An Evaluation of Trial-based Functional Analyses in Classroom Settings
Lloyd, Blair Parker
Although the functional analysis (FA) remains the gold standard for identifying the function of problem behavior for students with disabilities, traditional FA procedures are typically costly in terms of time, resources, and perceived risks. The purpose of the current study was to replicate and extend a trial-based FA methodology that shows particular promise in the context of classroom settings. Participants included 4 teaching assistants and 4 students with disabilities and histories of high-frequency problem behavior who attended public elementary schools. Trial-based FAs were conducted in students’ usual instructional settings and outcomes were validated via subsequent contingency reversal intervention trials. Descriptive data on student problem behavior and environmental stimuli were collected prior to each trial-based FA to identify hypotheses and design experimental trials. Results of the current study add to the growing evidence validating the trial-based FA as a practical alternative to traditional methodologies that are difficult to implement in classroom settings.