Function-based supports for individual students in school settings

Terrance M. Scott, Cynthia Anderson, Richmond Mancil, Peter Alter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


When considering behavior supports for students whose behaviors have not responded to primary- or secondary-tier interventions, the need to align interventions with assessment information becomes crucially important. If effective interventions are not developed, these students are likely to experience a range of negative outcomes, including academic failure, school dropout (Rylance, 1997; Tremblay, Mass, Pagani, & Vitaro, 1996), chronic unemployment, criminal involvement, and poor family adjustment (Duncan, Forness, & Hartsough, 1995; Jay & Padilla, 1987). Successful outcomes for these students are dependent on our ability to intervene as early as possible with appropriate, evidence-based interventions. Fortunately, efforts to intervene early and effectively have been bolstered in recent years by function-based approaches to behavior intervention support.

A function-based approach to prevention is an essential feature of positive behavior support (PBS). At the primary tier, consideration of predictability of failure is a fundamental component of the development of school rules. While such efforts do not constitute what would typically be defined as functional behavior assessment (FBA), the practice is similar to what is more commonly considered effective assessment at the secondary or tertiary tiers. That is, understanding who, what, when, and where student failures occur is helpful in understanding why they occur and thus provides a direction for intervention (e.g., effective rules, routines, and arrangements to maximize the probability of student success). Still, the term FBA is typically applied to students for whom primary- and secondary-tier interventions have proven insufficient to facilitate student success.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of Positive Behavior Support
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Behavioral Disorder Apply Behavior Analysis Behavior Support Replacement Behavior Positive Behavior Support


  • Education

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