Behavioral Resources

Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIP)

What is a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)?

An FBA is an approach to figuring out why a student acts a certain way. It uses different methods to understand what's behind behavior challenges. The basic idea is that a student's behavior serves a purpose.

What are the different functions of behavior?

1. Sensory-- A behavior that provides a sensory input that is pleasing to the child. The child does this behavior because it feels good, or helps to regulate over- or under-stimulation. 

2. Escape-- A behavior that provides an escape from the task they are expected to do. 

3. Attention-- A behavior that provides attention to the student, from peers and/or adults.

4. Tangible-- A behavior that provides access to a tangible item or person of interest or want.

5. Control-- A behavior that enables the child to gain control over a situation, or they perceive that they have control.

How is the need for a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) determined?

Before the FBA/BIP process has even begun, the following should have already taken place:

1. Contact parents to notify them the behavior exists-- Parents are important stakeholders in this process as they can provide valuable information about the student's background, triggers, behavior at home, and other factors that could be contributing to problem behaviors at school.

2. Contact the school counselor about the behavior issue--The school counselor can help determine if the issue is a behavioral issue or a mental health issue. NELSD has our own mental health therapist and provides her own separate services from the behavioral specialist. 

3. Attempt to mitigate the behavior issues in the classroom through use of basic behavioral intervention strategies and/or the building's discipline policies.

4.  Gather and review relevant school data (i.e. attendance data, data from previous interventions, academic progress, and previous discipline data and actions taken).

5. Refer student to the behavior specialist for further evaluation of the student behavior and behavior plan implementation. The behavior specialist will help the team to develop a behavior plan for the student and review progress after 4-8 weeks.

6. If the student does not make progress after receiving the support of the behavior specialist, the team may decide to conduct a functional behavior assessment to do a deeper evaluation of the behavior. Parents will need to provide consent for the FBA before the team moves forward with the process.

What happens after an FBA has been conducted?

1. The team will meet to review the data gathered from the functional behavior assessment and develop a specific behavior intervention plan (BIP) for the student, which could include multiple components or services depending on the student's needs.

2. The team will review student progress every 4-6 weeks after an FBA/BIP has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the behavior intervention plan and make changes as necessary.


What is PBIS?

PBIS stands for "Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports". The state of Ohio has adopted this framework for behavior management. One of Northeastern Local Schools' district initiatives is to implement PBIS supports in all buildings. Part of my job entails supporting staff in PBIS implementation. 

PBIS follows a three-tiered model. The graphic below illustrates this three-tiered approach for behavioral support at the building level:

The following information has been taken directly from Center On PBIS:

Multi-Tiered Framework

A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a data-driven, problem-solving framework to improve outcomes for all students. MTSS relies on a continuum of evidence-based practices matched to student needs. PBIS is an example of MTSS centered on social behavior.

Three Tiers of Support

MTSS [Multi-Tiered Systems of Support] emerged as a framework from the work conducted in public health emphasizing three tiers of prevention. Schools apply this model as a way to align to academic, behavioral, social, and emotional supports to improve education for all students. It’s important to remember these tiers refer to levels of support students receive, not to students themselves. Students receive Tier 2 supports, they are not Tier 2 students.

Tier 1: Universal Prevention (All)

Tier 1 supports serve as the foundation for behavior and academics. Schools provide these universal supports to all students. For most students, the core program gives them what they need to be successful and to prevent future problems.

Tier 2: Targeted Prevention (Some)

This level of support focuses on improving specific skill deficits students have. Schools often provide Tier 2 supports to groups of students with similar targeted needs. Providing support to a group of students provides more opportunities for practice and feedback while keeping the intervention maximally efficient. Students may need some assessment to identify whether they need this level of support and which skills to address. Tier 2 supports help students develop the skills they need to benefit core programs at the school.

Tier 3: Intensive, Individualized Prevention (Few)

Tier 3 supports are the most intensive supports the school offers. These supports require are the most resource intensive due to the individualized approach of developing and carrying out interventions. At this level, schools typically rely on formal assessments to determine a student’s need and to develop an individualized support plan. Student plans often include goals related to both academics as well as behavior support.

Key Components at Every Tier

Each tier has its own set of systems and practices, but some key components appear across every level. Each of these features needs to be present in order for MTSS to be implemented with fidelity.

  • Practices are based on evidence to be effective in a similar context with similar populations.
  • Practices are organized along a tiered continuum beginning with strong universal supports followed by intensified interventions matched to student needs.
  • Data are collected and used to screen, monitor, and assess student progress.
  • Resources are allocated to ensure systems and practices are implemented with fidelity over time.

Please visit this website for more information on PBIS systems:

Teacher Resources

Behavior Interventions

Social-Emotional Learning Activities

PBIS Resources (Tier 1, 2 and 3)

PBIS Links

Describes PBIS Components

PBIS/ Behavior Intervention Resources

Social-Emotional Learning and Research

PBISrewards Login for NEHS/MS, KRHS, and NRMS