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This lesson will provide you with examples of interview questions to complete a functional behavior assessment. There are questions for the teacher, staff members, parents and, when appropriate, the students.

What Would You Do?

Johnny often refuses redirection from you in class. He will not ask for help, complete his activities, and he responds to you by putting his head down on his desk. You have 22 other students who need your instruction. What would you do? A functional behavior assessment is a good place to start.

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A functional behavior assessment (FBA) is a process that seeks to determine what happens before, during and after a specific behavior. An FBA is done for the purpose of changing or eliminating a behavior, such as when Johnny puts his head down on his desk when you speak to him.A major component of an FBA is data collection.

In this process, you want to get as much information you can. You may interview the teachers, other staff members, the parents, and when appropriate the students.

Example Interview Questions for the Teacher and the Staff

An FBA interview with school staff focuses on the times, places, people present and other conditions that correspond with the behavior.


When does the behavior occur/not occur (certain time of day, certain subjects, before an event or after an event)? Does Johnny do this around 10:15 each day, or after lunch?


What is the specific location of the behavior (classroom, cafeteria, math center or computer lab)? Does Johnny do this in math group, music class or at independent activity time?


Who is present when the behavior is most/least likely to occur (certain students, assistant or specific teachers)? Does Johnny refuse direction from the math teacher, the history teacher, the P.E. coach, etc.?

Other Conditions

  • In which settings does the behavior occur/not occur (in small groups, during unstructured time or independent work time)?
  • What typically occurs before the behavior (assigned a certain task or placed in a small group)? What happens before Johnny shuts down? Is he talking to you, working alone, etc.?
  • What typically occurs after the behavior (student is sent to office or redirected)? Do you ignore Johnny, send him to the principal, etc.?
  • Are there certain conditions that seem to be present for each instance? After a late bus? Only on pizza day? When it is cold?

Example Questionnaire for the Teacher and the Staff

If you are asking these and follow-up interview questions in written form, you can use the following questions as a template:

  1. Describe the behavior.
  2. How often does the behavior occur?
  3. How long does it last?
  4. What is happening in the classroom when the behavior occurs?
  5. When is the behavior most likely to occur?
  6. When is the behavior least likely to occur?
  7. Where is the behavior most likely to occur?
  8. Where is the behavior least likely to occur?
  9. Who is the student with when the behavior is most likely to happen?
  10. Who is the student with when the behavior is least likely to happen?
  11. Are there any signs that the behavior is about to occur?
  12. What happens immediately after the behavior?

Example Interview Questions for the Parents

You can ask the parents the same questions you asked the staff, as well as these additional questions:

  1. What concerns do you have regarding your child’s behavior?
  2. Which of these concerns/behaviors are most important to you at this time?
  3. What makes these behaviors the most problematic?
  4. Does the behavior occur when your child is with you?
  5. What do your other children typically do when your child exhibits the problem behavior?
  6. Did anything change in your child’s life at about the time the behavior started?
  7. Have you made any attempts to change your child’s behavior?
  8. Are there other factors related to your child’s behavior that you think I should be aware of (medical issues, etc.)?

Example Interview Questions for the Student

  1. Is your work hard or easy?
  2. Do you ask your teachers for help?
  3. Do you have enough time to finish your work?
  4. Do you like working by yourself or with other people?
  5. Does your teacher know when you do a good job?
  6. What is your favorite part of school?
  7. What do you not like about school?
  8. Do you have problems or get into trouble at school?
  9. Do you have friends at school?

The more information you have the better you will be able to help your students behave appropriately.

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