Special Education

Quality Indicator Review and Resource Guides for  Behavioral Supports and Interventions - Classroom Management

The State Education Department
The University of the State of New York
Albany, NY 12234

Office of Special Education

Quality Indicator Review and Resource Guides for Behavioral Supports and Interventions - PDF PDF document(1.05 MB)

  1. School-Wide Positive Behavioral Systems
  2. Classroom Management (Updated May 2014)
  3. Small Group Interventions (SGI) for At-Risk Students
  4. Intensive Individualized Behavioral Interventions

Behavior: Classroom Management

Definition:  Classroom management is all the actions teachers take to create an environment that supports academic and social-emotional learning.  It includes all of the teacher’s practices related to establishing the physical and social environment of the classroom, regulating routines and daily activities, and preventing and correcting behavior.

Key Question:   Do all students feel accepted and valued in the class?

Indicator: Caring & Supportive Relationship with and among Students

Quality Indicator Description/Look Fors: Comments/Evidence

Component 1:   Positive Classroom Climate

The teacher has created a positive, warm and accepting environment for all students in the class. 
  • The teacher respects students and conveys personal acceptance of each student.
  • The teacher greets students by name.
  • The teacher is aware of personal goals, interests and activities of students and builds classroom connections.
  • The teacher engages students in specific classroom-community and trust-building activities (e.g. shared chores).
  • The teacher holds high expectations of students which are clearly articulated.
  • Students are engaged in specific activities to build positive peer relationships, like peer tutoring, social groups, and after-school activities.
  • Students are engaged in specific activities to build positive student-staff relationships, including mentoring and tutoring.
  • The teacher quickly addresses potential problems in the classroom.
Observation, lesson plans, student and teacher interviews, activity schedules


Component 2:  Culturally Responsive Classroom Practices

All students feel valued and accepted by adults and peers in the classroom.
  • Instructional strategies reflect and respond to cultural values, experience and learning styles of students in the class.
  • Opportunities for community engagement are a priority for school and teachers.
  • Teacher recognizes his/her cultural biases and is aware of how those biases may impact classroom management.
  • Teacher response to student behavior reflects an awareness of cultural differences in verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • Teacher understands the cultural components of the “conflict-cycle” and intentionally avoids escalating interactions
  • Classroom establishes a system for regular home-school communication.
  • Students engage in self-study and learn about the norms and values of their culture.

Observation, lesson plans, classroom newsletters, communication logs,  student and teacher interview



Key Question:   Is instruction thoughtfully designed and delivered to be relevant, appropriately challenging and engaging for all students?

Indicator: Instruction Designed to Optimize Learning and Engagement

Quality Indicator Description/Look Fors: Comments/Evidence

Component 1:  Instruction is Planned

Lessons are carefully planned to accommodate the needs of all students.
  • The teacher has spent time preparing the lesson.
  • The teacher has adjusted both content and strategies to students’ developmental levels.
  • The teacher incorporates strategies to address individual student needs based on their disability.
  • Complex tasks are broken into small steps.
  • The teacher attends to and adjusts pacing, minimizing time in non-instructional activities.
  • Regular times are scheduled into the day to provide feedback on independent work.
  • Activities have clear beginnings, ends and efficient transitions.
Lesson plans, alternative materials, class schedule


Comprehensive planning tools for adapting instructionexternal link - class learning profile, curriculum barriers finder, solutions finder

Component 2:  Instruction is Structured and Predictable

Lessons are carefully structured and students are aware of lesson objectives and structure.
  • The teacher clearly communicates directions and objectives so that students have a clear plan of action; e.g., teacher uses an advance organizer.
  • Instruction follows a sequential order that is logically related to skill development.
  • The teacher’s instructional presentation includes explanation and modeling, followed by coaching, guided and independent practice and timely feedback.
  • The teacher provides guided practice with error-correction and reteaching until students attain 80% mastery.
  • The teacher monitors independent practice at 90-100% mastery.
Observation, student work


Logic of Backward Designexternal link: resource to support teacher planning for structure and predictable environments

Component 3:  Instruction is Interactive and Engaging

Teacher uses multiple and varied techniques to engage students in the material in meaningful ways.
  • Instruction includes research-based strategies to engage students; e.g., high rates of opportunities to respond, choral reading, direct instruction, computer-aided instruction, class-wide peer tutoring, and guided notes.
  • The teacher employs a variety of grouping options including whole group, small and cooperative learning groups, and individual instruction.
  • The teacher uses strategies to ensure high frequency learning trials and response opportunities; e.g., choral responding, individual response card, and peer tutoring.
  • Instructional materials are used that students find educationally relevant.
  • The teacher gives both written and oral feedback that is specific, provides information about accuracy, and feedback is timely.
  • The teacher uses variations in voice, movement and pacing to reinforce attention.
  • The teacher explicitly points out the connection between effort and outcome.
Lesson plans, observation


