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Monday, October 7, 2013

Re-Defining Behavior...


A functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is defined as “a systematic process for identifying variables that reliably predict and control problem behavior. The purpose of FBA is to improve the effectiveness, relevance, and efficiency of behavior intervention plans by matching treatment to the individual characteristics of the child and his or her environment” (Peacock, Ervin, Daly III, & Merrell, 2010, p.192). Most behaviors exist within their context, as behaviors often result from what is happening in the students’ environment, warranting more time to be spent assessing the environment, rather than the child (Peacock et al., 2010). It is presumed that identifying antecedents and consequences, and linking these components to treatment, can most effectively treat target behavior, enabling goals to be met. Each student must be approached individually, tailoring FBAs to their personal applicable domains. There are six main components which coexist in the conceptualization of an FBA: clarify the purpose of assessment, define the problem in an objective manner, develop a progress monitoring system such as response to intervention (RTI), identify variables that are functionally related to target response, design interventions, and evaluate interventions (Peacock et al., 2010). There are seven identified interventions including: skill acquisition through teaching interactions, improving fluency through increased opportunities to respond, altering establishing operations to address performance deficits, differential reinforcement to address performance deficits, altering established operations to reduce performance excess, differential reinforcement to decrease performance excesses, and extinction of either positive or negative punishment (Peacock et al., 2010). Ultimately, the purpose of conducting an FBA is to enhance student outcomes, utilizing a positive behavior support plan, utilizing interventions that address skill deficits, performance deficits, and performance excess. Of the interventions discussed, which do you believe is the most effective?

Framed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) , FBAs are a mandated practice, prior to the formulation of an individualized education plan (IEP) (Peacock et al., 2010). The IDEA had no prior requirements for FBAs and behavior intervention plans (BIP) until its revisions in 1997 and 2004. IEP teams had the option to consider when it was appropriate to them to use positive behavioral interventions in addressing problem behaviors that impeded on the students learning (Zirkel, 2011). The language in the 1997 IDEA was vague and left for the IEP team to determine appropriate interventions for problem behaviors. It was not until IDEA 2004 revisions, where the earlier requirements of addressing behavior was strengthened by the establishment of a more straightforward approach, mandating all IEP teams to “consider the use” of FBAs and BIPs at all times when dealing with problematic behavior (Zirkel, 2011). An FBA was deemed necessary in order to determine if the child warranted an alternative educational setting due to what is called a manifestation of determination. A manifestation of determination is a meeting for student with special needs, who accumulate ten out of school suspensions within a school year. The Child Study Team and administrators, meet with the parent(s) of the student to determine the student’s educational future, in relation to their current school setting. This past class we discussed ethical issues and our role as school psychologists, upholding ethical guidelines. Prior to mandating FBAs and BIP in the 2004 act, school districts had the option to consider if the behavior being exhibited warranted an FBA or BIP. As future school psychologist, we must use FBAs and IBP at all times when dealing with chronic problematic behaviors, which impede a student from learning to their full potential. If we fail to complete FBAs and BIP when warranted, it would be unjust, as it could negatively affect the student. How important do you think it is to conduct an FBA in the school setting? Do you think the functions of an FBA assist in determining whether interventions are deemed necessary?


Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Zirkel, P. (2011). State special education laws for functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plans. Behavioral Disorders, 36(4), 262-278.

This Blog was created by Giselle Batista and Udoka Franklin Nwigwe.

28 comments:

Danielle Territo said...

Of the interventions discussed by Peacock, Ervin, Daly III, & Merrell (2010) I preferred altering establishing operations to reduce performance excesses. Giving students a choice between specific assignments reduces problem behavior as compared to assignments given without a choice, and it is also less intrusive for teachers. Curricular revision decreases the motivation for escape-related behavior by providing students with assignments that meet their academic level, hence reducing the impulse to act out when material is not understood. Lastly, noncontingent reinforcement eliminates problem behavior by satiation, which includes a frequent access to reinforcement in order to decrease and deter problem behavior. I believe these strategies can be easily implemented and monitored within the classroom, and they are effective in reducing motivation for inappropriate behavior.

Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Jessica Maneri said...

Of the interventions discussed in chapter 12, the intervention that I leaned towards the most was Altering Establishing Operations to Reduce Performance Excesses. I like the fact that teachers are in favor of this type of intervention – to me that means it is more likely to be implemented in the classroom. If the teacher and Child Study Team are on the same page with intervention/implementation in the classroom, the desired outcomes are more likely to be achieved. Giving choices to students (I think this goes for all students, not just students with problem behaviors) increases the motivation and allows students to feel like they can pick the assignment that will illustrate their best work. They don’t have to read a prompt and right away think “How am I going to do this” or “I don’t know anything about this”. Instead they can go through the choices and find which one best suits them. At the same time that like the idea of making choices available to the student with problem behavior I see some limitations. I wonder up until what grade level this would be appropriate for, and how realistic this would be in the world outside of the classroom. While the fixed-time delivery of reinforces may be able to work in the lower grade classrooms, for example the child requiring peer attention receiving access to play on a fixed schedule, how would something of the sort work in a high school classroom?

As far as the FBA, I think it is crucial to conduct in the school setting, as Gisele and Udoka explained, it would be unjust to not conduct a FBA and a BIP since it would hold a student back from learning to his/her potential. I think the six steps make it easy to understand the FBA and how it works, and if the framework is followed closely for each individual student, a BIP can be created unique to each student and his/her problem behavior. I think an important part of the reading on FBA is where the authors explain how there is no universal model for FBA -- how two students can have the same problem behavior triggered by different antecedents, or how the same antecedent can result in two different problem behaviors from two different students. This explanation makes it clear how individualized the BIP should be. The FBA touches many different domains, for example skills and performances, the monitoring of behaviors and progress, designing and evaluation interventions, etc. It seems to me that the FBA is an obvious place to start – what is the problem, how can we track it, what is it that is causing problem behaviors, what can we do about it and is what we are doing about it having a positive effect on the student’s behavior/learning? FBA makes it possible to match a treatment to a problem behavior and monitoring how the student takes to the treatment can allow for changes to be made if the student does not adapt/respond.

Rachel schneider said...

Each of the design interventions discussed in chapter 12 could be useful depending on the situation. Working as a preschool teacher I found myself using the "Extinction" intervention frequently. Although I don't find it ideal in every situation and don't think it should be used in isolation, I do think that it should be used along with any other intervention, can be easy to implement, and can be productive at every age level. There have been many times that I separated students in the classroom so problem behaviors would not occur. The school I am doing my pracicum at is a high school and the extinction intervention is being practiced there as well with the older students. There was a student who was misbehaving so badly that it caused a teacher to leave. The new teacher came in and the student started to act out. The teacher ignored the student the whole class, and the students did as well. The student came up to the teacher after class and asked him why he was being ignored. The teachers response was that the student was "being a jackass" and if he thought the student was interesting and would gladly talk to him and acknowledge him if he acted respectfully. The student was very respectful and didn't cause any problems for the rest of the year. Taking away the attention to the problem behavior by the teacher and his peers cause the student to behave better. Although extinction should not be implemented alone I think it is a simple and important intervention to add on to the other interventions chosen.

Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Rozanna said...

It is difficult to say which intervention is most effective because every child is an individual. What may be unbearable for one child will be tolerable for another. Even when the students exhibit similar behaviors interventions can have varying effects. In most cases however, I believe a combination of positive reinforcement and altering establishing operations would be most effective in reducing a disruptive behavior. In a classroom, for example, if a teacher chooses stickers to be a positive reinforcement and manipulates the classroom environment in such a way that stickers are highly desired, students will be motivated to receive the stickers and as a result behave accordingly. I truly believe that motivation is key.

