Open Educational Resources

Document Type


Publication Date



As special education teachers, having students with behavior challenges is highly likely. Functional assessments are used to support individuals with their challenging behaviors. Therefore, it is important for teachers to understand what functional assessments are, when to use them, and how to use them. This OER is adapted from Chapter 2, The Methodology of Functional Assessment, of the book, Instruction in Functional Assessment by Desrochers and Fallon (2014). Chapter 2 answers the following questions:

  • What is functional assessment?

  • What are the three main functional assessment approaches and how are they used?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

  • What ethical considerations are necessary when implementing functional assessment?

This OER will allow students to read this chapter and then complete a case study simulation and interpret a functional analysis. These assignments will provide pre-service teachers with an opportunity to practice real-world scenarios in a low-stakes manner, furthering their preparation for utilizing functional assessments to help students who exhibit behaviors that are disruptive, self-injurious, and aggressive.

The adapted portion comes from:

This OER has been changed in the following manner:

In addition to completing the Chapter 2 reading and assignments, students will also be required to create a thread on the discussion board, reflecting on their thoughts about this process and the implications for their current and/or future practice as educators. Finally, they will respond with similarities and differences, constructive criticism, clarifying questions, or their own relevant thoughts to two of their classmates' posts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.