Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Symposium #57
CE Offered: BACB
Functional Behavior Assessment in Schools: Research to Practice
Saturday, May 24, 2008
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Williford A
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lisa Kemmerer (University of Louisville)
CE Instructor: Cynthia M. Anderson, Ph.D.

Functional assessment methods have clear utility for developing efficacious interventions for problem behavior. Although most research on functional assessment has been conducted in clinical settings by researchers, a growing body of research documents (a) methods of functional assessment applicable for non-clinical settings and (b) the link between functional assessment and positive outcomes in diverse settings such as schools and the community. In this symposium we present results of recent studies focused on delineating effective strategies for conducting functional assessments in schools.

A Comparison of Two Methods for Collecting Descriptive Analysis Data on Problem Behavior.
MARGARET J. STROBEL (Texana), Dorothea C. Lerman (University of Houston, Clear Lake), Alyson N. Hovanetz (University of Houston, Clear Lake), Allison Serra Tetreault (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Behavioral consultants often rely on parents and teachers to collect data in classrooms, homes, and other community settings. Little research has been conducted on the accuracy of data collected by caregivers or the best way to train people to collect these data. Recording the antecedents and consequences of problem behavior (called “A-B-C recording”) can be particularly challenging, given the multiple variables that are commonly present in the natural environment. Two methods for collecting A-B-C data are commonly used by teachers. For one method, called narrative recording, the teacher writes down any potentially relevant events that occurred prior to and following the problem behavior. Although this method is useful for gathering a lot of information, it can be difficult for teachers to determine which events to record (Cooper, Heward, & Heron, 2007). To circumvent this problem, some teachers use structured A-B-C recording forms that list pre-specified antecedents and consequences in a checklist format. When a problem behavior occurs, the teacher places a checkmark next to all events that occurred prior to and following the behavior. The accuracy of data collected using either of these formats has not yet been evaluated in a systematic manner. In this study, 25 educators and educators-in-training used narrative and structured A-B-C data forms to collect data while watching videos. Participants collected data more accurately when using the structured form compared to narrative recording and indicated a preference for this method of assessment.
Using a Routines Analysis to Guide Descriptive Analyses.
AARON BARNES (University of Oregon), Cynthia M. Anderson (University of Oregon), Cristy Coughlin (University of Oregon), Shelley Kay Mullen (University of Oregon)
Abstract: Indirect methods of functional assessment often are conducted prior to descriptive observations. Unfortunately, results of the two assessment frequently produce conflicting results. One reason for this might be that direct observations are not conducted when relevent antecedent stimuli are present. The purpose of the present study was to evalute the contributions of a pre-observation routines analysis--as part of the indirect assessment--for identifying specific stimulus conditions underwhich descriptive analyses might produce useful information.
A Comparison of Functional Behavior Assessment Methodologies with Young Children: Descriptive Methods and Functional Analysis.
PETER ALTER (University of Louisville), Maureen Conroy (Virginia Commonwealth University), Rich Mancil (Virginia Commonwealth University), Todd F. Haydon (University of Florida)
Abstract: The use of functional behavior assessment (FBA) to guide the development of behavior intervention plans continues to increase since they were first mandated in IDEA 1997. A variety of indirect and direct instruments have been developed to facilitate this process. Although many researchers believe that a full functional analysis is necessary to identify behavior function, more rapid and efficient FBA procedures are used much more often. This investigation examined the validity of indirect and direct FBA procedures. Specifically, the results of three descriptive assessments and a functional analysis for four young children at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders were compared. Separation of all descriptive and experimental results was maintained and the assessment order was counterbalanced. The results of the descriptive assessments (i.e., the primary behavior function identified) had low consistency with each other, and the results of two indirect FBA assessments, (the Functional Assessment Interview and Motivation Assessment Scale) had low agreement with the results of functional analyses. On the other hand, the direct assessment procedure (ABC assessment) agreed with the results of functional analyses for all participants. These results support the use of direct observations and indicate that indirect measures should be used with caution as stand-alone assessments of the function of challenging behaviors.
A School-wide Intervention to Decrease Bullying.
SCOTT WARREN ROSS (University of Oregon), Robert H. Horner (University of Oregon), Bruce Stiller (N/a)
Abstract: N/a



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