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Article 7 defines a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) as a process that uses data to identify patterns in the student’s behavior and the purpose or function of the behavior for the given student.  In addition, Article 7 specifies that a FBA must be completed when:

  1. When the behavior of a student in special education is interfering with learning of self or others

  2. When the student is being considered for eligibility for special education due to behavioral or emotional concerns

  3. To develop a Behavior Intervention Plan

  4. When a student is suspended for ten or more days

  5. When a student is placed in an interim alternative setting

  6. When a student is recommended for expulsion

  7. When the school initiates a removal that constitutes a change of placement

Since an FBA is considered an evaluation when new data is acquired as part of the process, parental consent must be attained prior to the FBA being completed.  When under evaluation for special education eligibility, either initial or reevaluation, to determine an area of suspected disability, the FBA may be a required part of the assessment to determine eligibility.  In this case, no additional steps are needed to gain parental consent for an FBA.


Functional Behavioral Assessment - Prior to Special Education Identification

Students within the general education population experiencing behavioral challenges should work through the Behavioral Consultant.  Along with the Behavioral Consultant, the building level team will develop a written behavioral plan that specifies the interventions and strategies, including positive reinforcement, implemented to meet the needs of the student.  In addition, the FBA/BIP can be utilized to facilitate the development of a plan, particularly if limited progress is demonstrated by the student.  Parental consent must be obtained to complete the FBA/BIP.  The data collection should be considered by the team when determining if a referral for an educational evaluation is warranted.


The team must keep in mind that the FBA is a process to help support the student. A range of behaviors can be addressed through the process including, but not limited to, failure to complete homework assignments, tardiness, refusal to comply with staff directive, and hitting other students.  In order to be effective, the team needs to take into consideration the following points:

  • Look through a new lens when completing the assessment
  • Know the student’s story
  • Remove own emotions from the situation
  • Look for cultural factors or other outside occurrences that could be influencing behaviors