(240)-343-2585

 PLEASE FOCUS ON PRIMARY GRADES K-2 Below are the two scoring rubrics for the following two separate sections of you CMP & P: 

1. CMPP: Establishing Rules/ Expectations 

2. CMPP: Establishing Routines and Procedures NOTE: Each section of this Critical Task should be a minimum of 1 page and a maximum of 1 page.. 

Please adhere to this limit, so that your final compiled paper in manageable. Please use your own peer reviewed sources or those in the RESOURCE MODULE to cite peer reviewed support for your thoughts and statements in APA style. Each section of this assignment must have multiple cited research sources. Establishing Rules/Expectations FL-FEAP-2013.2.a.2.b The management plan clearly articulates 4-6 classroom rules and standards of behavior appropriate for the given grade level/subject area. All rules/expectations developed according to best practice guidelines. Cite support sources in APA Style. There are minor errors in the work, but the candidate is likely to self-correct over time. There is at least one major error in the work which shows a lack of understanding of the concept. Establishing Routines & Procedures FL-FEAP-2013.2.a.2.a The plan includes a detailed desсrіption of 3 procedures/routines and explanation of how the teacher candidate plans to teach the procedures. Cite support sources in APA Style. There are minor errors in the work, but the candidate is likely to self-correct over time. There is at least one major error in the work which shows a lack of understanding of the concept. Format and Conventions All assignment components are included. Assigned format is observed. Writing is clear, coherent, and concise, with few or no grammatical or mechanical errors. Uses support sources and cites in APA Style. Includes a List of References in APA. There are minor errors in the work, but the candidate is likely to self-correct over time. There is at least one major error in the work which shows a lack of understanding of the concept. 

See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315628091

Characteristics of Effective Classroom Rules: A Review of the

Literature

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Article

Teachers frequently identify difficulty managing
classroom behavior as a major problem in their
classrooms. Verbal disruptions, noncompliance,
and being off-task (i.e., disengaged) are the most
frequently identified challenging behaviors, and
assistance with classroom management is the
most frequent request made by teachers (Alter,
Walker, & Landers, 2013; Rose & Gallup,
2005). Ineffective classroom management has
deleterious effects on the overall classroom
environment, affecting students’ social and aca-
demic outcomes and teachers’ self-efficacy,
attrition, and burnout (Algozzine, Wang, & Vio-
lette, 2011; Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Kokkinos,
Panayiotou, & Davazoglou, 2005).

Low teacher job satisfaction has been iden-
tified as a factor related to teacher attrition,

absenteeism, burnout, and decreased student
achievement (Perrachione, Rosser, &
Petersen, 2008). Nationally representative
findings from the School and Staffing Survey
conducted by the National Center for Educa-
tion Statistics indicated that student discipline
problems were the second most frequently
cited reason after salary for teacher dissatis-
faction (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003). In fact,
10% of surveyed teachers, who left the field,

700962TESXXX10.1177/0888406417700962Alter and HaydonAlter and Haydon
research-article2017

1Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA, USA
2University of Cincinnati, OH, USA

Corresponding Author:
Peter Alter, Saint Mary’s College of California, P.O. Box
4350, Moraga, CA 94575, USA.
Email: [email protected]

Characteristics of Effective
Classroom Rules: A Review
of the Literature

Peter Alter1 and Todd Haydon2

Abstract
Difficulty managing classroom behavior is a frequently recognized problem for teachers,
especially teachers early in their careers. Classroom rules are identified as an integral part
of effective classroom management as they are relatively simple to implement and focus on
preventing challenging behaviors before they occur. Sources such as classroom management
textbooks and practitioner-oriented journal articles recommend a number of characteristics
that make classroom rules effective; unfortunately, these sources have not been uniform
in their recommendations. The purpose of this review of effective practices is to compare
what information teachers are being given either in their preservice coursework or in-service
training via textbooks and practitioner-oriented articles with actual empirical research that
used classroom rules as an independent variable. Results indicated that the two most important
characteristics of effective classroom rules are teaching the rules to students and tying rules
to positive and/or negative consequences. Other characteristics recommended in secondary
sources remain equivocal in the research. Implications for effective teacher preparation in
classroom management are discussed.