Component 4:  Instruction is Direct and Explicit

Students learn to independently use strategies that will help them to successfully acquire and retrieve learned materials.
  • The teacher provides instruction in cognitive strategies; e.g., taking notes or asking questions, as well as  meta-cognitive strategies; e.g., planning, monitoring, and evaluation.
  • The teacher provides direct instruction in strategies to assist students to acquire new information and learn skills; e.g., activating prior knowledge or think-alouds.
  • The teacher provides direct instruction in strategies to store and retrieve information by pairing new information to existing knowledge using a visual device; e.g., mnemonics or concept maps.
  • The teacher provides direct instruction in test-taking strategies which focuses attention on critical aspects of test items, question answering, etc.
Lesson plans, observation


Component 5:  Learning is Actively Monitored

Students and teachers are continually assessing effectiveness of lessons.
  • Students are held accountable for completing work on time.
  • Students are held accountable for performance; teacher provides feedback on all assignments.
  • The teacher uses formative assessment to improve instructional methods and student feedback.
  • The teacher systematically collects, graphs, and reviews student data.
Student work, grade books, progress monitoring data


Key Question:   Are classroom activities managed in a proactive, positive and predictable manner so that instructional time is maximized?

Indicator: Classroom Managed to Support Student Engagement

Quality Indicator Description/Look Fors: Comments/Evidence

Component 1:  Organized Physical Setting

Classroom is physically arranged to promote positive interactions.
  • The physical arrangement of the room minimizes crowding and distraction.
  • Classroom design (i.e., placement of furniture, traffic flow) allows physical and visual access to materials for all students.
  • Students have a clear view of the teacher, and vice versa, at all times.
  • Classroom arrangement allows the teacher to be in close proximity to students with special needs and behavioral difficulties.
  • Classroom design has clearly defined spaces within the classroom that are used for different purposes.
  • Classroom arrangement has different seating arrangements designed to match activities.
  • Signs are posted in the room stating behavioral expectations in positive terms.
Posters, observation, accessibility walk-through


Component 2:  Behavior Expectations Established and Taught

There is a system in place to establish and teach clear rules, procedures  and consequences.
  • Classroom behavioral expectations are consistent with school-wide expectations.
  • A small number (3 – 5) of classroom behavioral expectations are defined.
  • When possible, students and classroom staff are partners in the development of the behavioral expectations.
  • Behavioral expectations are positively stated and easily understood.
  • Behavior expectations are directly and systematically taught.
  • Behavioral expectations are reviewed frequently and posted about the room.
  • The teacher provides precorrection and prompting for behavior expectations as well as ongoing feedback.
  • Students know the acknowledgements for appropriate behavior, as well as the consequences for inappropriate behavior.
Lesson plans, posters, classroom rules or behavioral matrices, observation, student interviews, classroom list of acknowledgements and consequences


Component 3:  Behavior is Monitored

The teacher actively supervises the classroom, including watching for behaviors to acknowledge and behaviors to correct.
  • The teacher engages all children and calls students by name.
  • The teacher knows what the students are doing and what is going on in the classroom.
  • The teacher moves around the classroom at regular intervals.
  • Teacher is able to anticipate and prepare for potential behavioral issues.
  • The teacher actively supervises and monitors by scanning/looking around, interacting frequently with students, correcting errors and providing acknowledgements for behavior consistent with expectations.
  • Behavioral interruptions are dealt with quickly with little or no interruption to the learning process.


Component 4:  Planned Responses to Appropriate Behavior

Students are acknowledged for demonstrating expected behaviors.
  • The teacher provides specific praise for specific academic and social behaviors linked to classroom expectations.
  • Acknowledgement for appropriate behavior occurs four times as frequently as acknowledgement for inappropriate behavior.
  • The teacher uses a wide repertoire of acknowledgements (e.g., tangible, verbal, social, activities) that are valued by the students.
  • Acknowledgements are delivered to individuals, small groups and/or the whole class.
  • Acknowledgements are attainable by students at all levels.
  • Students can verbalize their successes.
Acknowledgement menu, acknowledgement data, student interviews


