This past week I was observing high school students in their classes. These observations started me thinking about the value of Functional Behaviour Assessments and how underutilized they are in schools. Functional Behaviour Assessment (FBA) is founded on the principles of behaviourism which operates from the assumption that all behaviour serves a function. If the function of a certain behaviour can be identified, then that behaviour can be changed. To understand the function of behaviour an assessment of the controlling variables is undertaken. An FBA includes the following five components: “(a) an operational definition of the problem behavior, (b) identification of predictable antecedent-behavior-consequence chains, (c) determination of stimulus control and operant function, (d) determination of an appropriate functional replacement behavior, and (e) manipulation of antecedent and consequence events to facilitate the replacement behavior” (Scott et. al., 2010, p. 88). There is ample research to support that FBAs can and do result in positive behaviour change in students (Scott et. al., 2010). If positive change results, then why are FBAs so underutilized in schools?
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA