By Sarah Richardson and Claire Murphy, 9/2022

What is Self-Management?                                                                                     

Self-management is a Tier 2 or Tier 3 behavior intervention that can be used with children in grades K-12 in a variety of different settings. This intervention is ideal for children who are struggling with self-management of on-task behaviors. The Self-Management technique outlined here involves giving the student a method to document their own behavior throughout the recording period, and then comparing these recordings with a predetermined standard. The Self-Management intervention can be implemented for as long as it is deemed helpful to the child, determined by progress monitoring and data analysis.  

Components of Self-Management

  • Define clearly the target behaviors that the child will be self-monitoring. These can include behaviors that need to decrease such as calling out, leaving one’s seat without permission, and/or requesting teacher assistance. These can also include behaviors to increase such as focusing on the task, engaging positively with peers, and/or completing a certain amount of work. 

  • Select a format to record behavior; this could be a rating scale, a checklist, or a frequency count. 

  • Discuss the recording method thoroughly with the student. Explicitly go through each item on the form with an explanation of what the desired behavior outcome looks like, and also what the undesired behavior indications look like.  

  • Set recording periods prior to the intervention. Discuss with the student when they will be expected to fill out their recording form. This could be at the end of the day, at the end of multiple periods throughout the day, at fixed intervals (such as every hour), or at the end of a certain activity. 

  • Determine a monitoring cue. This could be in the form of a timer, a buzzer, verbal teacher prompting, or a student-led cue which can be done over time if it is determined to be appropriate/manageable by the student.

  • Set up times to review the recorded data to determine intervention effectiveness and modify if needed. This could be done weekly, monthly, or per reporting period. Results should be discussed with caregivers and anyone else working with the student during the intervention. 

  • Install periodic checks to ensure that the student is recording behaviors accurately and efficiently. 

  • Incorporate positive praise for progress. You could also incorporate goal-setting with a reward given if the goal is met. 

  • Cost: This intervention can be done with no cost to you! If you would like to incorporate rewards with a monetary value, this cost should be considered. 

Evidence of Self-Management Effectiveness

In a study done by Dunlap et al. (1995), researchers examined the effect of Self-Monitoring on two elementary age children (10 and 11 years old) who had been identified with an emotional-disturbance disability. The results indicated that the Self-Monitoring System was highly effective at increasing task engagement while decreasing disruptive behavior. In a study conducted by Rock et al. (2005), researchers took a look at the effect of the Self-Monitoring system on seven elementary-aged students both with and without disabilities. The results of this study indicate that this intervention is effective in enhancing academic performance, fostering self-management, and reducing problem behaviors in both disabled and non-disabled populations. Finally, a study done by Hoff et al. (1998) examined the effect of the implementation of the Self-Monitoring System on three elementary-age students who had been diagnosed with ODD or ADHD. Results not only indicated the reduction of problem behaviors across all subjects, but also indicated that this decrease was maintained in the absence of the teacher. 


Briesch, A. M., & Chafouleas, S. M. (2009). Review and analysis of literature on self-management interventions to promote appropriate classroom behaviors (1988-2008). School Psychology Quarterly, 24(2), 106-118.


Chafouleas, S., Riley-Tillman, C., & Sugai, G. (2007). School-based behavioral assessment: Informing intervention and instruction. New York: Guilford Press.


Dunlap, G., Clarke, S., Jackson, M., Ramos, E., & Brinson, S. (1995). Self-monitoring of classroom behaviors with students exhibiting emotional and behavioral challenges. School Psychology Quarterly, 10, 165-177.


Hoff, K. E., & DuPaul, G. J. (1998). Reducing disruptive behavior in general education classrooms: The use of self-management strategies. School Psychology Review, 27, 290-303. 

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Rafferty, L. A. (2010). Step-by-step: Teaching students to self-monitor. Teaching Exceptional Children, 43(2), 50-58.


Rock, M. L. (2005). Use of strategic self-monitoring to enhance academic engagement, productivity, and accuracy of students with and without exceptionalities. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 7(1), 3-17.


Webber, J., Scheuermann, B., McCall, C., & Coleman, M. (1993). Research on self-monitoring as a behavior management technique in special education classrooms: A descriptive review. Remedial & Special Education, 14(2), 38-56.