Education Endowment Foundation:The Good Behaviour Game

The Good Behaviour Game

Mentor UK
Implementation costThe cost estimates in the Toolkits are based on the average cost of delivering the intervention.
Evidence strengthThis rating provides an overall estimate of the robustness of the evidence, to help support professional decision-making in schools.
Impact (months)The impact measure shows the number of additional months of progress made, on average, by children and young people who received the intervention, compared to similar children and young people who did not.
Project info

Independent Evaluator

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University of Manchester
Testing the impact of an intervention to improve behaviour in primary education
Pupils: 3084 Schools: 77 Grant: £820k
Key Stage: 2 Duration: 4 year(s) 6 month(s) Type of Trial: Efficacy Trial
Completed July 2018

The Good Behaviour Game (GBG) is a classroom management approach designed to improve student behaviour and build confidence and resilience. The game is played in groups and rewards students for good behaviour

Behaviour is a major concern for both teachers and students. EEF funded this project because GBG is an established programme, and previous evidence suggests it can improve behaviour, and may have a longer-term impact on attainment.

This trial found no evidence that GBG improves pupils’ reading skills or their behaviour (concentration, disruptive behaviour and pro-social behaviour) on average. There was also no effect found on teacher outcomes such as stress and teacher retention. However, there was some tentative evidence that boys at-risk of developing conduct problems showed improvements in behaviour

Most classes in the trial played the game less often and for shorter time periods than recommended, and a quarter of schools stopped before the end of the trial. However, classes who followed the programme closely did not get better results.

GBG is strictly manualised and this raised some challenges. In particular, some teachers felt the rule that they should not interact with students during the game was difficult for students with additional needs, and while some found that students got used to the challenge and thrived, others found the removal of their support counter-productive. The EEF will continue to look for effective programmes which support classroom management.

  1. We found no evidence that the GBG improves pupils’ reading. This result has a high security rating.
  2. We found no evidence that the GBG improves pupils’ behaviour (specifically, concentration problems, disruptive behaviour, and pro-social behaviour).
  3. Implementation was variable and in particular, the frequency and duration with which the GBG was played did not reach the levels expected by the developer. One-quarter of schools in the intervention arm ceased implementation before the end of the trial.
  4. Higher levels of pupil engagement with the game were associated with improved reading, concentration, and disruptive behaviour scores at follow-up. There was no clear evidence that other aspects of implementation (for example, how well or how frequently the game was played) were related to whether pupil outcomes improved. These results were sensitive to changes in how we analysed the data, and so should be interpreted with caution.
  5. There was tentative evidence that boys identified as at-risk of developing conduct problems at the beginning of the project benefitted from the GBG. For these children, small reductions in concentration problems and disruptive behaviour were observed.
ImpactThe size of the difference between pupils in this trial and other pupils
SecurityHow confident are we in this result?
Months' progress
Reading (FSM)
Months' progress