FAQ Awards

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Frequently Asked Questions

Before checking the FAQ: Read the Award Criteria document or the slide tutorial.


What is the purpose of the PBISaz Achievement Award?

The purpose of the PBISaz Achievement Award is to identify and recognize schools for successful implementation and measurable student outcomes with School-wide Systems of Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS). Criteria are based on effective implementation of the essential PBIS components outlined by the National Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support….

When did the PBISaz Achievement Award start in Arizona, who are past winners?

The PBISaz Achievement Award have been given out since 2013. See all the winning school each year with the link on the Awards page.

Are awards open to all Public, Charter and Private schools in Arizona?


What do schools receive if they win?
  • All Award schools receive:
    • Award signage to hang in school
    • Additional swag and goodies
    • Letters of recognition mailed to principal and district superintendent
    • Statewide publication and promotion of your achievement
    • Media kit with press release and publicity ideas
  • Bronze, Silver, Gold Award schools also receive:
What is the difference between the award levels?
  • Merit – just starting PBIS
  • Bronze – High fidelity at Tier 1, one year of student data
  • Silver – High fidelity at Tier 1, some fidelity at Tier 2, two years of student data
  • Gold – High fidelity at Tier 1,2,3 and three years of student data
What constitutes an alternative school for the Alt.School Award Criteria?

An alternative school is considered a school serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Emotional Behavior Disorder or is an Intern Alternate Education Setting or serves students in a Juvenile Justice/Juvenile Corrections/Juvenile Detention Center. See the Alternative School Award Criteria on the Awards page.


Application Process

Why is this due in May, we are soooooo busy?

There are several reasons – the main rationale being that true PBIS schools already have all data requested so the award application should not require extra work.

  • Fidelity surveys are completed annually, so this does not have to be done in May.
  • Students data (Average Monthly Referral Rate and Referrals by Problem Behavior) are two of the Big 7 graphs that all PBIS teams review monthly, so this is not new data needed to be collected in May.
  • Awards need to be reviewed by the PBISaz Award Committee volunteers to ensure schools submitted the correct data to validate an award.
How do I apply?

After reading the Award Criteria document, gather your data, decide which award you qualify for this year and click the Apply Online button on our Awards page. Enter your school information and upload all required data graphs. Only PDF documents are accepted.

What information do I need to apply online?

Besides the PBIS data specified in the Award Criteria document, the online application also asks for following information so that we can announce your award, publish your success and invite school officials to the award ceremony:

  • School District name, address
  • Superintendent name, email
  • School name, address
  • Principals name, email
  • Contact person submitting award, name, email, phone

PBIS Fidelity

Why do we need fidelity data?

Fidelity data is a reliable and valid way to know if we are implementing PBIS correctly and completely. High fidelity PBIS is correlated (hundreds of research studies over past 20 years) with decreased behavior problems, increased academic achievement and improved school climate, culture and safety.

Without fidelity data, schools can only guess if they are implementing PBIS correctly and completely. Improve fidelity to improve outcomes.

How can we measure fidelity?

Fidelity is measured with the SET, ISSET, TIC, BOQ, BAT and TFI. Different fidelity surveys measure different parts of your system. Choosing the correct fidelity tool and using it correctly is important.

PBIS Assessments is the section of PBISapps.org where fidelity surveys are located – they are FREE to use. The National Center for PBIS created PBISapps.org which is a suite of tools that can help with PBIS implementation and evaluation. All fidelity surveys listed are research-based with publish psychometric reliability and validity data. Check the PBISapps website for training, videos and manuals, or talk to your school/district PBIS trainer or PBIS Assessment Coordinator to apply for an account.

Which fidelity survey should I choose?

Learn about all the fidelity surveys here and check with your school/district PBIS Assessment Coordinator.

What is the minimum fidelity % for SET, ISSET, BOQ, BAT and TFI scores?

Each fidelity survey has a different published cut score that is considered high fidelity. The committee decided that it was less confusing to list one number for all surveys rather then to list different cut scores for each survey. High fidelity for the PBISaz Awards is 80% for all surveys. No minimum is required for the Merit Award.

Does the ISSET require minimum 80% fidelity on each feature?

Yes. ISSET research defines high fidelity as 80% and above on each of the three feature areas: Foundations, Targeted Interventions, and Intensive Interventions. An average of 80% is not considered high fidelity.

Why is the SET/ISSET and the TFI required for Gold?

