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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Douglas A. Cheney
EDSPE 524
Seattle Campus

Functional Behavioral Assessment

Provides a solid foundation in the theory and practice of functional behavioral assessment (FBA). FBA is a required practice under special education law and considered a best practice for students with challenging behavior.

Class description

Course Description: The purpose of this course is to provide a solid foundation in the theory and practice of functional behavioral assessment (FBA). FBA has gained increased visibility since its mandated use in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 97 & IDEIA 2004). We’ll discuss when and how FBA must be used, but more importantly how to apply FBA as an analytic tool for children with challenging behavior. While much of the early use of FBA was with students in clinical settings with severe disabilities, current applications are conducted in public schools. The class goal is to demystify FBA so that teachers can use it in a practical and purposeful manner with children and youth. After conducting a case study and assessing a public school student, EDSPE 524 students will develop and implement Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs). When implementing the BIP, students will pay attention to the selection and use of interventions that have evidence of effectiveness in peer-reviewed literature so that they will meet the requirements of IDEIA 2004. Across the FBA and BIP, students will collect and analyze discrete behavioral data to test the validity of the FBA and the effectiveness of the BIP. Students will also conduct a standardized behavior assessment, write a current level of performance for a student, and integrate their findings into behavior goals and objectives using the Washington state IEP format. Finally, students will practice communicating their results with one another as peers and to family members of their students.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures present major content, small groups apply and discuss content. weekly assignments applied in practica settings.

Recommended preparation

Enrolled in Special Ed. Masters program. Working in special ed. setting as teacher or practica student.

Class assignments and grading

Development and implementation of an FBA and BIP in practica settings

Total of points assigned earned across the quarter, see syllabus


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Douglas A. Cheney
Date: 01/02/2009