Child raising his hand in class

Checking in on school behavior

David Klingbeil

The challenge of teaching a classroom of students is magnified when some students are disruptive or not paying attention. David Klingbeil’s research aims to ease that burden by helping schools help students improve their behavior and academic results.

Klingbeil is in the midst of a project with Milwaukee Public Schools, where he’s studying a modified version of the popular Check-In/Check-Out program, or CICO.

“It’s an intervention for students who demonstrate mild problem behaviors,” says Klingbeil, an assistant professor of educational psychology in UWM’s School of Education.

CICO uses a daily point card to help students, teachers, parents and counselors track how students are doing on specific behavior goals. Students check in at the beginning of the day and pick up the cards. They check out at day’s end with a completed card that’s taken home for parents to sign. Throughout the day, teachers provide feedback and positive encouragement to help keep students on track.

Klingbeil wants to know whether CICO can be improved by incorporating specific supports designed to change specific behaviors.

For example, if a student is always out of his seat or talking to friends across the room, a teacher might hypothesize the behavior shows a need for peer attention. The school’s intervention team would work with the teacher on ways to reinforce proper behavior. This could include having the student work with friends on an assignment if he meets the behavior goals.

Klingbeil is studying CICO in 50 Milwaukee Public Schools. Half are using the traditional method and the other half are using the modified version. Klingbeil worked with the district to develop training for school staff.

Klingbeil will provide MPS full results and feedback on schools that implemented the modified CICO program.