Keywords
positive behavior supports, teacher preparation practices and outcomes, behavior management,
emotional and behavioral disabilities

2 Teacher Education and Special Education

left because of school discipline issues (Inger-
soll & Smith, 2003). Other investigations
reveal similar findings, as student behavior
remains one of the top three concerns for leav-
ing the profession (Gonzalez, Brown, & Slate,
2008). Considering the importance of effec-
tive classroom management for teacher reten-
tion and students’ academic achievement
(Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1994), it is logi-
cal to examine the information that teachers
are given in their preservice preparation and
in-service trainings.

The grim state of teacher preparation in
effective classroom management has been
well-documented. In 2010, Oliver and
Reschly described the programmatic
approaches to teaching effective classroom
management as inconsistent, with only
seven out of 26 programs devoting an entire
class to classroom management. Further-
more, in their review, programs tended to
emphasize reactive behavior reduction pro-
cedures. Consistent with these findings,
Freeman, Simonsen, Briere, and MacSuga-
Gage (2014) also noted that “a significant
gap exists between the effective classroom
management research base and teacher train-
ing” (p. 107). To begin to address this gap, it
is imperative to compare the practices that
are being recommended in teacher prepara-
tion with what has been established through
empirical research. This information is most
likely to be communicated in classroom
management textbooks and practitioner-ori-
ented articles. Implementing classroom
rules is a common recommendation as a
foundation for effective classroom manage-
ment in both of these sources; this is logical
as they are relatively simple to implement
and focus on preventing challenging behav-
iors before they occur.

Classroom rules are defined as the state-
ments that teachers present to describe
acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
Within multitiered systems of support such
as School-Wide Positive Behavior Interven-
tions and Supports (SW-PBIS), the establish-
ment of enforceable rules that are taught to
students is regarded as a fundamental part of
this system (Reinke, Herman, & Stormont,

2013). While the classroom is not specifi-
cally discussed within the typical Positive
Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
framework, clear rules are one of the “basics”
of effective management and an integral part
of a management system that combines more
globally stated expectations (e.g., “Be
respectful”) as well as the routines that con-
stitute effective functioning (Gable, Hester,
Rock, & Hughes, 2009). As noted by Alberto
and Troutman (2013), all classrooms have
rules but whether they are made explicit
depends on the teacher.

If the classroom is described as a microcosm
of society, rules provide the structure for how
students see the classroom world and their place
in it (Boostrom, 1991; Maag, 2004). They rep-
resent a social contract established between the
teacher and the students. In fact, their creation
and implementation are the first and second rec-
ommendations in the article titled “20 Ways to
Be Proactive in Managing Classroom Behav-
ior” (Babkie, 2006). In highlighting the impor-
tance of classroom rules, Bicard (2000) also
described them as cost-effective in that they are
very easily implemented and focus on the pre-
vention of challenging behaviors before they
occur, thus saving time, effort, and potentially
resources. In a commissioned report titled
“Training Our Future Teachers: Classroom
Management,” Greenberg, Putman, and Walsh
(2014) described classroom rules as one of the
“Big Five” strategies in a list that also included
routines, praise, consequences for misbehavior,
and engagement.

Classroom management textbooks, litera-
ture reviews, and practitioner-based articles
have devoted considerable effort to describing
the characteristics of effective classroom
rules. Unfortunately, this array of secondary
sources has not been uniform in their recom-
mendations. The purpose of this article is first
to examine the recommendations for effec-
tive classroom rules as they appear in non-
empirical based textbooks and other available
secondary sources. Second, the empirical lit-
erature will be examined to determine whether
the identified recommended features of effec-
tive classroom rules are supported by a
research-based foundation. The summative

Alter and Haydon 3

goal is to determine what characteristics of
effective classroom rules have been validated
by research and what characteristics are the
recommendations of experts. This, in turn,
can guide what evidence-based recommenda-
tions are given to teachers, especially preser-
vice teachers in terms of effective classroom
management.

Method

The research question is,

Research Question 1: What characteris-
tics of classroom rules have been demon-
strated through empirical research? A
three-step review process was used to com-
plete this analysis.