Danielle, I understand what you mean by less intrusion for teachers, however, I do not see how giving students an assignment choice can reduce performance excess. Undoubtedly it would allow the child to feel more in control but if we are dealing with a problematic student who is most likely resistant to doing any work, it would probably not make much of a difference in behavior. Also this can have a negative impact on academics as the only incentive I see for a child choosing one assignment over another is either length or level of difficulty.

Certain behaviors are not only disruptive but can be dangerous to the student exhibiting them, other students, teachers, and staff. In addition they can have an impact on the overall school environment and reputation. Therefore it is extremely important to conduct an FBA and understand why, when, and where problem behaviors are occurring. FBA concentrates on antecedents which predict the occurrence of a behavior and identifies variables that control the behavior. In order to implement an appropriate BIP for a student it is essential to conduct an FBA.

Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Rozanna Shindelman said...

just want to clarify the intervention in combination with positive reinforcement that I was talking about was altering establishing operations to address performance deficits.

Also, Rachel that is very interesting how what that teacher in your practicum did altered the student's behavior. I currently teach at a daycare and I think it would be pretty difficult to implement the extinction method particularly taking away the reinforcement of peer attention.

Giselle Batista said...

Danielle, Jessica, and Rozanna, each touched based on "altering establishing operations to reduce performance excesses". Many positive aspects have been identified for using this form of intervention. As we discussed, interventions have to be tailored at an independent level for each student, due to different demands and personal dynamics. Taking this into consideration, does anyone believe establishing operations to reduce performance excess can be difficult for younger students? Possibly provoke anxiety when given options? Or making them indecisive Would we be giving younger students too much control, which can be detrimental as they grow older?

Rozanna Shindelman said...

Giselle, I do think that this type intervention would be difficult for younger children, especially ones with problematic behaviors. I like what Jessica said regarding the possible correlation between giving choices and motivation, however I only see this being the case with students who already have a certain degree of value for their education. Many students with behavior problems do not even know what is going on in the classroom because they are too busy acting out and not paying attention. I think this would make it difficult for a problematic student to make a choice. Its like that with anyone, if we are given several choices on a topic we have limited knowledge of we will probably just choose a random option not having anything to do with what we prefer or what is best for us. When it comes to younger children I believe it is the responsibility of the teacher to identify the child's strengths and weaknesses and help him or her accordingly.

Giselle Batista said...

Rozanna, thank you for your response. I am in agreement that this is a good intervention of the many interventions we have available. I just think it's good to keep in mind that some children who require a more structured schedule, may not benefit from being given multiple options. I like that you noted that's some children are so distracted my their behavioral issues that they can be difficult to engage. This is why it is so beneficial we have different interventions to choose from.

Sean Latino said...

I think that FBA is a great strategy for schools systems to utilize and it most definitely helps all the professionals within a school district achieve a common goal. FBAs are a federally mandated practice, prior to the formulation of an individualized education plan (IEP) (Peacock et al., 2010). I think the best possible intervention, as proposed and designed according to the FBA, is one that interweaves a few of the seven discussed in the blog. I feel that the “skill acquisition through teaching interactions,” is paramount because the truest purpose of an intervention is to teach a child how to cope, alter, and eventually succeed in the presence of their triggers and/or problem behavior. After identifying the context and defining the issue systematically via the FBA, offering the child an intervention that will teach them the skills and tools needed to achieve their personal best within the classroom can positively change a child’s entire outlook on themselves and their school performance. Next, taking this intervention in combination with a “differential reinforcement to address performance deficits,” will make the child strive to alter his maladaptive behavior and want to achieve the goals set by his CST. FBAs allow the school psychologist and CST to understand the issue more closely and it forces them to consider all the variables, environmental factors, and personal characteristics that make up a subjects problem-behavior and/or deficient academic performance. With an FBA, the team can make more informed decisions as well have a government supported system to guide their choices, which is important when considering some of the ethical, legal, and administrative barriers the CST may encounter.

