Check In Check Out

The Intervention

A Check in Check out intervention is a structured way for school staff to set goals to help students meet school-wide behavioral expectations. The Check in Check out intervention involves (1) a morning check-in with a check-in mentor who reviews the student goals for the day, (2) feedback throughout the day from teachers who provide ratings about the student’s classroom behavior, and (3) an end of the day check-out with the mentor to review progress toward daily goals and reinforcement of success. The Check in Check out intervention is based on the principles of operant conditioning and positive adult-student relationships. Specifically, Check in Check out is thought to promote behavior change through the use of clear expectations, contingent reinforcement, specific praise, and performance feedback. In addition, a supportive relationship with a caring adult in the school is thought to help the student feel welcome and included at school, facilitate motivation for behavior change, and maximize the success of the feedback provided. Reducing disruptive behavior and/or enhancing prosocial behavior can contribute to enhanced academic outcomes.

If multiple students in a building are receiving a check-in intervention, typically, a staff member (e.g., school counselor, assistant principal, behavior specialist) is designated as the Check in Check out Coordinator. The Coordinator is responsible for assigning student mentors, co-developing the students goals with teachers, organizing the check-in data, and making recommendations at team meetings about when goals should be modified and/or when the Check in Check out intervention can be faded.

When assigning a mentor to a student, the Coordinator should consider who has a strong relationship with the student (e.g., a former teacher of the student, librarian, P.E. teacher, music teacher or their classroom teacher). This mentor is responsible for meeting with the student at the beginning of the day to review goals and at the end of the day to review progress toward goals and provide reinforcement for success.

The classroom teacher is responsible for giving the student feedback about the behavior during class and rating the student’s behavior on the card at the end of the day or class period. Behavior change is most likely to occur if feedback is provided at the point of performance (e.g., praise when the child demonstrates a behavior that aligns with their goal or corrective feedback following behavior that does not align with the goal) in addition to at the end of the class.

  1. Develop a check-in card with the student. The target behaviors on the check-in card are often aligned with school or classroom-wide expectations but you can also individualize the target behaviors to the specific student’s needs. If utilizing school-wide expectations as target behaviors, this card may be consistent across all students using a Check in Check out intervention.
  2. Break down the check-in card into intervals based on the student’s schedule. These intervals may be per hour or per class. You may only need to apply the intervention in selected classes where the student is struggling to meet expectations.
  3. The card should include a table or grid showing the relevant target behaviors for each interval, with a rating for the teacher to complete (see sample cards below). The rating is often on a 3-point scale. Make sure that students and all staff involved understand the labels for each rating (e.g., 0=Try Again, 1=Ok, 2=Great!, or 0=below expectations, 1=meets expectations, 2=exceeds expectations). Students are awarded points based on the score they earn for each target behavior.
  4. Set a goal for the percentage of points that the student should earn each day. Generally, this goal is around 70-80% of points. However, when first implementing a check-in, this may need to be lower to ensure that students are successful in the beginning.
  5. Develop a reward system with the student. Choose a reward that is desirable for the students and will help motivate them to reach their check-in goals. (See resources for examples of rewards). Decide how many points each reward is worth. Make sure that these rewards are challenging, yet attainable to keep the student motivated.
  6. Print out the check-in card each day for the student. The card should include the student’s name, the date, a list of their check-in times, their target behaviors for each interval, their points, their goal (i.e. 80% of points), and a place to track their points/progress to a reward. They will keep this notecard in their desk if they spend their day in one classroom or carry it in a binder or folder if the student moves around classrooms throughout the day.

  1. At the beginning of the day, the check-in mentor will welcome the student and check-in with their student by reminding them about their goals for the day. At the morning check in, have a discussion with the student to brainstorm ways that they can meet their goals.
  2. Throughout the day, the classroom teacher should provide feedback at the end of each interval. They will give their student a score based on the criteria on their card for each goal. Teachers should provide feedback or explanations for the score that are appropriate for the student’s developmental level.
  3. At the end of the day, the student should check-out with their mentor and review their Check in Check out card. The mentor will give feedback about how their goals went and will provide them with/inform them about any rewards that they earned. Make sure to praise the student for the aspects of their day that were positive, even if they did not reach all of their check-in goals. If they did reach all of their goals, be enthusiastic and celebrate with them!
  4. Repeat this process each day.
  5. Review data at least once per month and modify goals to shape behavior to the normative range. (e.g., If the child is earning 90% of the points for 4 out of 5 days per week for a month, consider fading the intervention. If the concerning behavior returns, re-start the intervention). You can utilize the progress monitoring tab to track this data.

If you are familiar with the Daily Report Card (DRC) intervention, you may notice that Check in Check Out and DRC seem very similar.  They both can be appropriate for targeting challenging behaviors in the classroom setting. Both DRC and the Check in Check Out  intervention have the goal of changing student behavior through reinforcement, positive adult attention, praise, precorrections, and appropriately and effectively responding to rule violations. Both of these interventions can fit in with additional school-wide behavioral support systems that are in place. Below, we describe some of the nuanced differences between these interventions.

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  • Number of Goals. Typically, a check-in card has 2 to 4 goals in each interval. This is an ideal range to ensure that the student can attend to all their goals throughout the day.
  • Visual Reminders. Younger students may need visual reminders like pictures to help prompt them about their goals.
  • Allowing Students to Play an Active Role. Older students may appreciate being involved in the process. If appropriate, they may be able to self-monitor and fill out their own card at the end of each interval. This may be supervised by the teacher or done collaboratively with the teacher depending on the age and maturity of the student.
  • Progress Monitoring. Check in Check out can also be used as a progress monitoring tool because it includes daily data on important school and classroom behaviors. This can help to track a student’s response to other interventions being used.
  • Assistance: If you need help implementing or evaluating this intervention, it may be helpful to seek out consultation from your school mental health professional or intervention team leader.


Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

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Other suitable presenting problems