Sustainability is the durable implementation of a practice at a level of fidelity that continues to produce valued outcomes. (McIntosh et al., 2009) It is important to sustain fidelity to ensure that students have continued access to evidence-based practices.

In a study from 2014, respondents from a national sample of 860 schools implementing School-Wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (SWPBIS) were administered a research-validated measure of factors predicting sustained implementation of school-based practices. The research team assessed school demographics and specific school team actions to indicate the variables that were the most strongly associated with four empirically-derived sustainability factors. (McIntosh et al., 2014)

Findings showed that, in general, school demographic characteristics were not significantly related to sustainability. School team actions, especially the frequency of sharing data with the whole school staff, were statistically significantly related to sustainability, as shown in the bullet list below (McIntosh et al., 2014)

#1 Predictor of Sustainability = Team Use of Data

  • School team/staff skill,
  • Regular team meetings,
  • Data collection,
  • Use of data for decision making,
  • Presenting data to staff & community.

What is… fidelity of implementation?

  • The extent to which the critical features of PBIS are implemented as intended.

Why assess it?

  • Helps team target next steps and areas for improvement.
  • Helps us improve outcomes for students.



McIntosh, K., Horner, R. H., & Sugai, G. (2009). Sustainability of systems-level evidence-based practices in schools: Current knowledge and future directions. In W. Sailor, G. Sugai, R. H. Horner, G. Dunlap (Eds), Handbook of positive behavior support (pp. 327-352). New York: Springer