Conducting FBAs and Writing BIPs

Special education students who have major or chronic behaviors that are inappropriate and interfere with academic progress will require a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP). FBAs and BIPs are formalized processes required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA). The IDEA is discussed further in the Special Education Policy and Procedures module.

Briefly, an FBA is a formalized assessment that looks at a specific problem behavior through various assessments (e.g., rating scales, interviews, direct observations) and hypothesizes the funstion(s) of the behavior (why the student behaves in a certain way – to gain or escape). Specifically it looks at environmental variables (i.e., when, where, with whom) that trigger or predict problem behavior. Some of the questions to be considered could include:

  • In what setting does the target behavior occur?
  • In what settings does the target behavior not occur?
  • Are there other setting events (e.g., medication, lack of sleep, hunger, thirst) that could be responsible for the target behavior?
  • Who is present when the behavior occurs?
  • What happens and who is interacting with the student just prior to the behavior?
  • What usually happens immediately after the behavior? How is it handled?
  • What possible hypothesis can you think of that would explain the function of the student’s behavior? In other words, what is he/she trying to get or get away from by exhibiting this behavior?
  • Can you think of a more acceptable behavior that could replace this behavior and serve the same function as the inappropriate behavior?

FBA Methods

  1. Behavior rating scales
  2. Interviewing teachers(s) or parent(s)
  3. Direct observation of the student in the classroom or setting where the target behavior occurs (A-B-C observation method which was discussed earlier)

The FBA is used to hypothesize about the possible triggers and possible functions of a problem behavior. Identifying more appropriate behaviors is also part of the FBA. Further information is available in the PowerPoint Presentation “Changing Behavior.”

Results from the FBA are used to write a BIP, which is a formalized version for steps 5-8 of the Teaching Appropriate Behaviors. The purpose of a BIP is to create a plan to teach specific replacement behaviors that are more appropriate and still address the function of the misbehavior. The BIP becomes part of the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) and addresses behavioral needs just as the rest of the IEP addresses academic needs.


Sign In Required

To access this section, please . If you don't have an account yet, . It's free!