The Good Behaviour Game
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.
Testing the impact of an intervention to improve behaviour in primary education
University of Manchester
Staff deployment & development
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.
We found no evidence that the GBG improves pupils' reading. This result has a high security rating.
We found no evidence that the GBG improves pupils’ behaviour (specifically, concentration problems, disruptive behaviour, and pro-social behaviour).
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.
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.
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.
Full project description
The aim of the Good Behaviour Game (GBG) is to improve pupil behaviour through the implementation of a behaviour management system with the following core elements: classroom rules, team membership, monitoring of behaviour, and positive reinforcement (rewards). It is a universal intervention and is therefore delivered to all children in a given class by their teacher. Over the course of implementation, it is intended that there is a natural progression in terms of the types of rewards given (from tangible rewards such as stickers to more abstract rewards such as free time), how long the game is played for (from 10 minutes to a whole lesson), at what frequency (from three times a week to every day), and when rewards are given (at the end of the game, the end of the day, and the end of the week). Teachers receive two days of initial training, with one day of follow-up training midway through the first year of implementation. On-going support for implementation is provided by trained GBG coaches employed by the delivery organisation, Mentor UK (who were in turn supported by the American Institutes for Research for this trial).
We used a randomised controlled trial design in which 77 schools were randomly allocated to implement the GBG for two years (38 schools) or continue their normal practices (39 schools). The target cohort was pupils in Year 3 (aged 7-8) in the first year of implementation (N=3084). The project was designed as an efficacy trial. Alongside the assessment of outcomes, we undertook a comprehensive mixed-methods implementation and process evaluation involving observations, interviews and focus groups. Delivery started in September 2015 and concluded in July 2017.