First, both empirical and nonempirical
studies were located through the use of five
databases: Academic Search Complete, Edu-
cational Resources Information Center
(ERIC), Proquest, PsycInfo and PsycArticles,
and Web of Science. The following keywords
were used in the search: rules, classroom,
behavior, and management. Additional
searches replaced the word rules with the fol-
lowing terms: expectations, guidelines,
norms, and policies. Second, articles that met
the following initial criteria were included: (a)
the article described the use of classroom
rules for behavior management, (b) the con-
text of the article was a K-12 school
classroom(s), and (c) the study occurred in the
last 50 years (1965-2015). This extended time
frame was used to include three frequently
cited, seminal articles studying classroom
rules that were conducted in the mid-to-late
1960s and represent the beginning of the pro-
cess-product research in classrooms. Articles
that focused on a single specific behavior
(e.g., the use of cell phones) or specific types
of specialized classrooms (e.g., science lab,
music class) were excluded. Third, the articles
that met these initial criteria were then sepa-
rated into nonempirical articles and empirical
studies, and additional inclusion criteria were
applied for both groups.

Review of Nonempirical
Recommendations for Classroom
Rules

The additional inclusion criterion for this set
of articles was that the characteristics of class-
room rules must be described with specificity.
Simply identifying classroom rules as impor-
tant for classroom management was not suf-
ficient for the purpose of this review. An
archival search of journal articles and mono-
graphs discussing classroom rules was under-
taken, along with eight classroom management
textbooks citing original research. This pro-
cess resulted in 11 secondary sources, in addi-
tion to the eight textbooks, including literature
reviews, commissioned reports, program
descriptions, and practitioner-oriented arti-
cles, providing a generally agreed-upon set of
key features associated with the effective use
of classroom rules. If, at least, 50% (10) of the
articles and classroom management textbooks
identified something as a characteristic of
effective classroom rules, then it was included
in the review. Seven general key features were
consistently identified, recommending that
effective classroom rules be: (a) relatively
small in total number, (b) created collabora-
tively with students, (c) stated positively, (d)
specific in nature (e) posted publicly, (f)
taught to students, and (g) clearly tied to posi-
tive and negative consequences. A final com-
ponent to the search process of this review of
effective practices was to conduct an archival
search of all research cited in the nonempiri-
cal articles to determine whether there are any
remaining empirical studies to be included in
the review.

Review of Empirical Studies of
Classroom Rules

For empirical studies, the additional criteria
applied for inclusion in this review: Either the
study must have examined the use of general
classroom rules as an intervention and stu-
dent behavior as the dependent variable or it
was a descriptive study that examined a num-
ber of classrooms and focused on the use of

4 Teacher Education and Special Education

classroom rules in the context of classroom
and behavior management. This entire pro-
cess resulted in 15 studies being identified for
inclusion in this review. One final exclusion
decision was made. Articles that focused on
the Good Behavior Game (GBG) were
excluded from the review for three reasons.
First, while rules that are similar to classroom
rules are implemented with the GBG, in its
most widely applied form, there is an interde-
pendent group contingency component
(Tingstrom, Sterling-Turner, & Wilczynski,
2006). That is, the reward is based on small
group performance as opposed to general
classroom behavior or individual perfor-
mance. Second, within the context of the
GBG, the rules are presented as “rules of the
game” rather than classroom rules that are
applied consistently throughout the school
day. Third, published literature reviews have
already examined the impact of the GBG as a
specific intervention for classroom manage-
ment (see Flower, McKenna, Bunuan,
Muething, & Vega, 2014).

General Study Characteristics

The 15 articles that met inclusion criteria
demonstrated a wide selection in terms of
basic characteristics, including study design,
length of the study, and participant type (i.e., a
focus on teachers or students). In terms of
design, two of the studies are best described as
descriptive because researchers initiated no
intervention. Rather, preliminary observations
established two groups of teachers as more
effective classroom managers and less effec-
tive classroom managers (Emmer, Evertson,
& Anderson, 1980; Evertson & Emmer,
1982). A series of observations of both groups
were then conducted to identify salient differ-
ences in how these classrooms established
and implemented classroom rules.

