Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA)

Conducting the FBA

Once it is determined that a student needs a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) the team develops a plan to collect data. The FBA includes both indirect (interviews, records, etc.) and direct (observational, etc.) methods to gather information. While the specifics of each FBA will vary depending on the unique circumstances of the student, the assessment should address the various factors that might be contributing to the student’s behavior, including:

  • Antecedents and setting events that predict the occurrence of the behavior (i.e. certain classes, people, time of day, things at home, etc.)
  • Consequences which tend to reinforce it (i.e. escape/avoid difficult or unpleasant situations, getting attention, etc.)
  • Other motivational factors
  • Related physical or medical factors
  • Environmental variables e.g., home, family, school, community, etc.
  • Skill deficits that may contribute to the problem, e.g., social skills, communication skills, functional and academic skills, etc.

The team should jointly review the results of the FBA and develop a hypothesis statement (best guess) regarding the student’s motivation for the problem behavior. This, in turn is used to develop the Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).