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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #312
CE Offered: BACB
Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), AKA PBIS: What is the Role of Behavior Analysts?
Sunday, May 28, 2017
5:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency, Mineral Hall D-G
Area: OBM/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Robert F. Putnam (May Institute)
Discussant: Rose Iovannone (University of South Florida/Florida Mental Health)
CE Instructor: Robert F. Putnam, Ph.D.

A multi-tiered systems of support framework (MTSS) is established as a method to improve behavior support as well as prosocial and academic achievement in schools across the country. The adoption of this methodology, often referred to as school-wide positive behavior interventions and support (PBIS), has been encouraged by federal and state regulations. Both federal and state agencies in education, mental health, and human services have provided numerous grants to assist schools, and other organizations to adopt this framework. Through the OSEP National Technical Center on PBIS, over 20,000 schools are involved in implementing SWPBIS. This symposium will review the components of MTSS/PBIS, an organizational behavior management framework, the evidence of effectiveness and the future impact this might have on our educational and human services systems. Behavior analysts have an important role to play in increasing the efficacy of the schools and/or organizations in which we work. This framework provides an opportunity to utilize applied behavior analysis beyond individuals to change systems. Presenters will review the opportunities and challenges facing behavior analysts in working in organizations that use this framework, as well as, those organizations considering adopting this framework (Putnam & Kincaid, 2015; Putnam & Knoster, 2015).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Behavior support, Improving education, Scaling ABA

Scaling up Applied Behavior Analysis: Implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in Schools and Other Organizations

(Service Delivery)
ROBERT F. PUTNAM (May Institute)

This presentation will provide an overview of how schools are utilizing multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)/ PBIS, an organizational behavior management framework, across individuals, small groups, classrooms, and school-wide. Often this is referred to as a three-tiered continuum of behavior support practices. The framework includes links to applied behavior analysis in that evidence-based practices include school-wide prevention-based modifications in the environment and methods to teach replacement behaviors to all individuals. Data-based decision making within a team-based approach to problem solving is a fundamental component at each tier, as individuals learn to examine problems more systematically and consider not only what changes to make for individuals and groups of students, but how to support adult behavior change such that practices can be sustained over time. Furthermore, schools have established data systems to include methods to measure treatment fidelity and outcomes over time. By utilizing a comprehensive and systematic approach, each aspect of behavioral support is strengthened for the individuals and staff at each of the multiple tiers The presentation will also review the research supporting the use of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) and positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) as an approach with foundations in ABA. For these reasons, the adoption of the methodology associated with the framework has been supported through both federal and state regulations. Participants will become familiar with the legislation that encourages the use of PBIS and MTSS that began with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, 1997) and has extended most recently the Every Student Success Act (ESSA, 2015). For example, IDEA of 1997 encouraged schools to utilize functional behavior assessments when developing positive behavioral support plans and provided funds to states for professional development to build practices in positive behavioral support to improve student behavior in the classroom. Both federal and state agencies in education, substance abuse and mental health organizations, and human services have provided numerous grants to assist schools, and other organizations to adopt this framework. Several of these will be reviewed such that participants see the impact of this framework across multiple governing agencies.

Roles of Behavior Analysts in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in Schools: Supporting Each Tier
(Service Delivery)
KACI FLEETWOOD (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Behavior analysists can play an important role in the implementation and sustainability of MTSS/PBIS in both school and community-based organizations. Among these roles are the data analyst, the behavioral coach, team member, and trainer for staff. Given their training in data-based decision making, behavior analysts are well suited for facilitating discussions about the efficacy of function-based, empirically supported interventions. Although often more comfortable with this role when it applies to individual behavior change, behavior analysts can provide guidance to teams about the application of prevention and consequence-based strategies and teaching procedures as it applies to larger units such as groups of individuals, students and staff, and whole systems. As members of multi-tiered teams, behavior analysts can pair themselves with prevention-based practices potentially before students need more intensive levels of support. Furthermore, any opportunity to help teams use data to guide their discussions and decisions will lead to the selection and sustainability of effective practices. Behavior analysts often encounter challenges working effectively in school settings, and often face barriers at the theoretical and practical level. The reality is that effective practices require effective systems to support and sustain school staff behavior (Horner et al., 2009). Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) provide behavior analysts with the opportunity to create and support systems that deliver effective interventions to students that yield positive outcomes for staff and students. This presentation will provide practical examples of critical roles that behavior analysts can play at all three tiers of MTSS within school and district systems. Important considerations for working as a behavior analyst within school systems will be discussed.



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