What is FBA?

Functional behaviour assessment (FBA) is a systematic approach that helps identify and understand the following aspects of behaviour:

  • Form: the observable behaviour – what are they actually doing?
  • Function: the underlying causewhat is the goal of the behaviour?
  • Context: the setting – where does it occur? What happens immediately before and after?

Collecting a range of information directly via observation and indirectly via interviews and surveys, assists with determining the goal or function of the behaviour and developing strategies to address or support the problem behaviour. For example, assessment may indicate the goal of a particular behaviour is to gain attention. The intervention would then be developed to provide the student with the attention they are seeking, but only for appropriate behaviour.

While this approach can be time-consuming, conducting an FBA can help:

  • identify the triggers and the goal of disruptive behaviour
  • decide on a new approach to try
  • set targets, benchmarks and evaluation strategies
  • implement and monitor progress
  • assess outcomes.

FBA results enable interventions which lead to significant improvement in problem behaviour. They can help identify additional programs to put in place for students or whole classes, where positive behaviour support strategies are needed.

More information

Professional learning

Online self-paced professional learning on functional behaviour assessment is available in the Behaviour Support Toolkit.

Be You has professional learning modules to assist teachers with student behaviour and provide appropriate support. The modules provide one hour of NESA accredited professional development.


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