The rationale is simple: The TFI is a self-assessment by the school PBIS team. The SET/ISSET are required to be conducted by outside trained evaluators. This provides a check and balance. Self-assessments are know to be subject to implicit bias, teams often unintentionally rate themselves higher because they have a vested interest in their school and may not be as objective as they think. The trained outside evaluator can be from a neighboring school, the district office or an outside organization.

Where do I find my schools' Fidelity surveys?

Login to your account at PBISapps.org. If you forgot your password, click ‘forgot password’ on the login link at the top right of the website. If you do not have an account, check with your district or school PBIS Assessment Coordinator. If you do not know who that person is, see our answer for “How can we measure fidelity?” above.

Student Data

How many years of student data are needed?
  • Merit – zero
  • Bronze – one school year, August thru April
  • Silver – two school years, August thru April
  • Gold – three school year, August thru April

Behavior data must show a decreasing trend – this means less ODR referrals as the year progresses or less referrals for a problem behavior then the previous year. Academic data must show an increasing trend – this means achievement must improve for the whole school from the previous year (not just for one grade level or one semester).

What student data are needed?

Different data is required for different awards – check the Award Criteria document to find out what data you need to submit. Behavior data must show that problems are decreasing, academic data must show that achievement is increasing. We look for a trend – if one or two months of behaviors are worse then the rest but the overall trend for the year is improving, that is a good sign. If data is up/down/sideways then maybe the school is not at that award level yet or not at that award level this year due to x, y, or z circumstances.

  1. Average Referrals per Day per Month (Rate, not raw data) – (Bronze/Silver/Gold) this graph must show the rate of ODR each month. See the Award Criteria document for examples and the formula (if using a spreadsheet) or submit your Average Referral graphs if using SWIS. There is also a link in the Award Criteria document to tutorials.
  2. Number of referrals per problem behavior – (Silver/Gold) this graph must show the number of ODR for each problem behavior such as disrespect, defiance, disruption, physical aggression, bullying, etc. See the Award Criteria document for examples.
  3. Academic Data – (Gold) this graph must show achievement on statewide or standardized evaluation tools. See the Award Criteria document for examples. Only certain standardized achievement tests are accepted.
Do graphs have to show all major and minor ODR?

Yes. All student data graphs must report both minor and major Office Discipline Referrals (ODR).

What is an increasing or decreasing trend?

A trend line is an upward or downward line drawn on a chart to indicate the average direction of the data points over time. If PBIS is working, problem behavior should be decreasing over time and academic achievement should be increasing. If data is not moving in the desired direction, then PBIS is not working yet.

What if a school has a very low, stable, ODR rate that does not show a downward trend?

A low, stable, flat trend below the national median rate for the entire school year will be considered to be implementing with high fidelity. Graph must include all behavior categories and both major and minor behaviors. High variability, even if below the national average, is not considered high fidelity.

National median is based on this report of 5,716 schools published by PBISapps.org in August 2017. Major and minor rate is combined below. ODR rate is defined as ODR per 100 students per day and is calculated as ODR/# students/# days in month X 100.

  • Grade K-6 – less than .45
  • Grade 6-9 – less than .66
  • Grade 9-12 – less than .45
  • Grade k-12 – less than .67
Does the Referrals by Problem Behavior graph need to include every problem behavior category?

Yes. The award requires a decreasing trend across years for most behaviors. Schools  cannot choose to submit only a few behaviors that decreased. We are looking at overall trend in behavior. If your trend is low, stable, flat and below the national median rate (as explained in above question) then all behavior categories must be shown to validate your claim.

What if a school is already high achieving and does not show growth on the AZ Merit or other academic evaluations?

If a school does not show an increasing trend for academic assessments across three years, they do not qualify for a Gold Award this year. If a school has a very high level of achievement (above 90%) a low rate of growth (>1%) is fine, but growth is still expected.

Considering that AZ state tests have not been stable/consistent the past few years and based on different standards from year to year, schools can choose to use these scores or not. You choose which academic data accurately reflects your students’ achievement.

AZ Merit scores are not published for the current year yet, what do we do?

Submit three years of other approved academic data showing student growth.

Why is the triangle report not an option for student data?

Only schools paying for the SWIS database are likely to have access to a triangle report. The committee chose standard behavior reports that most PBIS schools are likely to review on a monthly basis for this award. Average referrals per month and referrals by problem behavior are two of the Big 7 data reports that PBIS schools regularly use for decision-making.

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