Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

From FBA to Implementation: A Look at What Is Actually Being Delivered

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

From FBA to Implementation: A Look at What Is Actually Being Delivered

Article excerpt


This study looks at the utilization of assessments on developing behavior intervention plans (BIPs) and their use in designing actual implementation for the children (elementary through high school) labeled EBD in a mid-sized district in eastern Washington. Files were reviewed to determine the types of assessments used, FBA components addressed, and the behavior intervention plans generated, for each student labeled EBD or being served in a self-contained EBD program from elementary through high school. The degree of utilization of this information in developing program implementation was assessed through teacher interviews. Results showed that a majority of the students did not have a FBA and those that were written did not include hypothesis statements or replacement behaviors. Teacher interview and various behavior rating scales were the most prevalent source of assessment information. The BIPs created were primarily stock lists of positive and negative responses to behavior with no individualization to the student. Discussion of implications to improve the efficacy of assessment is given.


Positive behavioral support (PBS) programs have made a significant contribution in efforts to improve school and classroom environments, understand and manage problem behavior, and provide a positive school environment conducive to student learning. PBS has had an impact on improving the overall school environment. Borrowing from public health research, school-wide approaches to strengthening social competence and ameliorating problem behavior have been divided according to levels of intervention (Lewis, & Sugai, 1999). Tier 1 (Primary) interventions consist of universal school-wide programs designed to reduce new cases of problem behavior (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, 2007). Targeted interventions make up Tier 2 (Secondary) programs. These are designed to reduce current cases of problem behaviors that do not respond to Tier 1 approaches. The final tier (Tertiary) focuses on individualized interventions that seek to reduce complications, intensity, and severity of current cases. These usually involve the most difficult of problems that do not respond to less intense interventions. Often children with EBD in self-contained classes fall into this category. Universal interventions (Tier 1) have shown some success (Office of Special Education Programs, 2002), and targeted interventions (Tier 2), a topic of current research, have begun to show promise (Bohanon, et al., 2006; Hawken, 2006; Lane, et al., 2003; March & Horner, 2002). Students presenting the most severe problem behaviors (Tier 3) have been resistant to universal and targeted intervention strategies (Scott & Eber, 2003). The behaviors of these students are chronic and complex, requiring comprehensive behavioral assessment and individualized plans for behavioral intervention.

Functional behavior assessment (FBA) is the most commonly recommended response to severe student behavior challenges. In a report for the OSEP Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Sugai et al. (1999) describe the importance of the FBA and the FBA process:

  The FBA approach is the cornerstone of systems that address the
  educational programming of students who display the most significant
  and challenging problem behavior. These students require behavior
  support plans that are specialized, individualized, and high
  intensity. Such plans must be based on information about the nature of
  the problem behavior and the environmental context in which the
  problem behavior is observed. The FBA approach provides a systematic
  and informed means by which targeted interventions can be developed
  and monitored. (Sugai, et al., 1999, p. 12)

However, the practicality of using the FBA process with students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) in applied settings has been questioned (Sasso, Conroy, Stichter, & Fox, 2001). …

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