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Volume 30, Issue 2 (2001)

Introduction to the Mini-Series: Issues and Procedures for Implementing Functional Behavioral Assessments in Schools

pp. 153—155

With the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, P.L.105-17), the term “functional behavior assessment” has become the latest buzzword for school psychologists. Although the law requires a functional assessment of behavior for certain students, it does not specify the procedures associated with one. The lack of guidelines in the law has resulted in states and local districts deciding for themselves what constitutes an appropriate and legally defensible functional behavior assessment. At this time, there are no data to verify that states or districts have designed and implemented functional assessments that are consistent with the law and that correspond to empirically derived procedures. In addition, a recent survey of graduate training programs indicates that many school psychologists do not receive adequate training in the operant principles upon which functional assessment is based (Shriver & Watson, in press).

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