TFI 3.0 Validation Study

The Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) is a measure of the extent to which school personnel are implementing core features of PBIS across the three tiers. The measure has recently been revised with an increased focus on classroom implementation, mental health, equity, and family and student voice.

We are currently in the final phase of the validation process to ensure that the new TFI is the most effective way to support school-wide implementation. We are recruiting schools (across all implementation levels) to help with this validation by:

  1. Completing the current TFI 2.1 as usual*
  2. Complete the new TFI 3.0 (simultaneously or within 2 weeks)
  3. Complete a usability survey

*Schools that are not currently using the TFI 2.1 can still participate in the validation study. Read the FAQ below to get more information.

This research is being conducted by Dr. Jennifer Freeman (, Associate Professor at UConn’s Neag School, Department of Educational Psychology in coordination with the Center on PBIS.


If you have questions about the study, please see the Frequently Asked list below (updated Spring, 24).
A printable FAQ list can be downloaded here: TFI-3.0-Validation-Study-FAQs Spring 24

What lead to the TFI 3.0 development?

Over the last two years, the Center on PBIS has been working on revising the Tiered Fidelity Inventory (TFI) 2.1 to align with current training and guidance specifically with respect to equity, mental health and wellness integration, and classroom supports. The TFI 3.0 has already undergone content validation and reliability studies and is now ready for large scale validation.  Teams are encouraged to incorporate study activities into their annual fidelity evaluation plan.

Who can participate?

Any school-based team implementing PBIS can participate regardless of level of implementation or years implementing.

Why should teams participate?

Participating in the study will:

    • give schools a preview of the new measure
    • allow teams to enhance their PBIS action planning in the areas of equity, mental health integration and classroom implementation
    • be a part of the work to better align our fidelity measures with best practices!
Are there any incentives for participation?

Some states or regional networks may be offering local incentives. Click here to learn more about the Coach Incentive Program, offered by Midwest PBIS. 

Additionally, schools will have access to a certificate of completion as evidence of their participation in the study activities.

How is the TFI 3.0 different than the TFI 2.1?

In addition to the increased focus on equity, mental health, and  classroom implementation of PBIS, the TFI 3.0 also has an expanded 5-point scale with indicators, allowing teams to report more accurately on their implementation and have more guidance to support action planning. 

What resources can we use to learn more about the expanded topic areas in the TFI 3.0?

This new TFI expands our focus in key areas including equity, classroom, mental health, and advanced tiers. It is likely your team will come across unfamiliar features or things you have not yet implemented. This is to be expected and is part of the growth process!

To learn more about these key areas your team may find this resource guide helpful: Resources to Support Your Understanding of the TFI 3.0

Do we have to complete all 3 Tiers of the 2.1 and 3.0?

We are asking teams to complete tier 1, or as many tiers as you normally would for the 2.1 (there is no requirement that you complete all three tiers).

We are asking teams to complete all three tiers of the 3.0, even if they are not yet implementing advanced tiers. Follow the scoring criteria for each item to accurately report your current level of implementation, which could be “0 = Not implemented.” Please complete all items in each section of the 3.0 before submitting your scores.

Who should complete the surveys?

The TFI is completed by a school Leadership Team or Systems Planning Team (typically 3-8 individuals including a building administrator and external coach or district coordinator), including members of Tier 1, 2, and/or 3 teams if these are independent groups. It is recommended that both TFIs be completed with an external PBIS coach as a facilitator.

Can we complete both the 2.1 and 3.0 at the same time?

Yes these measures need to be completed within 2 weeks of each other but can be administered closer together than that or at the same time.

Follow the same timeframe if you are using a different fidelity measure (e.g. BoQ, SAS).

What if we are not using the TFI currently?

If you are using another measure, for example the Benchmark of Quality (BoQ) or Self-Assessment Survey (SAS) there is still an opportunity to contribute to the validation of the TFI 3.0! Instead of completing the TFI 2.1, you would complete your planned measure before completing the 3.0. When entering your scores, you’ll have the opportunity to select which measures were used and enter scores accordingly.

If you feel you may be in a unique circumstance in your school/district but would like to participate, we encourage to contact Dr. Jennifer Freeman, Principal Investigator at

Can we complete the TFI 3.0 in PBIS Apps?

Since the TFI 3.0 is in the process of being validated, it is not yet available in PBIS Apps. Teams who typically upload their TFI scores to PBIS Apps can continue to upload their TFI 2.1 scores as they normally would. To participate in the study, TFI 2.1 scores need to also be submitted through the study survey links.

How long will the surveys take to complete?

The time to complete the TFI depends on (a) the experience that the team and coach have with the process, (b) the extent of preparation for TFI completion, and (c) the number of tiers assessed.

For the TFI 2.1, School teams should schedule 30 min for Tier 1, 30 min for Tier 2, and 30 min for Tier 3. The average time for completion of the TFI 3.0 in during initial validation work was between 40-50 mins per tier. We expect the first completion of the TFI 3.0 to take more time than subsequent administrations.

The usability survey will take about 20 minutes to complete.

Should we complete the Tier 1 walkthrough each time?

Yes. The Tier 1 walkthrough provides essential data required to accurately score the TFI. The TFI 3.0 has an enhanced walkthrough tool which needs to be completed to accurately score features.

Is the scoring of the TFI 3.0 similar to the TFI 2.1?

Your total points on the TFI 3.0 will likely be similar to the TFI 2.1. However, because the 3.0 uses a 5-point scale (with scores of 3 and 4 representing enhancement of 2.1 items) your percentage score will likely change.

What information are you collecting for this study?

When you submit your data we will ask for the name of your school, district, and state. At no time will you be asked to provide the name of any individual connected to study data; this includes staff members and students. We will collect contact information for those accessing the study material website. This information is not connected to any survey responses or specific school information. This contact information will allow us to send important study updates and reminders.

What if we have more questions?

Additional questions can be directed towards the Principal Investigator, Dr. Jennifer Freeman at