The Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a school intervention that motivates students to have better behavior through winning rewards on a team for positive behaviors. Many prior studies have found significant positive impacts of GBG on student and school outcomes. However, a recent study from Ashworth and colleagues found no effects on behavior from this intervention.
Ashworth and colleagues specifically studied GBG in a 2-year randomized control trial among 3,084 6-7 year old children in 77 UK primary schools. The results showed that:
- This study found no overall effects on student disruptive behavior, concentration problems, nor pro-social behavior (as observed by teachers).
- Additionally, the study found no subgroup effects either on demographic factors (such as being male) or based on cumulative risk.
- The study also found no effect based on how much the program was implemented by teachers.
The authors hypothesize that this lack of an effect may be due to the British cultural context (lack of adaptation and little room for improvement). Alternatively the authors propose that prior studies of GBG have not looked at these particular behavioral outcomes, which are key to GBG theory. Although less promising for GBG, this study helps add to the larger picture of how it works, and potentially the limits of its effective applications in schools.
Source: Ashworth, E., Humphrey, N., & Hennessey, A. (2020). Game over? No main or subgroup effects of the Good Behavior Game in a randomized trial in English primary schools. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 13(2), 298-321.