Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Special Education and Rehabilitation

Committee Chair(s)

Sarah E. Bloom


Sarah E. Bloom


Andrew L. Samaha


Thomas S. Higbee


Severe problem behavior may interfere with the education of children as well as cause serious injury to person and property. This study examined the correspondence of results obtained from trial-based and standard functional analyses for identifying function of problem behavior with high-school aged students. This study also examined the feasibility of school personnel conducting trial-based functional analyses within the classroom environment with procedural integrity. School personnel conducted four trial-based functional analyses with three high-school aged students referred for problem behavior. One student had two topographies of problem behavior assessed. The trials were interspersed throughout the school day. Results of the trial-based functional analyses were compared with results from standard functional analyses conducted by trained graduate students to show correspondence, or lack thereof between assessment results. Two cases showed correspondence between the two assessments. Two participants showed partial correspondence, which was attributed to limited exposure to contingencies during the brief trials in the trial-based functional analyses as well as differences in the analysts’ opinion of function depicted by the data. These results indicate that a trial-based functional analysis may be a viable assessment tool when school personnel lack the resources needed to complete a standard functional analysis. Two teachers and a paraprofessional were able to conduct trial-based functional analyses with high procedural integrity. Future direction of trial-based assessment research is discussed.




This work made publicly available electronically on September 20, 2012.