School-Based Intervention Idea from


Use 'Response Cost'  (DuPaul & Stoner, 2002; Martens & Meller, 1990)

A strategy to reduce distracting verbal or motor behaviors is to use 'response cost': first awarding points or tokens and then deducting those points or tokens whenever the behavior distracts other students.

Here is a simple version that you can use in your classroom: Award the student a certain number of 'behavior points' (e.g., 5) at the start of each class period and write a series of tally marks on the blackboard that corresponds to this number. Privately inform the student that each time that he or she engages in verbal or motor behaviors that obviously distract other students (e.g., cause them to comment on the behavior), you will silently go to the board and erase one point from the student's total. At the end of each class period, the student is allowed to keep any 'behavior points' that remain. Let the student know that he or she can collect points across multiple days and eventually redeem a certain number of collected 'behavior points' for prizes or privileges (e.g., extra free time).


DuPaul & Stoner, 2002 DuPaul, G.J., & Stoner, G. (2002). Interventions for attention problems. In M. Shinn, H.M. Walker, & G. Stoner (Eds.) Interventions for academic and behavioral problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp. 913-938). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Martens, B.K., & Meller, P.J. (1990). The application of behavioral principles to educational settings. In T.B. Gutkin & C.R.Reynolds (Eds.), The handbook of school psychology (2nd ed.) (pp. 612-634). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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