New meta-analysis on classroom management interventions who make a difference

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief, with some new interesting Dutch research, such as this meta-analysis with some interesting effects – and even more important missing significant effects:

A meta-analysis of classroom management interventions has found that they improved academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes.

Published in the Review of Educational Research, the study included 54 classroom management interventions in 47 studies published between 2003 and 2013. It included some interventions that had been evaluated several times (including Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS), the Good Behavior Game, and Zippy’s Friends). About three-quarters of the studies were carried out in the U.S., with the remainder in Europe and Canada.

Most interventions were focused on changing students’ behavior (85%), improving students’ social-emotional development (74%), or changing teachers’ behavior (54%). Only two interventions were specifically targeted to improving teacher-student relationships.

The analysis found an overall effect size of +0.22 for the interventions, with a slightly higher effect on behavior (+0.24), and less on social-emotional (+0.21) and academic (+0.17) outcomes. There was no significant effect on motivational outcomes. The analysis also indicated that interventions focused on social-emotional development of the students were somewhat more effective than those without that component.

Abstract of the study:

This meta-analysis examined which classroom management strategies and programs enhanced students’ academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and motivational outcomes in primary education. The analysis included 54 random and nonrandom controlled intervention studies published in the past decade (2003–2013). Results showed small but significant effects (average g = 0.22) on all outcomes, except for motivational outcomes. Programs were coded for the presence/absence of four categories of strategies: focusing on the teacher, on student behavior, on students’ social-emotional development, and on teacher–student relationships. Focusing on the students’ social-emotional development appeared to have the largest contribution to the interventions’ effectiveness, in particular on the social-emotional outcomes. Moreover, we found a tentative result that students’ academic outcomes benefitted from teacher-focused programs.

2 thoughts on “New meta-analysis on classroom management interventions who make a difference

  1. Thank you for highlighting the meta-analysis. One is additionally important is that PATHS, PAX Good Behavior Game ( ( and some other strategies have multiple replications, including effectiveness trials in the United States, Canada and Europe. For example Manitoba is finding results for the commercialized version of GBG (PAX GBG) in randomized-longitudinal policy implementation involving almost all grade one classrooms ( and county-wide effectiveness trial in Ohio math and reading scores ( An effectiveness demonstration shows potent results in Ireland on mental health outcomes (see

    It’s not just that the original research is powerful like our colleagues studies on both PATHS and PAX GBG at Hopkins. It’s the fact that one can get real-world practical results when the strategies are used diverse contexts, cultures, and people.

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