The bulk of PBIS supports fall within Tier 1. Schools begin at Tier 1 by creating a behavior matrix outlining the positive behaviors that they wish to establish schoolwide. Depending on the school, positive behaviors might include simple actions such as walking calmly in line, throwing away trash in the cafeteria, or keeping a neat and tidy locker. As the school staff and students focus on these behavioral goals, negative behaviors begin to lessen. And because teachers are spending less time in disciplining students, instructional time increases.
Approximately 80% of students never need to move beyond Tier 1 in interventions and support.
Characteristics of Tier 1 – Universal or Primary Prevention:
- For all students, staff members, and settings
- Designed to reduce problem behaviors
- Increases instructional time
Tier 2 – Some Students
For that subset of students (roughly 15%) who struggle with the Tier 1 interventions and supports, Tier 2 addresses at-risk behavior. The specialized interventions and supports at the Tier 2 level help to prevent the worsening of problem behaviors.
These efforts focus on specific groups of students and the underlying issues that may be causing the behavior. Disruptive students may be dealing with social, emotional, or academic issues that result in poor behavior in the classroom. Tier 2 interventions parse out the hidden causes behind negative behavior and provide support in changing those behaviors.
Characteristics of Tier 2 – Secondary Prevention:
- Group supports for some students
- Specialized interventions for students demonstrating at-risk behavior
- Prevents worsening of problem behaviors
Tier 3 – Few Students
Students who do not respond to the interventions and support in Tier 2 receive further individualized supports in Tier 3. These interventions target students who exhibit high-risk behavior. Such interventions might take the form of an individual plan created to address specific academic or behavioral concerns.
The individualized plan for each student at this level may include efforts by special education teachers or school psychologists. Typically, less than 5% of students require Tier 3 interventions.
Characteristics of Tier 3 – Tertiary Prevention:
- Individual support for a few students
- Specialized interventions for students with high-risk behavior
- Designed to reduce severity of ongoing problem behaviors