Record Reviews

Why is a record review conducted during a functional assessment?

Record reviews can provide important information about a student's medical background, past experiences, and behavioral and academic history. Old behavioral support plans may show the progression of a student's problem behavior and point to intervention strategies that were successful in the past. Behavior support plans that have been abandoned often provide information about the types of interventions that, although technically accurate, may not be a good fit for the people implementing the plan. The team also may discover historical information describing environmental settings where a student has experienced success and was less likely to engage in problem behavior.

What types of records are reviewed?

Some students have many types of records that can be reviewed while others will have just a few documents available. Possible records to review include medical documents, old behavior support plans, psychological reports, individual education or family service plans, mental health information, laboratory results, and allied health provider assessments (e.g., occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and nursing). Special permission is often required to obtain these records, and issues of confidentiality are associated with acquiring access to this information.

Use our simple tool to help organize your Record Review Notes

As noted above, record reviews can provide important information about a student's medical, behavioral, and academic history that may be helpful in the functional assessment process. In order to assist in the organization of the record review, we have created a simple tool that can be used in two ways. First, you may print out a pdf version of the form and fill it out by hand. Another way in which the tool can be used is by entering the review information into the online version and printing out a final copy.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the record review?

Record reviews can be completed fairly quickly and can be easy to complete. Completing the record review early in the functional assessment can provide the team with clues to variables that are affecting the behavior but may not be immediately obvious.

A disadvantage of the record review is that the materials reviewed may not reflect the current status of the student. Behavioral support plans written in the past may be targeting entirely different types of problem behaviors that are maintained by environmental variables no longer present in the student's current environment. Record reviews are considered indirect assessment strategies which are not as objective as direct observation and functional analysis. However, conducting a record review in combination with other indirect assessments and direct observations will increase the quality of the functional assessment.

When is the record review conducted?

Record reviews are conducted early in the functional assessment process, often around the same time that functional assessment interviews are conducted. 

Where can I find more information about record reviews?

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