Tier 1

A conceptual map of three overlapping circles labeled Systems, Data and Practices inside a larger circle labeled Outcomes. On the outside circle are four arrows labeled Cultural Equity, Cultural Validity, Cultural Relevance and Cultural Knowledge.
Integrated Elements of PBIS – Data, Systems, Practices Leading to Outcomes

Primary Prevention

Tier 1 is aimed at preventing behavior problems from developing.


Use of a multi-tier model of service delivery

PBIS uses an efficient, needs-driven resource deployment system to match behavioral resources with student needs. To achieve high rates of student success for all students, instruction in the schools must be differentiated in both nature and intensity. To efficiently differentiate behavioral instruction for all students, PBIS uses tiered models of service delivery.

Development of Behavioral Expectations

A picture of the wall in PS/MS 194 showing PBIS in large letters with a poster beneath with two images of the Tiger mascot saying From K-8 We Are Great .
A PBIS Mascot can help students remember and demonstrate PBIS Behavioral Expectations.

A core component of the School-Wide PBIS (SWPBIS) is positive behavioral expectations. Positive behavioral expectations are guidelines and routines that are taught in order to encourage appropriate behavior and prevent inappropriate behavior. A school’s behavioral expectations form the building blocks for a positive school environment that is conducive to academic achievement.

Generally, research indicates that schools should utilize  3 to 5  behavioral expectations that are positively stated and posted throughout the school. These expectations should be clear and general enough to apply to all school settings (e.g. classroom, hallways, playgrounds).


Use of data to make decisions

Data-based decision making regarding a student’s response to an intervention is central to PBIS practices. Decisions in PBIS are based on professional judgment informed directly by student office discipline referral data and performance data. This principle requires that ongoing data collection systems are utilized to engage in progress monitoring and that resulting data is used to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of behavioral interventions.

Monitor student progress to inform interventions

The only method to determine if a student is improving is to monitor the student’s progress.  It is recommended to use assessments that can be collected frequently and that are sensitive to small changes in student behavior.  Determining the effectiveness (or lack of) an intervention is important to maximize the impact for the student.

Utilize assessments for different purposes

In PBIS, three types of assessments are used:

  • Screening of data to identify individuals who may need additional supports by comparing total office discipline referrals (i.e. examining referrals by day and month)
  • Diagnostic assessments to determine what time of day most problems occur, what types of behaviors occur frequently, and the locations where these behaviors are happening
  • Progress monitoring to determine if specific behavioral interventions are producing the desired effect


We can effectively teach appropriate behavior to all children

All PBIS practices are founded on the assumption and belief that all children can exhibit appropriate behavior. As a result, it is our responsibility to identify the contextual setting events and environmental conditions that enable exhibition of appropriate behavior. We then must determine the means and systems to provide those resources.

Behavioral expectations should be taught and reinforced. The instruction should include modeling, explicit directions, rehearsal, opportunities for practice, feedback and reinforcement.  Expectations specific to different settings should be taught within that environment. For example, cafeteria expectations should be taught in the cafeteria.

It is the responsibility of staff to define, teach, remind, celebrate and correct student behavior as related to the defined expectations. Pairing explicit instruction with consistent reinforcement is a more effective and positive approach to creating an atmosphere where appropriate social behavior becomes an established norm.  Research has found that inconsistent responses to inappropriate behaviors and an over-reliance on punishment do not generally result in a decrease of the inappropriate behavior.

Intervene early

It is best practice to intervene before targeted behaviors occur. If we intervene before problematic behaviors escalate, the interventions are much more manageable. Highly effective universal interventions in the early stages of implementation which are informed by time sensitive continuous progress monitoring, enjoy strong empirical support for their effectiveness with at-risk students.

Use research-based, scientifically validated interventions to the extent available

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires the use of scientifically based curricula and interventions. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that students are exposed to curriculum and teaching that has demonstrated effectiveness for the type of student and the setting. Research-based, scientifically validated interventions provide our best opportunity to implement strategies that will be effective for the majority of students.