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Conducting A Functional Behavioral Assessment

What's All the Hype?

By: Joan M. Miller, Ph.D.


Functional behavioral assessment is ...

Functional behavioral assessment is NOT ...

  1. the first technique a teacher uses when a pupil misbehaves
  2. a quick fix
  3. a choice for teachers of pupils with disabilities - it's required by federal statutes (such as the IDEA and Section 504) and by some states (such as New York)
  4. a do-it-yourself technique - it takes collaboration

Some common functions served by misbehaving are . . .

getting attention from teachers or peers - for example . . .

escaping work, people, noise, or something else - for example . . .

obtaining a desired object or event - for example . . .

A---> B ---> C ---> Analysis

An ABC analysis enables you to analyze clues about why the student keeps doing the same problem behavior. Your purpose is to identify patterns in order to hypothesize about the function the problem behavior is serving.

*Antecedent* what happens just before the behavior occurs identification of the people, events, and/or things present in the situation just before each behavior

*Behavior* what the student does the problem behavior stated in observable terms

*Consequence* what happens after the behavior what happens after the student engages in the problem behavior

See Examples Of A Full Functional Behavioral Assessment

About the Author

Joan M. Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, New York

*teaches courses in special education, behavior management, literacy for pupils with disabilities, and using technology with pupils with disabilities.

*interests include teacher education, effective teaching research in special education, and educational technology.

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