Promising Programs – Behavioral Modification and Reinforcement Program

Type Target Age Group Setting Outcomes
Delinquency & Recidivism Middle School Classroom Less self-reported delinquency, school-based problems and unemployment
Fewer county court records than peers


The Behavioral Monitoring and Reinforcement Program is a school-based, early intervention program borne from earlier work on behavior modification and teaching thinking skills. The program, which was originally called the Early Secondary Intervention Program, targets seventh and eighth graders and includes the following components:

  • Collecting Up-To-Date Information about Each Student's Actions. Experimenters enter the school each week, record the daily attendance and discipline referrals of program participants, and complete individual "Weekly Report Cards" for each student based on information gained in teacher interviews. During these interviews, teachers are asked whether students had done the following things during the previous week: (a) came to class on time, (b) brought materials needed for classwork, (c) done the classwork, (d) exhibited satisfactory behavior, and (e) done homework, if it was assigned.
  • Providing Systematic Feedback. Experimenters meet weekly with students in small groups (five to seven students). The "Weekly Report Cards" are distributed and discussed individually. Positive teacher ratings are praised and negative ratings lead to discussions of what the student can do to improve that teacher's impression of his or her behavior. Parents are often contacted throughout the program, by letter, telephone, and home visits, to inform them about their child's progress.
  • Attaching Value to the Student's Actions. Students receive a point for every day that they come to school, arrive on time, and receive no disciplinary action, and for each positive rating they receive on their "Weekly Report Cards." At the end of meetings, students are also given points for obeying specific meeting rules, such as not laughing at or criticizing other people, not touching other people or their possessions, and not talking while others are talking. Students accumulate their points during the year to earn an extra school trip of their own choosing. Following the two-year intervention, students are invited to biweekly booster sessions, which follow the same format as the original intervention.

Target Population

The program is designed for students who are capable of graduating from high school, but whose teachers fear they will not graduate. The students need to have reasonably good attendance (2-3 days per week) because the program is a school-based program.

For more Information or to find Technical Assistance, visit:

Dr. Brenna Hafer Bry, Ph.D.
Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology
Rutgers University