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 Content Editor

Positive Behaviour Intervention Systems (PBIS)

November 21, 2018


PBIS is based on behavioral theory; problem behavior continues to occur because it is consistently followed by the child getting something positive or escaping something negative. By focusing on the contexts and outcomes of the behavior, it is possible to determine the functions of the behavior, make the problem behavior less effective and efficient, and make the desired behavior more functional.  This often involves changing systems, altering environments and teaching new skills (such as using school-wide programs like Zones of Regulation), as well as focusing on the problem behavior.


  • Research conducted over the past 15 years has shown that PBIS is effective in promoting positive behavior in students and schools.  Use of PBIS as a strategy to maintain appropriate social behavior will make schools safer.  Safer schools are more effective learning environments.
  • Schools that implement system-wide interventions also report increased time engaged in academic activities and improved academic performance.
  • Schools that employ system-wide interventions for problem behavior prevention indicate reductions in office discipline referrals of 20-60%.
  • Appropriately implemented PBIS can lead to dramatic improvements that have long-term effects on the lifestyle, functional communication skills, and problem behavior in individuals with disabilities.

A review of research on PBIS effectiveness showed that there was over a 90% reduction in problem behavior in over half of the studies; the problem behavior stopped completely in over 26% of the studies. It takes 3-5 years for permanent change to happen.

There are 4 areas that makes this work:

  • Outcomes: academic and behavior targets that are endorsed and emphasized by students, families, and educators. (What is important to each particular learning community?)
  • Practices: interventions and strategies that are evidence based. (How will you reach the goals?)
  • Data: information that is used to identify status, need for change, and effects of interventions. (What data will you use to support your success or barriers?)
  • Systems: supports that are needed to enable the accurate and durable implementation of the practices of PBIS. (What durable systems can be implemented that will sustain this over the long haul?)