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PBIS Correction Systems

PBIS Corrections Flow Chart

The heart of PBIS is teaching students to succeed in meeting behavioral expectations and then giving positive attention for appropriate behavior. The positive approach is also taken in correcting misbehavior. This flow chart demonstrates one of many ways to process problem behavior. The key elements (indicated by stars) are opportunities to teach the appropriate behavior, model it, and have the student practice it. Without the teaching part, consequences are inappropriate and ineffective.

Generic Procedure for Dealing with Problem Behaviors

  PBS Flowchart

PBIS Categories of Misbehavior

PBIS Levels of Problem Behavior:

Here is one example of a hierarchy of misbehaviors and corresponding interventions. Adams is currently working on reducing the number of levels to make the process easier to use but the example should give the idea.

Levels of Problem Behaviors and Responses
Adams PBIS Team, revised 1998-99

Level 1 Problem Behavior
Defined as: not meeting classroom and other site expectations.
Examples: talk-outs, being off-task, unpreparedness, tardiness, hands/feet/objects on others, note passing, or low levels of cheating, teasing, or inappropriate comments.
Handled by: adult in charge of the setting in which problem behavior occurs – classroom teacher, classified staff, specialist.

  1. teach appropriate behavior.
  2. remind, redirect, reinforce.
  3. small-thing time out.
  4. apply appropriate consequence (call or note home, loss of recess, stay after school, write letter or plan for change, etc.)
  5. fill out Incident Report (when appropriate). Put in homeroom teacher’s mailbox as soon as possible.


Level 2 Problem Behavior
Defined as:
repeated Level 1 misbehaviors (3 Incident Reports in a week or 6 in a month require a Level 2 Behavior Assistance Plan). A Level 2 misbehavior might also be one that is not quite at Level 3 in intensity, frequency, intent, or result.
Examples: repeated or more serious levels of misbehaviors such as those listed in Level 1 above, or Level 3 behaviors from the list below that are not quite “serious misconduct” because they are extenuated, provoked, likely not to be repeated, unpremeditated, low intensity and/or caused more by poor judgement (or lack of skills) than by intent to misbehave.
Handled by: the adult in charge of the setting in which the problem behavior occurs with cooperation of principal or classroom teacher as necessary.

  1. remind, redirect, reinforce.
  2. apply consequences for that setting (benching, time-outs, lost recesses, etc.)
  3. call home.
  4. complete a Behavior Assistance Plan part of the Level 2 referral form. Copy to principal.
  5. consult with and involve principal, PBIS or SST (when appropriate).
Level 3 Problem Behaviors – Serious Misconduct
Defined as:
serious misbehavior that endangers safety or well-being or makes normal classroom activities difficult or impossible.
Examples: fighting, defiance, harassment/bullying, refusal, unsafe activities, obscenities, theft, coersion, mean-spirited teasing, or repeated Level 2 misbehaviors. (See behavior contracts for complete list.)
Handled by: the principal or teacher and, in emergency situations, by adults designated to respond to crises.

  1. remind, redirect, reinforce (in non-emergencies).
  2. send student(s) to office (if necessary to gain control).
  3. complete Serious Misconduct Ticket. Give to principal.
  4. parent contact by principal or teacher.
  5. action by principal (apply contract).
  6. SST/PBIS referral or complete a new or revised Behavior Assistance Plan.
  7. In school or out of school time out.
Level 4 – Legal Suspension
Legal suspensions are given on occasions when it is believed that legal documentation of misconduct is necessary.

PBIS Minor Misbehavior

As indicated on the Corrections Flow Chart the major way of dealing with minor misbehaviors is to teach or reteach the behavior. Consequences are appropriate only when the staff member seeing the misbehavior is sure the student has learned and practiced the expected behavior. When a consequence is required, it should be proportionate to the offense and, if at all possible immediate and administered by the same staff member.

Many schools, especially elementary, document minor misbehaviors. They do so for two reasons: 1) to look for patterns of problem behaviors, locations, times, etc. or 2) to look for patterns of misbehavior in individual students. In both cases, the purpose is to provide data that will help develop or adjust systems to help reduce the problem.

Documentation often takes the form of small slips that are filled out and routed to the classroom teacher and the person who enters behavior data into a system like the School-Wide Information System (SWIS).

PBIS Systems for Individual Students

80-90% of a student body will typically meet behavior expectations when school-wide systems are in place. The other students may need some extra help like individual or small group instruction, a check-in/check-out program, or an individual behavior support plan. Elements of individual systems include the process of requesting assistance, targeted group systems for students who need a little boost each day, and Functional Behavior Assessments that lead to comprehensive Behavior Support Plans.

PBIS Request for Assistance:

When a student is having behavioral difficulties, his or her teacher can request help on a form that describes the behavior and the things that have been tried. Assistance can be given in a variety of ways – advice, formation of an action team, functional assessment, outside assistance, etc.

If the form lists some possible accommodations and interventions that might have been tried, a teacher sometimes gets ideas that correct the problem before the form is submitted.

PBIS Targeted Group Intervention:

Students who have frequent minor behavior problems or have clusters of minor misbehaviors can often be helped in small groups with social skill training that targets certain deficits, behavior boosters, or goal setting and improvement monitoring sessions.

Some students can benefit from a behavior assistance plan in which they check in with a designated adult twice a day to receive pre-correction and a pep-talk in the morning and debriefing and feedback in the afternoon to help them monitor and improve their behavior. One way of tracking progress in such programs is a behavior card like the example below. A reasonable point goal is set for the day and a reward given in the afternoon if the goal is met. In time the goal is adjusted to reflect greater expectations and, in many cases, the student eventually “graduates” from the need for the extra assistance.

NOTE: Behavior assistance plans only work if the attention the student receives is what she or he was after. If escaping adult attention is the function of the behavior, a program that allows a student temporary escapes (breaks) will likely be more effective than a check-in system.

Function-Based Behavioral Assessment and Planning:

With the few students whose behavior does not respond to school-wide or targeted assistance, assessment of the functions of their behavior are needed. Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) takes time and training but it is a proven way to make a confident hypothesis about what sets up the behavior, what sets it off and what the student gets out of it that makes her or him keep doing it. Armed with this hypothesis, an action team creates a Behavior Support Plan (BSP) to adapt the environment to help the student learn acceptable alternative behaviors that produce a result similar to that of the misbehavior.