Three studies are best described as imple-
menting a series of interventions in stages. In
other words, these studies introduced class-
room rules, measured the effects, and then
combined that intervention with increased
structure, increased feedback, ignoring, and
group and individual contingencies (Green-

wood, Hops, Delquadri, & Guild, 1974; Mad-
sen, Becker, & Thomas, 1968; O’Leary,
Becker, Evans, & Saudargas, 1969). Because
the series began with classroom management
strategies, that intervention could be evalu-
ated alone—prior to the addition of subse-
quent interventions. A fourth study compared
classroom rules and active teaching in one
classroom with a classroom syllabus and stu-
dent achievement assessment or a student
self-monitoring system in two other class-
rooms (Johnson, Stoner, & Green, 1996).

The nine remaining studies used classroom
rules as part of a packaged intervention. The
number of other components to the package
intervention ranged from one other compo-
nent such as a student monitoring system or a
token economy (Lohrmann & Talerico, 2004;
Rosenberg, 1986) to four other components
that included the use of precision requests,
teacher movement, mystery motivators, and
response cost (De Martini-Scully, Bray, &
Kehle, 2000; Musser, Bray, Kehle, & Jenson,
2001). The lengths of the studies also varied
with some studies lasting only 3 weeks to oth-
ers lasting an entire school year. The average
length of study is approximately 3 months.
However, this is only an estimate as some
studies did not specify exact dates but used
phrases such as “the beginning (or end) of the
school year” or omitted the length of time of
the study entirely. Finally, the identified par-
ticipants of the study varied, in terms of focus-
ing on teachers or students, as six studies
focused on multiple teachers and their class-
rooms observing a range of 27 to 51 class-
rooms, while four others focused on one or
two classrooms. The remaining five studies
focused on individual students identified as
demonstrating challenging behaviors in class-
rooms with a range of three to seven students
as participants in the study.

Demographics of Selected Studies

All the studies included in the literature
review focused on either the elementary level
(N = 10) or the middle school level (N = 5).
There were no studies that evaluated the use
of classroom rules at the high school level.

Alter and Haydon 5

Minimal demographic data were reported for
the larger multiclassroom studies that focused
on the teachers. For the five studies that
focused on individual students, the age range
was from 6 years to 10 years with an average
age of 8.07 years (when only grade level was
reported, it was converted as Kindergarten—6
years old and second grade—8 years old).
Only two studies specifically addressed stu-
dents in special education. Musser and col-
leagues (2001) intervened for three students
identified as having serious emotional distur-
bance (SED) and Lohrman and Talerico inter-
vened in a classroom of 10 students with eight
students identified as having a specific learn-
ing disability (SLD) and two students identi-
fied as having an intellectual disability (ID).

Results

The seven identified features of effective
classroom rules are detailed below, each fol-
lowed immediately by the empirical evidence
identified from the review of effective prac-
tices. Table 1 presents the 15 empirical studies
and their information on each of the seven
characteristics recommended for effective
classroom rules.

Number of Rules

Having the appropriate number of classroom
rules is commonly identified as an important
feature of effective rules. Whereas the rec-
ommendations from secondary sources vary
in terms of specifying the optimal number of
rules, there is broad consensus that a smaller
number is better than a larger number. For
example, Alberto and Troutman (2013) and
Kerr and Nelson (2010) simply recom-
mended having as few rules as possible.
Similiarly, Simonsen, Fairbanks, Briesch,
Myers, and Sugai (2008) recommended “a
small number” (p. 358). Other recommenda-
tions include three to five (Kostewicz, Ruhl,
& Kubina, 2008), four to five (Gable et al.,
2009; Shores, Gunter, & Jack, 1993), no
more than five (Babkie, 2006), no more than
six (Smith, 2004), and no more than seven
(Maag, 2004). Malone and Tietjens (2000)

cited a research presentation by Howard and
Norris (1994) that found an average of 5.6
classroom rules when investigating two
large school systems; however, they also note
that there is no definitive answer as to how
many rules are sufficient. Other recommen-
dations favor the application of a formula
including “at least three appropriate-behavior
rules for every inappropriate-behavior rule”
(Zirpoli, 2016, p. 311) or establish up to
three classroom rules for every broadly
worded behavior expectation (Scott, Ander-
son, & Alter, 2011).