Sean Latino said...

I think that FBA is a great strategy for schools systems to utilize and it most definitely helps all the professionals within a school district achieve a common goal. FBAs are a federally mandated practice, prior to the formulation of an individualized education plan (IEP) (Peacock et al., 2010). I think the best possible intervention, as proposed and designed according to the FBA, is one that interweaves a few of the seven discussed in the blog. I feel that the “skill acquisition through teaching interactions,” is paramount because the truest purpose of an intervention is to teach a child how to cope, alter, and eventually succeed in the presence of their triggers and/or problem behavior. After identifying the context and defining the issue systematically via the FBA, offering the child an intervention that will teach them the skills and tools needed to achieve their personal best within the classroom can positively change a child’s entire outlook on themselves and their school performance. Next, taking this intervention in combination with a “differential reinforcement to address performance deficits,” will make the child strive to alter his maladaptive behavior and want to achieve the goals set by his CST. FBAs allow the school psychologist and CST to understand the issue more closely and it forces them to consider all the variables, environmental factors, and personal characteristics that make up a subjects problem-behavior and/or deficient academic performance. With an FBA, the team can make more informed decisions as well have a government supported system to guide their choices, which is important when considering some of the ethical, legal, and administrative barriers the CST may encounter.

udoka nwigwe said...

Rachel, I think the teacher who replaced the teacher that quit due to the disruptive student conducted a pretty good version of "Extinction". Just from reading your comment, I can imagine that the teacher who quit engaged in this students negative behavior at all times. Some teachers fail to realize that the more engagement in a negative behavior the more the student will act out, especially if it is entertaining to the other student. are getting a kick out of it. This will overwhelm a teacher as it did with the teacher that quit.

Also, we have to be very careful about the way we use "Extinction" as you mentioned. This strategy can backfire if not used correctly. I've observed some teachers using this strategy the wrong way. A teacher mistake a students actual need for an inappropriate behavior and just completely ignored the student for the entire class. This is why it's important to first define a behavior before implementing a strategy. It is very important to use strategies and interventions correctly or else it can have a negative impact on the child.




Giselle Batista said...

Sean, I think you make an excellent point highlighting what the long/overall goal is: we want to provide students with interventions that help the "here&now" as well as 10 years down the road. As we discussed during one of our first classes, the field of school psychology has significantly evolved. Hence, the mandating of FBAs has come with that overall evolvement.

udoka nwigwe said...

Jessica and Sean, I agree with your position on the use of FBAs in the school districts. The reason why Giselle and I posed this question to you all was because certain districts fail to follow this mandate. One of the reasons why I think this may happen is because some Child Study Teams (CST) find it difficult to do. Not a lot of training goes into conducting an FBA and usually districts out source for this type of service, which leaves no responsibility on CST. I feel that every school psychologist should be able to conduct one. This saves money on the out sourcing and gives us more responsibility other than testing.

Sean Latino said...

Rachel I find it fascinating that the extinction method worked so well even at the high school level. I envisaged this type of intervention to be more beneficial to a younger child, perhaps an adolescent who is still pursuing the attention of peers and teachers as a way to give themselves self-worth. That being said, one should wonder if a less caustic way of managing this students intrusive attention-seeking porblem behavior such as what Gisele, Rozanna and Danielle were discussing, the "altering establishing operations to reduce performance excesses," may have worked as well. This student may have wanted an option to go to different class form the onset of year with a different teacher, thus saving the first teacher from leaving. Also, there may be a resurfacing of this behavior in the future as the student simply learned to act out in order to get what he wanted. With the "altering establishing operations to reduce performance excesses," he will feel empowered and learn compromising skills as he makes he own choices regarding behavior, learning styles, and how his school schedule will work. Although effective in this situation, I still feel the "extinction," is a quick fix that does not get to the root of problem behaviors.

Jessica Maneri said...

