provided a tip sheet and mini in-service on each, weekly email reminders from administrators

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2.Identifying students

  • Current data

    • Confidence in numbers

    • Consistency across data points

  • Teacher Referral

  • Screening

    Approximately 10% of total students

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Data Decision Rules

  • Office Discipline Referral (ODR)

    • Major

    • Minor

  • Time out of Instruction

    • Buddy Room

    • Safe Seats

    • “Discipline” Room

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RRKS TOC (front side)

RRKS – Time Out of ClassCode: _____

Student: _________________________ Date:______________________

Incident Time: ____________________# of min. out of rm.: __________

Teacher: _______________________Subject: ____________________

What did you do/not do that got you sent out of class? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Circle the RRKS expectation that was not followed:

Respect Responsible Kind Safe

What will you do differently next time?______________________________________

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RRKS TOC (back side)

  • Processing Checklist:

  • Processing data & time:

  • Review with the student reason he/she was sent out.

  • Teach & practice replacement behavior.

  • Provide positive reinforcement for replacement behavior.

  • Check the setting in which the behavior occurred.

Minor List: Circle the appropriate code

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Other Strategies to Identify Students

  • Teacher Referral

    • Questions to discuss:

      • Who completes

      • When

      • What data must be used/cited

      • Focus on externalizing and internalizing

  • Screening

    • What instrument

    • Schedule

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Work Time

  • Review your current social behavior data sources

  • Identify weaknesses or inconsistencies

  • Develop plan to collect additional data

  • Draft decision rules

    • For Example:

      • 2 Major ODRs within trimester

      • 5 Minor ODRs within trimester

      • 5 absences within trimester

      • 60 minutes out of instruction per week

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3. Classroom Problem Solving

  • Grade level / combinations

  • Once a week focus of meeting = social behavior concerns when decision rule met

  • Standard problem solving steps

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Classroom Problem Solving

  • Process leader

    • Classroom teachers, Specialist teachers

  • Tier II Team partner

    • School Psychologist, Counselor, Administrator

  • Process

    • Data-based decision making

      • Guiding questions

    • Function-based intervention

      • Teach replacement

      • Environmental alterations / supports

    • Monitor progress

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Classroom Problem Solving

  • Student meets data decision rule

  • Classroom teacher completes preliminary forms (documents student progress to date)

  • Grade level lead walks team through problem solving process

  • Tier II Team partner attends if team is unable to identify patterns leading to intervention or when significant concerns noted

  • Plan put in place

  • Student progress monitored and reported at weekly meetings

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Classroom Problem Solving

When no students meet decision rule or multiple students with similar behavior concerns:

  • Develop range of possible supports for different functions of problem behavior

  • Develop range/bank of strategies

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A Classroom Example…

Stichter, J. P., Lewis, T. J., Johnson, N., & Trussell, R. (2004). Toward a structural assessment: Analyzing the merits of an assessment tool for a student with E/BD. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 30, 25-40.

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Study Basics

  • Subject:

    • Seven years old

    • Identified with EBD and ADHD

  • Setting

    • General education 2nd grade classroom with 19 other students

    • One licensed teacher and one student teacher

  • Concern

    • Student exhibits high rates of off-task

    • Student shouts out answers and questions and comments at high rates and often inappropriate

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“Function of Behavior”

  • Descriptive (interviews and teacher reported ABC/ Scatterplot data)

    • Function identified as Attention

    • Significant antecedents: multiple step direction and group settings

    • Very High rates of both problem behaviors reported/ inconsistency in accuracy of data collection

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“Environment Assessment”

Significant variables:

  • clarity of expectations & directions

  • consistency of expectations

  • accessibility of class schedules

  • lack of enforced procedures (especially regarding to hand raising and verbalizations or entire class)

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Work Time

  • Identify a possible Classroom Problem Solving configuration for your school

  • Assign Tier II Team Partner to Classroom Problem Solving Team Coordinator

  • Establish meeting time/day that will be allocated to focus on social behavior concerns

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The Key to Intervention Planning

Behavior is functionally related

to the teaching environment

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Function-Based Intervention Planning

  • “Science of Behavior”

    • Why is the student misbehaving?