Empirical evidence for smaller number of
rules. Within the articles included in this lit-
erature review that reported the number of
rules, the number ranged from two to nine,
with an average of 4.67 rules. However, four
of the studies, those completed by Evertson
and colleagues, did not specify the total num-
ber of rules used in different classrooms.
Rather, they noted, in their comparison of
more and less effective behavior managers,
the number of rules teachers had varied widely
and that the number of classroom rules used
did not discriminate between more and less
effective behavior managers.

Created Collaboratively With
Students

A number of secondary sources recommend
soliciting and integrating student input when
creating classroom rules. Jones and Jones
(2016) outlined a multistep iterative process
in which student feedback is gathered,
recorded, discussed and then set as the class-
room rules for the year. Kerr and Nelson
(2010) provided a less detailed explanation on
developing rules but suggested that they “are
more likely to be followed than those that are
autocratic” (p. 207). Burden (2006) and Maag
(2004) made similar recommendations as did
Bicard (2000), recommending an initial
framework of rules as a start and then solicit-
ing input for collaborative construction. Con-
versely, Alberto and Troutman (2013)
recommend against having students play a
role in creating classroom rules.

6

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Alter and Haydon 7

Empirical evidence for collaboratively developed
rules. Only Madsen and colleagues (1968)
suggested that the teachers in their study for-
mulate rules with the class, and no description
as to that process is described. The remaining
studies included in this review did not directly
involve students in creating the rules. How-
ever, in their descriptive study, Emmer and
colleagues (1980) noted that for more effec-
tive classroom managers, “In some cases but
not always, pupils were asked to suggest
rules” (p. 225). In the remaining studies, the
rules were either created by the teacher or cre-
ated collaboratively between the teachers and
researchers.

Stated Positively

Using wording that describes desired behav-
iors rather than undesired behaviors when cre-
ating rules is a frequent recommendation in the
secondary literature. However, how important
and to what extent teachers should follow this
recommendation remains equivocal within
both the secondary sources and the empirical
research. In a selection of classroom manage-
ment textbooks, both Kerr and Nelson (2010)
and Scott et al. (2011) stated that rules should
be stated positively to describe appropriate and
desired behaviors. Similarly in other journal
articles, the same suggestion is made (Bicard,
2000; Gable, Hester, Rock & Hughes, 2009;
Hester, Hendrickson, & Gable, 2009; Simon-
sen et al., 2008). Zirpoli (2016), and Alberto
and Troutman (2013) suggested that rules
should be stated positively whenever possible.
Furthermore, Alberto and Troutman expound
on this by concluding that “keep your saliva in
your mouth” lacked the impact and pellucid
clarity of “don’t spit” (p. 407).

Empirical evidence for stating rules posi-
tively. Within the identified studies, four
authors used only positively stated rules,
although one of those, Madsen et al. (1968),
included only that rules were stated positively
when possible. In the directions to participat-
ing teachers, Madsen et al. provided the
example “‘Sit quietly while working’ rather
than, ‘Don’t talk to your neighbors” (p. 144)

to demonstrate how rules could be phrased
positively. Seven studies used a combination
of positively and negatively stated rules. In
each of these, only one or two of the rules was
stated negatively, with the majority of the list
describing desired behaviors. Finally, four of
the studies did not specify whether rules were
stated positively. However, Evertson and
Emmer (1982) used gum chewing as an exam-
ple, suggesting that rules may have been
stated both positively and negatively.

Specific in Nature

In addition to stating rules positively, recom-
mendations for the phrasing of rules are also
somewhat equivocal. Classroom management
textbooks recommend the use of specific and
observable rules. However, Simonsen et al.
(2008) stated that expectations should be
broad enough to include all desired behaviors
and presented “Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be
Respectful” (p. 358) as an example. Other
resources identify a distinction between
expectations and rules and recommend
extrapolating specific rules from more broadly
stated (and often schoolwide) global expecta-
tions (Kerr & Nelson, 2010; Reinke et al.,
2013; Scott et al., 2011). Smith (2004) used
different terminology but made a similar rec-
ommendation. This textbook refers to these
broader expectations as “principles” and rec-
ommends far more specificity for classroom
rules by warning against …