Functional Assessment Checklist for Teachers and Staff (FACTS)

What is the FACTS and how do you use it?

The FACTS is a two-page interview used by school personnel who are building behavior support plans. The FACTS is intended to be an efficient strategy for initial functional behavioral assessment. The FACTS is completed by people (teachers, family, clinicians) who know the student best, and it is used to either build behavior support plans, or guide more complete functional assessment efforts. The FACTS can be completed in a short period of time (5-15 min). Efficiency and effectiveness in completing the forms increases with practice.

How is the FACTS used in the Functional Assessment Process?

The FACTS is an indirect assessment tool that is used to interview school personnel who know the student best. The FACTS is usually completed early in the functional behavioral assessment process by someone on the student's team who is familiar with behavioral principles. Usually 2-3 FACTS interviews are completed with different people who know the student well in order to begin identifying the function maintaining the student's behaviors and the environmental settings where behaviors occur and do not occur.

When should the FACTS be used?

The FACTS is a valuable tool which can be completed in a short period of time. When a student's behavior is more complex, a longer, more detailed functional assessment interview form may be also be used to collect functional assessment information. The interview process is often the first step in a functional assessment since it can help the student and his or her team identify the settings in which observations will be conducted.

Why is it important to identify specific routines when conducting a functional assessment?

It is really important to collect specific information about the problem behavior and the situations and settings that are most problematic. The FACTS interview helps gather more detailed information by asking the person being interviewed to first describe the problem behavior in a general way by placing a checkmark next to the behaviors that are occurring (tardy, disruptive, aggressive behavior). The next step is to identify routines and activities in which the student is involved, when they occur, the likelihood of problem behavior, and which behaviors are observed. The Part B section of the FACTS allows the team to choose one of the routines within the initial list to go into more detail.

This information will be combined with other indirect assessment strategies and direct observations to develop a hypothesis statement about the function maintaining a problem behavior. The functional assessment will help the team create an effective and efficient positive behavior support plan. Intervention strategies are more powerful when they address specific routines and activities, and the team will be able to use their time and energy more efficiently by targeting the most problematic routines.

Routines and activities that are associated with the nonoccurrence of problem behavior can also provide important information. Details about settings where a student is successful can be used to redesign problematic routines. Environmental variables associated with routines that are successful can be introduced to naturally reduce the likelihood of problem behavior. For instance, the team may discover that a student is less likely to be disruptive during independent seat work if she is given homework that includes a mixture of easy and more difficult tasks. When all the independent seatwork given to the student is challenging, more problem behaviors are likely to occur.

Where can I find more information about other functional assessment interviews?

The following reference contains a number of important functional assessment tools that your team can use. They are described in an easy to understand format. This book contains a longer functional assessment interview form and a student interview as well. 

O'Neill, R. E., Horner, R. H., Albin, R. W., Sprague, J. R., Storey, K., & Newton, J. S. (1997). Functional assessment and program development for problem behavior: A practical handbook (2nd ed.). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks. 

Additional References

Durand, V. M. (1990). Severe behavior problems: A functional
communication training approach. New York: Guilford Press.
Horner, R. H. & Sugai, G. (Eds.). (1999-2000). Special issue: Functional
behavioral assessment. Exceptionality, 8(3), 145-230.
Kern, L., Dunlap, G., Clarke, S., & Childs, K.E. (1994).
Student-assisted functional assessment interview. Diagnostique,
19(2-3), 29-39.
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Product (1999).
Facilitator's guide on positive behavior support. The Positive
Behavioral Support Project, Department of Child and Family Studies of
the Louis de la Parte Institute of the University of South Florida.