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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #426
CE Offered: BACB
Issues in School-Based Functional Assessment
Monday, May 28, 2007
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
America's Cup AB
Area: EDC/TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jennifer Soeda (California State University, Fresno)
Discussant: Stephanie M. Peterson (Idaho State University)
CE Instructor: Jennifer L. Austin, Ph.D.

The use of functional assessment prior to treatment selection is considered best practice in a range of settings, including schools. However, promoting quality school-based functional assessments is often a challenging endeavor. This symposium will explore some of the issues surrounding functional assessments in schools, including the relative value of function-based interventions for typically developing children, challenges to the quality of school-based functional assessments, and models for improving functional assessment practices within school districts.

An Analysis of the Importance of Function in Treatment Selection for Children with Minor Behavior Problems.
JENNIFER SOEDA (California State University, Fresno), Jennifer L. Austin (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: One of the challenges facing researchers and practitioners alike has been determining the most practical, yet effective assessment methods for producing desired treatment outcomes. Although functional assessment and analysis procedures have shown considerable value within the field of applied behavior analysis, concerns regarding time and efficacy have hindered their consistent use within school settings. This study assessed the comparative treatment utility of function-based interventions with non-function-based interventions for high incidence, low severity behavior problems in four typically developing children. Results via an ABAC research design indicated that interventions based upon a functional behavior assessment were more effective and efficient at reducing off-task behaviors than an intervention which attempted to create a new function for appropriate behavior across all four participants. Social validity measures also indicated the functional intervention to be more effective, efficient, and easier to implement.
Training School Personnel to Conduct Functional Behavior Assessments: Are We Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?
JENNIFER L. AUSTIN (California State University, Fresno), Jennifer Soeda (California State University, Fresno)
Abstract: Conclusions regarding the adequacy with which school personnel conduct functional behavior assessments and analyses appear to be dependent upon the range of behaviors these personnel are expected to perform. With regard to relatively simple protocols, such as conducting standard functional analysis conditions, school personnel tend to do quite well. However, when asked to conduct, interpret, and plan interventions based on functional behavior assessments, results are less promising. One potential reason for these deficits regards the model of training employed within both school systems (e.g., workshops and other trainings conducted by behavior analysts) and non-behavioral degree programs (e.g., school psychology). Within both contexts, there exists the potential to misrepresent the complexity of functional behavior assessments. These misrepresentations might be caused by a variety of factors, including a general misunderstanding of the functional behavior assessment literature or the contingencies surrounding meeting FBA mandates required by law (i.e., IDEA 2004). This presentation will review the extant literature on functional assessments conducted by school personnel and will seek to provide a critical analysis of the effectiveness of current training models, including those considered to be behavior analytic in nature. Behavior analysts’ roles in providing an accurate account of the scope of functional behavior assessments (and the training necessary to conduct them) also will be examined.
The Behavior Analyst in the Public School System: A Model for Enacting Best Practices in Functional Assessment and Intervention.
AMANDA N. ADAMS (California State University, Reno)
Abstract: School districts are a growing area of practice for behavior analysts. Functional assessment is one area that schools have a growing need for behavior analysts and this presentation will discuss the methods of doing FBAs and disseminating training for FBA’s in a school district. Although current BCBAs may know how to conduct FBAs, the specifics to working well in a public school system from a methodology and practice standpoint are important features that will be the focus of this talk. The ways to intervene and the considerations of working as a behavior analyst in a public school system will be a focus of relating our data and information to audience participants. FBA data from more than 40 assessments conducted in public schools will be presented to illustrate several points.



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