Implementing Effective Educational Practices at Scales of Social Importance

  • Robert H. Horner
  • George Sugai
  • Dean L. Fixsen


Implementing evidence-based practices is becoming both a goal and standard across medicine, psychology, and education. Initial successes, however, are now leading to questions about how successful demonstrations may be expanded to scales of social importance. In this paper, we review lessons learned about scaling up evidence-based practices gleaned from our experience implementing school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) across more than 23,000 schools in the USA. We draw heavily from the work of Flay et al. (Prev Sci 6:151–175, 2005. doi: 10.1007/s11121-005-5553-y) related to defining evidence-based practices, the significant contributions from the emerging “implementation science” movement (Fixsen et al. in Implementation research: a synthesis of the literature, University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, The National Implementation Research Network (FMHI Publication #231), Tampa 2005), and guidance we have received from teachers, family members, students, and administrators who have adopted PBIS.


Evidence-based practices Scaling up Implementation science 



Development of this paper was supported by the Office of Special Education Programs U.S. Department of Education (H326S980003 and H326K120005). The authors extend appreciation to Dr. Karen Blase for editorial feedback on initial drafts of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The three authors each serve as principal investigators on federal technical assistance grants targeting large-scale implementation of evidence-based practices. The first two authors direct OSEP Grant H326K120005, and the third author directs OSEP Grant H326S980003.

Research Involving Human Subjects

For the results reported in this paper, no formal consent of human participants was required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA
  3. 3.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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