Behavior Contracts

What are Behavior Contracts?

Behavior contracts are a negotiated agreement between the adult/teacher and student. The focus is on increasing positive behaviors the teacher wants to see in the classroom by providing daily pre-correction, prompting, and reinforcement of desired behaviors.

Both parties (teacher and student) benefit from the use of a behavior contract: the teacher, by seeing an increase in desired behavior and the student, by earning a reinforcer based on demonstration of desired behavior.

Components of a Behavior Contract

There are several key components that should be included in a behavior contract, including:

  • Discussion and agreement on the desired behaviors and the reinforcers, to ensure all parties agree
  • Description of the desired and expected behaviors to be performed
  • Goal statement specifying by when and under what conditions reinforcer will be earned
  • Identification of the reinforcer(s) to be earned (i.e., The Pay-Off)
  • Signatures from all parties involved
  • Teacher pre-corrects and prompts student on daily basis using the behavior contract

Effective Behavior Contracts

Ineffective Behavior Contracts

  • Negotiated agreement
  • Describes what the student should do (i.e., what are the desired behaviors?)
  • Provides a goal statement
  • Outlines what the student will earn as a reinforcer for meeting goal
  • Teacher uses contract to pre-correct and prompt behavior
  • Non-negotiated
  • Describes what the student is doing wrong
  • Provides no goal statement
  • Outlines how the student will be punished if challenging behavior continues
  • No adult follow through with the contract


Adapted from Diana Browning Wright and Clayton Cook Power Point presented at the PENT Forum.