And How Will It Be Measured?
Each school has a different set of goals for what they want to achieve with a PBIS program. Some schools have a need for real behavior redirection, and look to PBIS to help improve negative incidents and overall campus climate. Others are fortunate enough to deal with only minor incidents (tardies and dress code violations, for example) and are looking for increased student motivation and productivity. We often tell our customers that you observe success by how many students are participating in the program and how happy they are. But, how can that be measured?
LOOK FOR A DECREASE IN NEGATIVE BEHAVIORS
An easy way to do a “spot-check” on whether PBIS is working is to take a look at how your negative behaviors are trending. Are there less detentions and tardies? In most of our schools, as positive behaviors increase, negative behaviors decrease. Running an Incident Report can give you an overview of the negative activity that’s happening at your school. Ideally, you’d like to see the graph dip downwards. If it doesn’t, you can begin to dive in deeper to find out why. Typically the answer is not “PBIS isn’t working” but may be as simple as “the Attendance Officer was on vacation, so there were more tardies that day.” Having visibility into the data helps you really pinpoint triumphs and pitfalls.
* Tip: do not tie your negative behavior plan into your positive one. You should never be taking AWAY positive points. PBIS is very much a psychological program, and taking away points that students have earned just goes against the core reason why it works. It could also lead to issues where some students have a point deficit, which should be avoided.
MAKE SURE ALL STUDENTS ARE ENGAGED
We assess program health by making sure that all students are taking part in the program. Additionally, we like to see a pretty even ratio of point distribution, or at least not such a drastic difference between the highest earning student and the lowest. So if Jane Smith is at the top with 800 points, and John Doe is the lowest with 2 points, you may need to find out why. Again, the answer may be as simple as “Jane is saving up for that high-priced incentive and John just redeemed all his points.” But flagging that chasm as a potential problem is important. You want to make sure your PBIS program offers opportunities for all students—academically high-achieving or not—to be able to earn points. You can get an overview of the points breakdown by running a Total Points Report.
* Tip: if you are running a total points report and you see that there are students that have 0 points (because they have never earned any – not because they have redeemed all their points) then find a reason to reward them. It’s best for program health if every student has at least one or two points.
MAKE SURE ALL TEACHERS ARE TRACKING POINTS
Similar to how we access program health by student engagement, it’s important to make sure all teachers are involved, too. You want to make sure that all your teachers are appointing at least some positive points. A Daily Activity Report can be run to see which teachers are actively participating in the program, and which ones aren’t.