Component 5:  Planned Responses to Inappropriate Behavior

Students clearly see the connection between the inappropriate behavior and its consequences.
  • Consequences have clear connections to student behavior.
  • Consequences are always paired with reteaching of appropriate behavior.
  • Consequences are commensurate with the inappropriate behavior.
  • Consequences are delivered promptly, consistently and equitably.
  • Punishment occurs only in the context of a strong program of teaching behavior and providing positive consequences for appropriate behavior.
  • Punishment is administered matter-of-factly without anger, threats or moralizing.
Office discipline referrals, behavioral data, observation, student interviews


Component 6:  Transitions are Managed

Classroom transition time results in very few discipline issues, and students move to and from their activities successfully.
  • Transition time is kept to a minimum and results in minimal loss of instructional time.
  • The teacher provides instruction and practice in transition procedures at the beginning of the year.
  • The teacher use cues to signal upcoming transitions.
  • Transition procedures are reviewed and retaught as needed throughout the year.
Observation, lesson plans


Key Question:   Do students receive support in learning to manage their own behavior?

Indicator: Direct Instruction in Student Behavioral Self-Management

Quality Indicator Description/Look Fors: Comments/Evidence

Component 1:  Promotion of Self-Regulation

Students learn to initiate, persevere and complete tasks, to monitor and change behavior, and to plan future behavior when faced with new situations.
  • The teacher provides direct instruction in self- management, self-reinforcement, self-evaluation, self-instruction and self-talk.
  • The teacher provides opportunities for students to practice setting personal short- and long-term behavioral goals.
  • The teacher and students have a system in place to provide feedback on goals.
  • The teacher uses signals and cues to alert students to assess and monitor their own behavior.
  • The teacher provides opportunities for students to measure their own progress and chart their successes.
Observation, lesson plans, behavioral charts, student interviews


Component 2:  Promoting Thinking about Behavior

Teacher encourages, and students engage in, systematic problem-solving about behavior.
  • The teacher provides direct instruction in problem solving strategies for decision-making, exploration, classification, and hypothesizing about behavior.
  • The teacher allows/encourages students to engage in problem solving model.
  • The teacher provides think-aloud demonstrations about behavior and social problem-solving.
  • The teacher encourages students to talk about their thinking about their behavior; i.e., discuss what they know and don’t know, participate in paired problem-solving, write in a thinking journal.
  • The teacher poses questions about behavioral and social situations which promote thinking.
  • Teacher allows wait time when eliciting a response after a student has been questioned.
Lesson plans, observation, student interviews


Key Question:   Are teachers supported in developing and implementing effective classroom management strategies?

Indicator:  Professional Development/District Support

Quality Indicator Description/Look Fors: Comments/Evidence
Teachers are supported in developing and implementing evidence-based classroom management strategies by the district and school leadership.
  • District/school prioritizes the establishment of and training in School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS).
  • At the beginning of the year, teachers collaborate on shared student expectations and management strategies.
  • New teachers receive training in SWPBS, classroom management, and individual student support in their first year.
  • School administrators and leaders support and participate in training on Positive Behavior Support.
  • Teacher personnel development plans include specific goals related to the use of positive classroom management strategies.
  • Teachers receive specific and timely feedback on their provision of SWPBS.
  • The need for targeting additional professional development is determined based on the collection and analysis of school wide behavioral data.
PDP, QIP, training schedules, school and district improvement plans


Selected Bibliography

Alladay, A.  (2011).  Responsive management: practical strategies for avoiding overreacting to minor misbehavior.  Intervention in School and Clinic.  46(5), 292-298.  This article describes the need for predetermined responses to minor behaviors to prevent minor occurrences from developing into confrontations.

Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of educational objectives: Complete edition, New York : Longman.

Blakey, E., & Spence, S. (1990).  Developing metacognition.  ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources.

Bondy, E., Ross,D.Gallingane,C., & Hambacher,E. (2007). Creating environments of success and resilience: Culturally responsive classroom management and more. (abstractexternal documentUrban Education, 42(4), pp. 326-348. The authors use the strategies implemented by three novice urban teachers to demonstrate effective culturally-responsive classroom management. 

Capizzi, A.(2009).  Start the year off right: designing and evaluation a supportive classroom management plan.  Focus on Exceptional Children.  (12).  This article is a combination of a literature review as well as a classroom management self-evaluation tool that could be used by a SESIS or a classroom teacher.

Conroy, M. Sutherland, K. Snyder, A. & Marsh, S.  (2008). Classwide interventions effective instruction makes a difference.  Teaching Exceptional Children, (40) 24-30. Literature review of effective instructional strategies to address problem behaviors in the classroom.

Colvin, G., Sugai, G., Good, R. & Lee, Y. (1997). Using active supervision and precorrection to improve transition behaviors in an elementary school. School Psychology Quarterly, 12, 344-363.

