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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #199
Changing Educators' Practices in Functional Behavior Assessment in Public School Settings
Sunday, May 26, 2019
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Fairmont, Second Level, Gold
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Brenda J. Bassingthwaite (Center for Disabilities and Development; Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities)
Discussant: Jennifer J. McComas (University of Minnesota)
CE Instructor: Jennifer J. McComas, Ph.D.

Educators in public school settings have been required to conduct functional behavior assessments (FBAs) when a student’s behavior interferes with his or her learning since the Individuals with Disabilities Act was reauthorized in 1997. Sadly, research on FBAs in public school settings continues to highlight the lack of trained personnel, time, and resources necessary to conduct high-quality FBAs. As experts in behavioral analysis, one of our roles is sometimes to increase the knowledge of educators in FBAs and its application to intervention. It is through this role that we can create systems-level change. This symposium is comprised of behavior analysts who are change agents in public school settings. The first two presenters will discuss their successes in using behavioral skills training to teach educators in FBA and intervention to improve outcomes for students. The third presenter discusses the long-term impact that training school-based behavior teams can have when the teams are supported to train other colleagues. The final presenter gives guidance to measuring educator’s knowledge of FBA so that we have the most accurate understanding of their skills. Audience participants will learn how they also can successfully increase educators’ knowledge and practice in FBA in public school settings.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Behavior Assessment, Educator Training, Public Schools
Target Audience:

The target audience is for masters or doctoral-level BCBAs and School Psychologists working in the school setting either directly or through consultation.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this symposium, participants will be able to (1) describe how behavioral skills training can be used to teach skills in FBA (2) discuss factors that support changing FBA practice in school settings (3) Identify research-based methods for evaluating skill development of trainees
Training Educators to Conduct Functional Analysis and Functional Communication Training in Schools via Telehealth
PATRICK ROMANI (University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus), Andrea Boorse (Children's Hospital Colorado), Brooke Carson (Colorado Department of Education), Kelsey Young (Colorado Department of Education)
Abstract: We present data from three educators who participated in a telehealth training program to learn functional analysis (FA) and functional communication training (FCT) procedures. Three students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who engaged in problem behavior in the classroom environment also participated. These students were recruited to evaluate generalization of skills educators acquired during training. Interobserver agreement was collected on an average of 41% of sessions and average 96%. Within a multiple baseline across educators design, we first collected baseline data on integrity of FA and FCT implementation with a protocol only. After showing a skill deficit for all three educators, behavioral skills training (BST) was implemented via telehealth to teach FA/FCT procedures. Integrity with implementing both FA and FCT procedures increased following BST implemented via telehealth. Afterwards, these procedures were implemented with the student diagnosed with ASD. Educators successfully generalized FA and FCT procedures when working with the student. Functions of problem behavior were identified for all three students. Their problem behavior was reduced by an average of 94% during FCT. These data will be discussed in terms of ways to expand access to behavior-analytic assessment and treatment into school settings.
Intensive Partnership for Behavior Intervention: Training Educators to Plan, Implement, and Evaluate Behavior Change Strategies
JOHN E. STAUBITZ (Vanderbilt University Medical Center, TRIAD), Michelle Mahoney Hopton (Vanderbilt University - Nashville, TN), Aislynn Kiser (Vanderbilt University Medical Center - TRIAD), Lauren A. Weaver (Vanderbilt University Medical Center TRIAD), William Martin (Vanderbilt University Medical Center - TRIAD), Becky Shafer (Vanderbilt University Medical Center - TRIAD), Kathleen Simcoe (Vanderbilt University Medical Center - TRIAD), Chelsea McQueen (Vanderbilt University Medical Center -TRIAD)
Abstract: Educators who serve students with disabilities report needing additional specialized training in order to intervene with those students who present with challenging behavior requiring tertiary behavioral supports. Through a multi-year contract with the Tennessee Department of Education, we train 12 school-based teams per year (totaling approximately 50 educators annually) through our Intensive Partnership for Behavior Intervention (IPBI) program. Adhering to a Behavior Skills Training (BST) model, our BCBAs seek to improve each school-based team’s capacity to assess, decision-make, design, and deliver tertiary-level behavioral supports and interventions while serving as a consultant to the team as they address the needs of 1 to 3 targeted students per school. Over the course of 5 to 9 months, BCBA consultants deliver training through traditional workshop and online learning platforms, as well as through on-campus and remote assessment, coaching and consultation sessions. Participants in the program demonstrated improvements in their knowledge as measured by knowledge quiz, and reported increased implementation and confidence related to the strategies trained, while rating the program as highly socially valid on surveys completed during and after the program. Participant-collected data indicated significant reductions in the occurrence of behaviors of concern over the course of the program.

Iowa's Apprenticeships in Functional Behavior Assessment: Where Are We Now?

TORY J. CHRISTENSEN (Center for Disabilities and Development; Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities), Brenda J. Bassingthwaite (Center for Disabilities and Development; Iowa's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities)

The Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD) has collaborated with the Iowa Department of Education (DE) since 2009 to support an initiative to improve the quality of functional behavior assessments (FBA) in public schools. Behavior analysts from the CDD provided training in FBA to challenging behavior teams across Iowa. Although team members came from a variety of backgrounds, all were tasked with delivering behavior support in public schools. Targeted skills during training included data collection, graphing, data analysis, descriptive assessment (Lalli et al., 1993; Riffel, 2018), preference assessment (Fisher et al. 1992), concurrent operants assessment (Harding et al., 1999), and antecedent analysis (Carr and Durand, 1995). An increase in trainees’ independent use of the assessments increased with training. The DE has also worked with CDD to insure sustainability of behavior teams to train other practitioners in behavior assessment skills. Thus far, all teams that have graduated from this project have begun training their colleagues in FBA. Additionally, CDD leads an Advanced Behavior Certification team, comprised of graduates from the training project, to help ensure the integrity of training remains high. This presentation will provide outcome data from this training initiative and discuss sustainability of this effort in the state.


A Comparative Analysis of Assessment Tools Used to Measure Teacher Knowledge and Skills in Functional Behavior Assessment

ANURADHA DUTT (Nanyang Technological University), Shengyu Leong (National Institute of Education - Nanyang Technological University), Marilyn Tan (National Institute of Education - Nanyang Technoloical University), Rahul Nair (University of Adelaide)

Given the prevalence of challenging behavior among students with developmental disabilities in schools, there is a high need for training in building the capacity of teachers in functional behavior assessment (FBA) and function-based behavioral interventions. A range of assessment approaches have been adopted to measure teacher competencies in FBA and function-based behavioral interventions. These assessment approaches include various perception-based surveys, knowledge-based assessment measures, and direct observation of teacher skills. This study conducted a comparative analysis of a perception-based survey and knowledge-based assessment tool across 292 special educators that work extensively for children with developmental disabilities who engage in challenging behaviors. Results indicated that knowledge-based assessment tools appeared to be a more stable measure of teachers’ competencies in FBA and function-based behavioral interventions than perception-based measures. These findings shed light on the use of perception-based surveys and knowledge-based assessments in measuring teachers’ abilities in FBA and function-based behavior interventions to inform planning of relevant teacher training programs in the area of behavior management.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh