Daily Report Card

The Intervention

A daily report card (DRC) is a flexible and collaborative behavior contract between teachers, students, and parents designed to improve academic and behavioral functioning. The teacher and student identify specific behaviors to target and set specific goals for daily performance. The teacher reviews the DRC with the student at the beginning and end of the day and provides feedback to the student throughout the day. The student is positively reinforced at home or school when goals are achieved. Target behaviors can be modified over time as skills are mastered. Specifically, a DRC is thought to promote behavior change through the use of clear expectations, contingent reinforcement, specific praise, and performance feedback. 

Setting up the DRC

Time: Approximately 5 Minutes/Day for 1 Week

  1. Identify two or three specific, observable behaviors that you hope to target with the DRC (e.g., interrupting, getting out of seat, low classwork completion, forgets homework). If you are having trouble identifying which behaviors to target, prioritize those that are dangerous to the student or others, most frequent, or most impairing. The Beacon system can assist you with this decision.
  2. Identify a starting goal for each behavior. Because it is important for the student to have some success early on, the recommended goal for each behavior is one that the student can achieve at least 50% of the time based on the initial data. This goal level allows the student to earn a reward during the first week, which typically is motivating for the student
  3. Once you select the goals for each target behavior, you are ready to implement the DRC.

DRC Implementation

Time: Approximately 5-7 Minutes/Day

Below are the steps to implement at DRC with examples of how you can explain or do each step with a student.

Step 1: At the start of the day or class period, remind the student of his/her target behaviors and goals.

  • “Remember Michael, if you can respect your peers today with 3 or fewer instances of teasing, you can meet your goal. You did well, yesterday, so let’s have another great day”

Step 2: At the start of the day or class period, ask the student what he/she earned the night before (if rewards were earned) or ask the student what reward they might be working towards that day.

  • “Michael, I remember you achieved 2 goals yesterday and earned computer time…That’s great. What are you working towards today?”

Step 3: At the start of an activity that is particularly relevant to a student’s DRC target, remind the student of the target.

  • “Remember Michael, if you complete 2 or more of our math worksheets today, you’ll be on target to meet your goal.”

Step 4: When student exhibits a negative target behavior, give feedback by labeling the behavior that the student exhibited AND connecting it to the DRC.

  • Michael, you just spoke without raising your hand. That’s one interruption on your report card.”

Step 5: When the student exhibits a negative target behavior, track that behavior as it occurs using whatever format you prefer.

  • Track the behavior on your mobile device (or temporarily, on a post-it note, teacher’s clipboard, the chalkboard, or the student’s desk).

Step 6: When the student exhibits a negative target behavior and is getting close to earning a no, provide specific feedback.

  • “Michael, you just spoke without raising your hand. If you do that once more, you’ll earn a no today. Try to work really hard to keep your yes.”

Step 7: Praise the student when they exhibit a positive behavior that is incompatible with negative target behavior on the DRC.

  • “Michael, great job raising your hand. What would you like to say?”

Step 8: At the end of the day, give the student the DRC and briefly review their success

  • “Michael, you earned two out of three yeses today. Good job raising your hand and getting your math work done today. Tomorrow, let’s work really hard on keeping your hands to yourself so you can earn all three yeses.”

Step 9: Allow the student to select a reward based on the number of goals that were met.

  • “You met 2 out of 3 goals today, which means you can select from the first two sections. What reward would you like to select for your 2 yesses?”

Step 10: Send the DRC home with the student for the parent to review.

  • After you write down the student’s reward and any comments you have for the parents, sign the DRC and put it somewhere the parents will find.

Note: together, step #4 and #5 = TLC (Track, Label, and Connect)

  • There are many logistical problems using a DRC in middle and high schools. DRC is best used in elementary schools although some have adapted it to fit in a secondary school.
  • The DRC is most effective for high frequency behaviors relative to low frequency behaviors. For example, it works well if the target behavior is something that a student does every day or most days; however, if it is a infrequent behavior (e.g., hits peers once every 3 or 4 weeks), then the DRC is not likely to be helpful.
  • DRCs typically have 2 to 4 target behaviors that are clearly defined. Anything more than this may be too many goals for the student to attend to.
  • The DRC goals are designed to limit the frequency of the negative behaviors that are targeted (e.g., disrespect, interruptions). However, it is equally important that teachers also praise the positive behaviors that are incompatible with those negative behaviors (e.g., respect, waiting to be called upon) and give the student opportunities to practice these skills so that they develop the necessary competencies in these areas of behavioral regulation.
  • Younger students may need a pictures and visual reminders about their target behaviors. See samples in the materials below.
  • Older students may enjoy being part of the daily process of tracking their behavior and seeing how they are doing. If it is not an added distraction, the DRC can be kept on the student’s desk and they can tally their own behavior (with prompts) throughout the day.
  • The DRC can also be used as a progress-monitoring tool because it includes the collection of daily data on important behaviors. This data can be graphed to show the student’s progress over time and response to intervention.
  • The DRC can be used in conjunction with a check-in/check-out program. In this case, someone other than the student’s teacher would be involved in the DRC process by providing the morning check-in to greet the student and set expectations for the day and discussing success with goals at the end of the day.
  • The DRC should be implemented for at least one month before expecting maximal gains.
  • 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.

Caregiver Handout

This is a handout you can distribute to the parents of the student who you will be using a DRC for. You may wish to set up a parent meeting to discuss the handout, send it home with the student, or send it as a pdf in an email to the parent.

Reward Ideas Elementary

Reward Ideas Secondary

The following rewards can be used as school-based rewards. Remember that these items are usually reinforcing to most children. However, what is reinforcing to one child may not be reinforcing to another. Teachers need to make sure that a child wants one of these potential reinforcers and will work for it before the reward is used.

Sample Reward Menu 

Sample Reward Menu Template

Common Behavior Targets

Daily Report Card Template

Daily Report Card Sample with Pictures


Daily report cards (DRC) have been rated as “strong” at the elementary level. At the secondary level, there has not been sufficient research to determine the level of evidence.

Elementary: The use of DRCs is effective for low rates of classwork completion, off-task behavior, interruptions, out of seat behavior, non-compliance, emotional outbursts, destruction of property, disrespect to adults, respecting others’ personal space, and social withdrawal. This research was conducted in typical general education classroom settings across multiple elementary schools and multiple grade levels.

Secondary: DRCs have not been studied at the secondary level so therefore, we cannot determine a level of evidence.

Recommendations: We recommend using DRCs at the elementary level. Based on the strong evidence from studies of the DRC, we also recommend its use for behaviors that are not listed above that you would like to increase or decrease. The DRC has not been rigorously evaluated at the secondary level and this is partly due to feasibility problems in a secondary school setting. Nevertheless, if salient rewards can be identified for the student and teachers can feasibly implement it, we recommend that you consider using it as it has strong evidence at the elementary level.

Intervention Scorecard

This intervention is recommended for the following presenting problems.

Select an age group:


Other suitable presenting problems