Colvin, G., Sugai, G. & Patching, W. (1993). Precorrection: An instructional approach for managing predictable problem behaviors. Intervention in School and Clinic, 28, 143-150.

ERIC Digest #E408.  (1990).  Managing Inappropriate Behavior in the Classroomexternal document. Reston, VA:  ERIC Clearinghouse on Handicapped and Gifted Children.

Evertson, C.M., Ed. & Weinstein, C.S., Ed.  (2006)  Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (abstractexternal document).  NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Fairbanks, S., Simonsen, B. & Sugai, G.  (2008) Classwide secondary and tertiary tier practices and systems.  Teaching Exceptional Children  40(6), 44-52.  This articles describes details surrounding secondary and tertiary PBIS practices as they pertain to the classroom.

Fox, L., & Garrison, S. (2003).  Helping children learn to manage their own behavior.  What Works Briefs. (Report No-7).  Champaign, IL: Center on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Jeffrey, J. McCurdy, B. Eweing, S. & Polis, D.  (2009).  Classwide PBIS for students with EBD: initial evaluation of integrity tool.  Education and Treatment of Children, (14), 537. Research study on the impact of performance feedback on student behavior.  The purpose of the study was to develop a tool for increased implementation of classroom management practices that were similar to the RtI model.

Lewis, T., Sugai, G. & Colvin, G. (2000). The effects of precorrective and active supervision on the recess behavior or elementary students. Education and Treatment of Children, 23(2), 109-121.

Miller, G., & Hall, T. (2005). Classroom managementexternal document. Wakefield, MA: National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum.

Milner, H., Tenore, F.  (2010).  Classroom Management in Diverse Classrooms.  Urban Education.  45(5) 560-603.  This article presents the CRCM strategies used by two urban middle school teachers.  The vignettes are used to illustrate the idea that there are many ways to establish relationships and acknowledge culture.

Mitchem, K., Young, R., West, R. & Benyo, J.  (2001). CWPASM: a classwide peer-assisted self-management program for general education classrooms.  Education and Treatment of Children.  41(2).  This article describes the parameters and impact of a classwide, student- monitored behavioral system. 

Monroe, C. (2005).  The cultural context of ‘disruptive behaviour’: An overview of research considerations for school educators. (abstractexternal document)  Improving Schools, 8(2), pp. 153-159.

Morrison, J. & Jones, K.  (2001).  The effects of positive peer reporting as a class-wide positive behavior support.  Journal of Behaivoral Education.  16(2), 111-124.  This article provides a description as well as empirical support for using positive peer reporting in a classroom setting.

Murdick, N.L., & Petch-Hogan, B. (1996).  Inclusive classroom management using preintervention strategies.  Intervention in School and Clinic, 31, 172-176.

Myles, B.S., Trautman, M.L., & Schelvan, R.L. (2004).  The hidden curriculum: practical solutions for understanding unstated rules in social situations.  Shawnee Mission, KS:  Autism Asperger Publishing Co.

Oliver, R.M. & Reschly, D.J. (2007)  Effective Classroom Management:  Teacher preparation and professional developmentexternal document.  DC:  National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Development.

Simonsen, B., Fairbanks, S. Briesch, A., Myers, D. & Sugai, G.  (2008).  Evidence-based practices in classroom management: considerations for research to practice.  Education and Treatment of Children. 31(3), 351-380.  This article is a literature review of best practices as they relate to classroom management, including a list of references on each strategy.

Trumbull, E., Rothstein-Fisch, C., & Greenfield, P. M. (2000). Bridging Cultures in Our Schools: new approaches that  work. California: WestEd.  This article outlines the need to recognize and acknowledge cultural differences when communicating with families and the community.  There are specific examples as well as suggestions for practice.

Trussell, R.  (2008).  Classroom universals to prevent problem behaviors.  Intervention in School and Clinic.  43(3), 179-185.  The purpose of this article is to provide descriptions and examples of organizational and instructional practices and how they help create a safe and productive learning environment.

Weinstein, C., Curran, M., Tomlinson-Clarke, S.  (2003). Culturally responsive classroom managements: awareness into action.  Theory into Practice (42.4)  269-276. The focus of this article is specific to classroom organization and management in a culturally diverse setting.

Weinstein, C., Tomlinson-Clarkem, S. & Curran, M.  (2004).  Toward a conception of culturally responsive classroom management. (abstractexternal document)  Journal of Teacher Education, 55( 1), pp. 25-38.

Last Updated: June 3, 2014