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Chapter image Chapter 14: Strategy 12: Functional behavioural assessment

Self Evaluation

Please rate yourself or a teacher you have closely observed.




12. Employs functional behavioural assessment

In the case of learners’ repeated undesirable social behaviours, you seek to determine the function or purpose of such behaviours by examining why the learner acts in a specific way. This involves looking for what is obtained or avoided through those behaviours. This analysis is then used to design and implement an appropriate behavioural intervention programme.


Mitchell, 2014, pp154–161.

  1. You systematically examine the function or purpose of learners’ undesirable social behaviours.
  2. This analysis is used to design and implement an appropriate behavioural intervention programme, taking account of antecedents and consequences.
  1. Both indicators are regularly met.
  2. Both indicators are occasionally met.
  3. Indicator #1 is occasionally met, but indicator #2 is rarely met.
  4. Neither indicator is met.

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ABA autism classroom case study 2008. (11.31 US)

Applied Behavior Analysis is used in this classroom curriculum to teach children along the Autism spectrum. This case study documents several classes of autistic children over the course of one school year to document each classroom’s effectiveness in the student’s academic and social development.


Iris Center

Functional behavioral assessment: Identifying the reasons for problem behavior and developing a behavior plan.

Much of student behaviour – appropriate or otherwise – is learned. As the A-B-C model demonstrates, antecedents occur before, and can trigger, a behaviour, while consequences occur after the behaviour and influence the likelihood of its reoccurrence. When students display problem behaviours that are unresponsive to typical behavioural interventions, a functional behavioural assessment, or FBA, may be warranted. An FBA can determine the function of the student’s behaviour, a critical step in planning an effective intervention. The steps to conducting a functional behavioural assessment and developing a behaviour plan are described.


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OSEP’s Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior Intervention and Support.

This guide is designed to train school-based personnel with flexible roles in a school to conduct practical functional behavioural assessments. Includes a PowerPointâ presentation.


Miller, J.A., Tansy, M. and Hughes, T.L. (1998). ‘Functional behavioral assessment: The link between problem behavior and effective intervention in schools’. Current Issues in Education, 1.

In the US, P.L. 105–17 requires that a FBA be conducted for children exhibiting behavior that interferes with the educational process. School personnel must develop intervention plans based on the information provided through FBA. Methods that may provide direction for developing a process of functional behavioural assessment include: functional analysis, functional assessment, behavioural assessment and functional communication.


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Moreno, G. and Bullock, L.M.  (2011). ‘Principles of positive behaviour supports: Using the FBA as a problem-solving approach to address challenging behaviours beyond special populations’. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 16(2), 117–127.

The Functional Behavioural Assessment (FBA) is an investigative process that examines the context of challenging behaviours in the classroom. Information gleaned from the FBA process is used to develop a behaviour intervention plan to address the challenging behaviour and teach a socially acceptable replacement behaviour. However, the FBA has remained almost exclusively used with students identified with disabilities, particularly those with emotional/behavioural disorders (EBD) as a last resort before removal from the general school campus. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness of the FBA as positive behaviour support practice in the general education classroom to assist non-disabled students and early intervention for students with or at-risk for EBD. In this paper, we discuss the FBA, its place as a positive behaviour practice, and its application in the general education classroom to assist students who are demonstrating challenging behaviours prior to considering a referral for special education assessment.