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Current Practices in Functional Behavioral Assessment: A National Survey of School Psychologists

by Nusz, Tara Egan

Abstract (Summary)
This study surveyed a national sample of school psychologists (n = 287) about their practices and perceptions of Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) in the school setting. This study investigated how school psychologists across the United States are interpreting legal mandates and whether schools are venturing beyond the nonspecific requirements established by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). School psychologists were surveyed regarding demographic characteristics, familiarity with FBA, training in FBA, typical involvement in FBA, individuals responsible for conducting FBA, reasons for conducting FBA, data collection methods, and specific content of FBA. Results reveal that over 94% of respondents indicate that they perceive themselves to be “very familiar” with FBA. Although nearly 86% of respondents report that they honor the mandates of the IDEA, less than 70% of respondents indicate that they serve on a collaborative team of professionals to implement FBA, as recommended by best practices in the literature. Over 95% of respondents have obtained post-graduate school training in FBA, with the primary sources of training consisting of: in-service training provided by the school system, independent reading, and training provided by state and/or national organizations. Results indicated that there was no meaningful relationship between the typical level of involvement in the FBA process and the following variables: a) sex, b) highest degree earned, c) years of experience, d) region employed, e) grade levels of the students served, f) number of students served, or (g) socioeconomic status of the students served. Finally, there appears to be considerable variability in “typical” FBA practices, particularly with regard to data collection methods, reasons for which FBA is conducted, and content included in FBA. A primary limitation of this investigation consists of the fact that the data supplied by the participants were not confirmed through the use of objective methods of data collection. It was recommended that future research examine current practices in FBA through the use of more objective data, explore the most effective models of training, and further investigate the barriers to the use of FBA in the school setting.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Indiana University of Pennsylvania

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

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ISBN:

Date of Publication:12/09/2008

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