Udoka I agree with you that conducting an FBA should be the responsibility of the school/district CST. In my practicum placement, the high school waits for a student to serve 10 out of school suspensions (in one school year) before a behavior plan is underway. 10 out of school suspensions seems absurd -- especially at the high school level where behaviors that students are engaging in to get themselves suspended outside of school are more serious, for example, fighting, drugs, etc. Now I am beginning to wonder if the reason they wait for 10 out of school suspensions to occur before assessing the student on his/her behavior and implementing a plan is because they are not trained in this area as they are in implementing plans for education/learning -- although this definitely has a severe impact on individual learning, as learning and behavior go hand in hand, and it also impacts the learning of other students subjected to disruptions.

Rachel schneider said...

Jessica, thats is absurd! I find that interesting that they they wait so long to create a behavior plan, I wonder if it is because it is high school and the students are older. I heard a member of the child study team at the high school I am at make a comment that he does not think a behavioral plan should be made for a high school student because he is too old and it is too late for that. FBA's can be time consuming, and although i don't agree, I could see why one would be reluctant to creating a BIP for a student they feel it won't effect.

Sean Latino said...


I’m glad Udoka agrees....It is great that the OSERS was able to pinpoint circumstances calling for a BIP. Zirkel states that the following two situations require a BIP, " a negative manifestation of determination, and if a child with a disability whose behavior impedes his or her learning of that of others, and for whom the IEP team has decided that a BIP is appropriate. FBA helps in "identifying the function or purpose behind a child's behavior (Zeikel,2011, p.264)," and with a BIP the IEP team will reduce or eliminate misbehavior.
This is a great step in systemically aiding children; however did anyone else notice the differing terms used for the behavior intervention plans across the United Sates. Such variations in psychological and legal jargon may lead to issues when attempting to standardize the BIP implementation. One would think that the FBA legislation under the 2004 IDEA would make use of clear terminology and nomenclature when pertaining to the BIP strategies which it mandates. Instead, the article explains that usage of the acronyms FBA and BIP are generic and some state laws use variations of these "template terms (Zirkel, 2011, p.266)" Many states utilize terms such as functional behavioral analysis, behavioral analysis assessment, behavior management plan, positive behavior plan, and positive behavior support plan (Zirkel, 2011, p. 267). Does anyone else see this as strange or causing an issue for school psychologist and administrative personal that by law are required to use a FBA and BIP?

Zirkel, P. (2011). State special education laws for functional behavioral assessment and behavior intervention plans. Behavioral Disorders, 36(4), 262-278.

udoka nwigwe said...

Jessica, I think it's absurd as well. I do not think an FBA needs to be conducted after two suspension, but after the fifth or sixth suspension something has to be done. There is a reason why this particular student continues to be suspended and waiting until the student reaches 10 cumulative suspension leaves this student at a greater chance of failure.

As for the 10 cumulative school suspension, this applies to special needs students. This process is called a "Manifestation of Determination" and it's to determine if the child's behavior problem is a manifestation of the his or her's disability. After the 10th suspension, Child Study Team has to have an IEP meeting to determine this. If the disability is a contributing factor to the suspensions then interventions need to be put in place (FBA).

Like I said before, I think waiting until the student gets suspended 10 ten times is late intervention. I think something needs to be done after the third suspension. Maybe the law should change this process and shorten it to 4 cumulative suspensions.

Keri said...

I agree with Rozanna in that it is difficult to choose which intervention is most effective. Each of these interventions serves a different purpose and target a specific behavior. Some of them do target the same behavior, but that does not make one more effective than the other, in my opinion. Like Rozanna said, each child is an individual and what is beneficial for one child may not be beneficial for another. Since the same behavior exhibited by two children can serve a different function, it could also warrant different interventions. Therefore, if we were given a case on a certain child and asked what the most effective intervention for that specific child was, I feel like it would be a more straight forward response.

