Developing Hypothesis Statements
It should be clear from Chapter 6 on functional assessment that information for developing an individualized support plan can be obtained from a variety of sources and in many different formats. As a result, the functional assessment conducted during Step 2 of the positive behavior support (PBS) process (conducting a functional assessment) often produces an abundance of information. The tricky next step is deciding how to use the information in ways that will inform the support plan. Unfortunately, all too often support plans bear little resemblance to the pertinent information collected during the assessment phase, and thereby fail to match the needs of the student. To avoid this disparity, Step 3 of the PBS process—developing hypothesis statements—is critical for creating a link between the information gathered and the final product, the support plan. The current chapter illustrates strategies to assist in developing hypotheses. In addition, procedures for evaluating the accuracy of hypotheses (i.e., hypothesis testing) are described.
A hypothesis statement is the end product of the functional assessment or information-gathering process. Specifically, it provides a succinct summary of information gathered in the prior phase. A hypothesis statement serves the important purpose of assuring a link between the assessment informa-