A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base for Active Supervision in Pre-K–12 Settings

Grant Edmund Allen, Eric Alan Common, Kathryn A. Germer, Kathleen Lynne Lane, Mark Matthew Buckman, Wendy Peia Oakes, Holly Mariah Menzies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Active supervision is a proactive, low-intensity strategy to minimize challenging behaviors and increase desired behaviors. To examine the evidence base of this strategy, we applied the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Standards for Evidence-Based Practices in Special Education to the body of research exploring the impact of active supervision with Pre-K–12 students in traditional school settings. In this systematic literature review, we identified seven peer-reviewed, single-case design, treatment-outcome studies meeting inclusion criteria. All studies met a ≥80% weighted criterion of CEC’s quality indicators. These seven studies included 15 cases aggregated at the school, classroom, or grade level, collectively involving 1,686 participants. Three studies included three or more cases and demonstrated positive effects across primary dependent variables (with one study showing neutral effects on a secondary dependent variable). Based on available evidence and using CEC criteria, we determined active supervision to be a potentially evidence-based practice. We discuss implications, limitations, and future directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-182
Number of pages16
JournalBehavioral Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • active supervision
  • evidence-based practices
  • low-intensity strategies
  • methodological quality appraisal
  • positive behavior interventions and supports

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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