I also believe it is imperative to conduct FBAs within a school setting to ensure each child is getting adequate care and individualized attention to their specific needs. Although there is “no universally accepted model for conducting an FBA and practical applications in schools vary considerably,” the main purpose of an FBA is to “better understand the conditions that increase or decrease the frequency, duration or intensity of behavior.” Therefore, since FBAs make it possible to better a child’s experience at school, in addition to their teachers’ and peers’ experiences, FBAs should absolutely be practiced. Not only will FBAs be able to identify these conditions, but it could benefit the child in many ways throughout their future. Since practical applications vary throughout, there is no reason as to why any CST should be against FBAs. The overview and foundations of FBA are fairly straight forward and are useful interventions that will help the child in need.

Keri said...

Udoka, I also agree with your point of the CST being able to conduct FBAs. In my opinion, if you want to be the best school psychologist you could be, this should be a given. Not conducting FBA because they never had the proper training is a poor excuse. If we go into this field because we want to help these children the best we can, than it is our responsibility to get the best training we can and put in the extra effort from our end. It’s very disappointing to see so many school psychologists who do not have that desire. Although the law does have its limitations, I just can’t imagine being too lazy to at least TRY and help a student who is clearly struggling- like you have been mentioning with the children with numerous suspensions.

Rozanna said...

I agree with Jessica, Sean, and Udoka that waiting 10 suspensions is ridiculous. Like I said before certain behaviors are not just disruptive but can be dangerous to the child, other students, and teachers. In my opinion, if the child doesn't respond to the consequence of suspension once or twice a BIP needs to be implemented. To some students, suspension is not even a threat and therefore the problematic behavior will continue and possibly escalate. We shouldn't have to wait for something more serious to occur in order to react differently. I also agree that the reason for this is most likely the issue of time. On the other hand, we do need to analyze several suspensions in order to implement an effective BIP for that individual child. If we start to give BIPs after two consecutive suspensions we will not have much information to base our decision on. By looking at several suspensions we will more clearly see patterns of where the behavior is occurring, when, and why. This way we have a better chance of getting to the root of the problem and choosing the intervention that will work best.

Alison said...

Schools failing to implement FBA’s seems to be caused by a combination of reasons, Udoka mentioned the lack of training which I think is a big part of it. In addition, I think it is also caused by the lack of structure surrounding this law.

Of course we need to tailor each intervention plan to individual students and modify them to meet a child's specific needs; but this philosophy allows psychologists to wait how ever long they deem appropriate before stepping in. Udoka said that he would not implement an FBA after two suspensions, but perhaps another psychologist would; and Jessica gave an example of someone who would wait until 10. Which is the right number? The decision, since it is not a mandated number, is up to our discretion. Since “there is no universally accepted model for conducting an FBA” it is difficult to ensure that all schools are implementing them at the right times.

Sean brings up a good point about the lack of continuity in the language. I do think that this could be one of the reasons of the discrepancies in FBA’s. I personally like Udoka’s suggestion of the law changing so that it mandates action after a certain number of suspensions. But could this be problematic, would there be some instances where a mandated number would not work?

Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Giselle Batista said...

Everyone is making exceptional points regarding all different entities associated to school psychology. As I read through these posts, I can't help but to notice how many different hats the school psychologist needs to wear. Individually, we each bring something different to the table, hence, we will each approach an issue in our own personal manner. Our approaches will likely be influenced by our experiences, knowledge, comfort, district regulations, federal regulations and sometimes even biases. Along with our individual approaches/criteria/ideas, we will work with different individual students, who will require distinct approaches (whether we should await 2 out of school suspensions or ten).

Lisa Kleitsch said...

Jessica, et al, I find it interesting that a school would have a policy to wait until 10 out of school suspensions have been accrued before a behavior plan is implemented. By the fifth suspension, let’s say, the child is likely having feelings of defeat if not, at a minimum, low self-esteem. Without appropriate intervention, it seems unethical (and rather cruel) to let a student continue in this manner. Beyond what the student’s issues are, I would want to know what the environmental triggers are and whether or not the CST is contributing to the student’s failure to avoid suspension by not intervening with problems in the school setting. Certainly, I believe, something the CST could influence through communication with other school staff and administrators.

