Class Pass Intervention (CPI)

A Tier 2, Secondary Intervention for Students with Challenging Classroom Behavior

The Class Pass Intervention (CPI) is a research-based intervention that teachers can use to support their students' positive behavior.

What Behavioral Challenges Does CPI Target?

CPI is designed for students who engage in challenging classroom behaviors because they want to avoid or escape doing academic work that they perceive as "difficult", "boring", or otherwise "aversive".

What Does CPI Entail?

  • Allowing students to appropriately request brief breaks from non-preferred academic tasks by exchanging earned "Class Passes"
  • Incentivise students to persevere and maintain their engagement in non-preferred academic tasks to bank and exchange earned "Class Passes" for rewards and privileges

How is CPI Effective?

  • Research indicates CPI is highly effective at reducing behavior problems and increasing academic engagement.
  • At first, students typically exchange their "Class Passes" to avoid tasks, but over time they bank and exchange them for rewards or privileges.
  • Teachers report it to be an acceptable intervention because the time allowed for breaks is easily made up by the increased academic engagement time.

Steps of Implementation

  1. Identify a spot where the student can break and engage in an alternate activity for a short period of time (e.g., 5-10 minutes).
  2. Determine how long the break period will be. Research supports a 10-minute break period for elementary students and a 5-minute break for secondary-level students.
  3. Determine the rewards and/or privileges that can be earned by saving the class passes. (Make it such that the more passes mean the better the reward and/or privilege.)
  4. Meet with the student to teach them CPI and how to appropriately request a break using the class pass:
    • Tell (talk about how the intervention works
    • Show (model how to request a break)
    • Do (allow the student to practice using the class pass)
    • Feedback (give the student feedback about how he performed)
  5. Give the student a predetermined amount of class passes each day.
    • Research shows that 3 passes per day (elementary) or class period (middle or high school) have generally been sufficient to substantially increase academic engagement.
  6. When implementing CPI:
    • At the beginning, prompt the student to use the class pass at the earliest signs of disruptive behavior.
    • Once challenging behavior decreases, give the student the choice:"You can use a class pass to take a break or keep working and hold on to it for something you want."
  7. Monitor and track the effectiveness of the intervention.
  8. Give the student feedback about how they are doing.

Modified to ensure accessibility on 6/2021 from Original Author: Clayton R. Cook, PhD University of Washington.


Collins, T. A., Cook, C. R., Dart, E. H., Socie, D. G., Renshaw, T. L., & Long, A. C. (2015). Improving classroom engagement among high school students with disruptive behavior. Evaluation of the class pass intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 53(2), 204-219.

Cook, C. R., Collins, T. A., Dart, E., Vance, M. J., McIntosh, K., Grady, E. A., & Decano, P. (2014). Evaluation of the class pass intervention for typically developing students with hypothesized escape-motivated disruptive classroom behavior. Psychology in the Schools, 51(2), 107-125.

Packenham, M., Shute, R., & Reid, R. (2004). A truncated functional behavioral assessment procedure for children with disruptive classroom behaviors. Education and Treatment of Children, 27(1), 9-25.