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Masters of Special Education with Academic Instruction Certification

Pre-Correction - Topic 29

What is it?

Pre-correction is a very simple tool that can be used to “get ahead” of problem behavior.  Just as it’s name suggests, it is an antecedent manipulation that occurs before the onset of the targeted problem behavior.  To use Pre-Correction properly, it is important to first understand the target behavior and the circumstances under which that behavior occurs.  Predicting behavior means anticipating when it will occur, or understanding the antecedents.  For example, if a student generally calls out of turn when the teacher presents a question to the class, the teacher might first state, “remember to raise your hand when you want to speak” prior to asking the class her question.  The teacher knows that asking a question to the class is an antecedent for calling out.  By placing a verbal prompt (“remember to raise your hand”) before the antecedent (asking the question) she is lowering the chances the target behavior (calling out) will occur.  The next step in the process involves replacement behaviors.  To rid an aberrant behavior from a child’s repertoire is more effective when an appropriate replacement behavior can take its place.  The new appropriate behavior is an opportunity for reinforcement.  The final component of Pre-Correction is delivering reinforcement.  Consistency and potency of reinforcement contribute to the effectiveness of replacing behavior when using Pre-Correction.

Why is it important?

There are a few basic reasons that Pre-correction is an important skill to bring to the classroom.  The primary reason is that it is simple.  By identifying antecedents, predicting the onset of aberrant behavior, and reinforcing the absence of that behavior a teacher can accurately use the Pre-Correction model­­­­.


Colvin, G., Sugai, G., & Patching, B. (1993). Pre-correction: An instructional approach for managing

predictable problem behaviors.  Intervention in School and Clinic, 28, 143-150.

Haydon, T., & Scott, T. M. (2008).  Using common sense in common settings: Active supervision and

pre-correction in the morning gym.  Intervention in School and Clinic, 43, 283-290.

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