I agree with Udoka that lowering the amount of suspensions needs to be considered. As Alison mentioned, though, it could be problematic mandating action after a certain number of suspensions. Ideally, an FBA should be implemented depending on the individual student and the urgency of the need. Ultimately, as stated, it falls to the discretion of the CST. I don’t necessarily agree with the position of waiting to see if a pattern arises. I think one suspension is serious and stands alone as a red flag to anyone who is in a position to help. I feel follow thru is necessary.

Tangentially, I am looking for some insight from those of you who have observed, perhaps at your internships or work experience, your school’s particular process a school psychologist or CST went about creating and implementing an FBA. At my practica location, Marshall Elementary School in South Orange, the school only goes to second grade. Therefore, the student population is young overall. At Marshall, if a child has an IEP, whether upon entering Marshall or acquires one somewhere during, he or she is re-evaluated at second grade as to whether or not to continue the IEP to third grade (likely with changes to reflect academic progress and development). Once the child has transitioned to third grade, he or she is in a different school with a different CST. I have yet to identify an FBA in a child’s file or even hear it mentioned by the CST at Marshall. Of course, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, but I was wondering if it is less likely that an FBA would be implemented because of the age of the students at my internship site.

Rozanna said...

Lisa, I also have not heard anything about a specific BIP, however at a pupil personnel meeting I attended I do recall a conversation regarding the behaviors of certain students and how they are being handled. The issue of one student being discussed was excessive absence from class. By this I mean he was constantly caught in the hallway during class time without a pass. I don't know if this would be considered a disruptive behavior but it is definitely something that can have a negative effect on this student. One of the counselors at the meeting was complaining that she sees him in the hall way all the time. The assistant principle then told her to notify him whenever she sees him so that he can bring it up to the student the next time he sees him in the hallway and have concrete evidence that this is not his first time skipping class. It seemed very casual and I'm not sure if an FBA was actually conducted. Also my practicum is in a junior high school so I am sure the qualifications for FBAs vary.

Rozanna said...

As for the patterns I mentioned, I think it makes sense to wait for several suspensions in that it would provide more in depth information regarding the behavior of the child. However 10 or more suspensions is definitely a very high number and we shouldn't have to wait that long to consider a behavior intervention. I would say 3 suspensions are ideal to make an accurate decision. Unless, as Udoka mentioned before, the behavior is a direct result of the child's disability. In that case I think the first suspension should be enough to determine that.

Alison said...


Rozanna, in a way, it seems like the principal is doing an indirect assessment. He might not be consciously calling it that, but, by asking the counselor to alert him to the when the target behavior is occurring, they can then begin to identify antecedents for the behavior and begin discussing what interventions can be put into place.


Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Rozanna said...

I also want to mention that at my practicum today I attended a pupil personnel meeting dealing with behavioral intervention and asked what the criteria is for the implementation of an intervention. The school psychologist told me that reasons for intervention vary and that in the state of New York there is no set rule regarding the amount of suspensions needed. He explained to me that suspensions might be a big part of the criteria in other states due to differing reasons for suspending a student. In New York a student is allowed to be suspended only if they are a threat to themselves, other students, or teachers. Cursing at a teacher for example would not get the student suspended. There is one girl at the school who travels between New York and Pennsylvania because her parents are divorced and live in different states. Half the time she goes to school in New York and the other half in Pennsylvania. When she was at her school in Pennsylvania she got in trouble for her nose ring and for her bag being "too big". These things are not in any way punishable in New York. Therefore in states where the criteria for suspension could be something like a nose ring, it does make sense to require a minimum of 10 suspensions for a behavioral intervention to be considered. If the child was suspended for bringing a gun to school, just once should be enough to take serious action.