    • What should they do instead

    • How do we provide a consistent and predictable response to appropriate and inappropriate behavior

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The Key

Behavior is functionally related to the teaching environment

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The Basics

Behavior is learned

  • Every social interaction you have with a child teaches him/her something

  • Children learn to use behaviors to reach a desired outcome

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The Basics

Behavior communicates need

  • Children engage in behavior(s) to "get" what they find reinforcing or to "avoid" what they find aversive

  • Need is determined by observing/noting what happens prior to and immediately after behavior

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Functional relationships with the Teaching Environment

Events that follow behavior

  • Following a student behavior the environment “gives” something to the student and student behavior maintains or increases -- what ever was given is reinforcing to that individual

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Functional relationships with the Teaching Environment

Events that follow behavior

  • Following a behavior the environment allows the student to stop an activity or is removed from the situation and the student behavior maintains or increases -- the event the student is avoiding is aversive to that individual

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Functional relationships with the Teaching Environment

Events that precede behavior

  • Events in the environment can “trigger” challenging behavior - they serve as cues for the student to perform a behavior because the student can predict the outcome when the cue is present

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What antecedent events reliably precede problem behavior?

  • When does the problem behavior occur?

    • What activities are taking place?

    • What people are present?

    • How is the environment arranged?

  • When is the problem behavior absent?

    • What activities are taking place?

    • What people are present?

    • How is the environment arranged?

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  • When this occurs….

  • The student does….

  • To get/avoid...

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Functional Assessment : Common Hypotheses

  • Receive attention from adults & peers

  • Receive tangible objects or access to preferred activities

  • Avoids interaction with adults & peers

  • Avoids tasks or responsibilities

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Classroom Problem Solving Process

  • Develop intervention based on function of behavior

    • Environment changes

    • Student skills to teach/practice/reinforce

  • Monitor progress

    • Same data that brought them to your attention

    • Problem and Appropriate behavior

    • Teacher observations

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4. Tier II Supports

  • Students who do not respond to classroom / informal supports (grade level 2-3 weeks)

  • Student brought to Tier II Team

    • Classroom problem solving plan

    • Progress data

  • Based on function of problem behavior and response to classroom supports, match student to Tier II intervention

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Tier II Supports

  • Centralized

  • Each has a coordinator

  • Placed in support by Tier II Team

  • Classroom supports continued / modified

  • ALL in building aware of their role in supporting students in Tier II Supports

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Tier II Team

  • For now, primary role will be to:

    • Continue to build process

    • Assist with Grade Level Team Problem Solving Process

  • Once Classroom Problem Solving in operation, your role will be to:

    • Review referrals and place students in appropriate tier II interventions

    • Serve as “coordinators” of tier II interventions

    • Monitor student progress

    • Monitor overall process

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Tier II Supports

  • Check in / Check Out

  • Social Skill Groups

  • Academic Supports

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5. Monitor Student Progress and Evaluate Process

  • Original data sources that lead to student identification

    • ODR

    • Attendance

    • Academics

    • “time out of class”

    • Teacher perception

  • Key = frequent and regular

    • Celebrate success

    • Adjust if student doesn’t respond (or problems start reappearing)

  • Cost –Benefit Analysis of overall process

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Lessons Learned

  • Effective classroom management must be in place

  • All in building understand

    • Steps in process

    • “Science of Behavior” (function)

    • Purpose of Tier II strategy

    • Their role in supporting Tier II strategy

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Lessons Learned

  • Spend lots of time on systems

    • “Build Team”

    • Classroom Problem Solving Team

    • Tier II Team (with connects to universal team

  • Progress monitor

    • Confidence in data

    • Efficient ways to collect (e.g., daily progress reports)

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Lessons Learned

  • Continually assess for progress & success

    • Is it a system/process issue?

    • Is it a student who needs additional/different supports?

  • Don’t be afraid to abandon, alter, tweak processes or supports that are not leading to desired outcomes

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Next Steps

  • Follow-up on task assignments from today

  • Develop a timeline to:

    • Assess classroom universals

      • Implement training on common classroom concerns

    • Refine/adapt/develop data collection tools and process

    • Adapt Classroom Problem Solving Process for your school

      • Identify needed training and technical assistance

    • Target a “start” date

    • Introduce overall Tier II process to faculty & staff

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Effective Tier II Systems: From Classroom to Small Group

Tim Lewis, Ph.D.


OSEP Center on Positive

Behavioral Intervention & Supports