Functional behaviour assessment (FBA)

Functional behaviour assessment (FBA) supports teachers to identify when, where and the likely reasons (why) behaviour(s) of concern are occurring. This information can be used to develop an individual student behaviour plan which includes strategies that address why the behaviour is occurring.

Information about this resource

This resource supports teacher and school needs by providing:

  • high quality resources to understand the function (why) of student behaviours of concern

  • strategies that better support students at the point of need.

  • teacher professional development with FBA.

This resource provides schools and teachers with supports and resources to:

  • investigate the function of a student’s behaviour

  • complete an Antecedent-Behaviour-Consequence (A-B-C)

  • use data from the A-B-C to develop, implement and monitor functionally based interventions for individual students requiring additional support.

Professional audience

School leaders and teachers across all school settings, particularly the learning and support team and learning and support teachers.

This resource can be used without assistance, as a stand-alone resource and/or linked to professional learning.

Student audience

All students P-12.

When to use

When investigating why behaviour(s) of concern are occurring to examine the function of behaviour.


Can be used at any time when individual students require additional assistance.

System priorities and/or needs 

This resource aligns with:

  • the Premier’s Priorities to improve outcomes in literacy and numeracy and HSC attainment
  • Our Plan for NSW Public Education’s direction and priorities of strengthening student wellbeing and development and advancing equitable outcomes, opportunities and experiences.
  • need identified by Delivery Support, particularly Behaviour Specialists, to build teacher capacity in understanding the function of student behaviour
  • identified needs in the three key areas of practice, support and ongoing improvement.

School Excellence Framework

  • Learning domain – Wellbeing (Caring for students, A planned approach to wellbeing, Individual learning needs, Behaviour) 

  • Teaching domain - Effective classroom practice (Classroom management). 

Relevant frameworks

Existing resources

Consulted with: Delivery Support team, Aboriginal Partnerships and Outcomes, Inclusion and Wellbeing as part of the development of the behaviour support toolkit. 

Reviewed by: Behaviour Services

Last updated: January 2024

Australian Government. (2005). Disability Standards for Education 2005.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) (2014). Australian professional standards for teachers. 

Bloom, S., Iwata, B., Fritz, J., Roscoe, E., & Carreau, A. (2011). Classroom application of a trial-based functional analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44 (1), 19-31.  

Centre for Education and Statistics and Evaluation (2020). Classroom management - Creating and maintaining positive learning environments, NSW Department of Education. 

Department of Education, S. and E.-D. Library. (2020, February 18). The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration | Department of Education, Skills and Employment - Document library, Australian Government. 

Emmer, E., & Sabornie, E. (Eds.). (2014). Handbook of classroom management. New York: Routledge.  

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2018). Missouri Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (2019-2020) Tier 3 Team Workbook.

Pearce, N., Cross, D., Epstein, M., Johnston, R., & Legge, E. (2019) Strengthening school and system capacity to implement effective interventions to support student behaviour and wellbeing in NSW public schools: An evidence review. Telethon Kids Institute: Perth, Western Australia.

Samudre, M. D., Ackerman, K. B., & Allday, Allan. (2020). A systemic review of general educator training with Functional Behavior Assessments, Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 31(1).

Scott, T. M., Park, K. L., Swain-Bradway, J., & Landers, E. (2007). Positive behaviour support in the classroom: facilitating behaviorally inclusive learning environments. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 3(2), 223-235.  

State of New South Wales (Department of Education) 2019. School Excellence Framework – Version 2, 

Waguespack, A., Vaccaro, T., Continere, L. (2006). Functional behavioural assessment and intervention with emotional/behaviourally disordered students: In pursuit of state of the art. International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, 2(4), 463-474. 

Yunji, J., & Copeland, S. (2019). Comparing Functional Behaviour Assessment-Based interventions and non-functional behaviour interventions: A systematic Journal of Behavioural Education, 29(1), 1-41. 

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