WWC review of this study

Training a General Educator to Use Function-Based Support for Students at Risk for Behavior Disorders

Christensen, Lynette; Renshaw, Tyler L.; Caldarella, Paul; Young, James R. (2012). Education, v133 n2 p313-335. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ991982

  • Single Case Design
    , grade

Reviewed: December 2016

Meets WWC standards with reservations

To view more detailed information about the study findings from this review, please see Functional Behavioral Assessment-based Interventions Intervention Report (977 KB)

Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 50%
    Male: 50%

  • Suburban
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The study took place in a Title I elementary school in a suburban area of Utah. Approximately 74% of the students in the school were Caucasian, 22% were Hispanic, and 4% identified as other ethnic groups. Both participants were taught in a general education classroom in by a fourth-grade teacher who had a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Study sample

The study includes three students who were identified by their teacher as being at risk for behavioral disorders. Amy was a fourth-grade Caucasian female student who performed above grade level in reading and mathematics. José was a fourth-grade Puerto-Rican/Caucasian male student who performed at grade level in reading and mathematics. Both students were at risk for future academic difficulties because of frequent disengagement from academic tasks. The single-case design experiment for an additional student, Cameron, does not meet WWC pilot single-case design standards because data are only presented for two phases; therefore, there is not an attempt to demonstrate the effect of the intervention three times. As a result, this experiment is not described in this report or included in the ratings of effectiveness.


Following training provided by the research staff, the teacher carried out a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), which included direct observations of the students. The teacher then developed FBA-based interventions for both students. Amy’s intervention involved self-management training, extra teacher attention, and the use of tokens she could exchange for extra reading time, if she stayed seated and worked on assigned material. José’s intervention involved giving him tokens that he could exchange for extra recess time, if he demonstrated on-task behavior while completing assigned material; the teacher reviewed expectations with José and explained that she would give him tokens if his self-management improved.


The study used a reversal-withdrawal design for both students. During the baseline/withdrawal condition for each student, teachers taught their classes as usual.

Support for implementation

The teacher received FBA training which involved group instruction, independent readings, applied activities, and individual consultation. The group instruction was the main component of training and consisted of four 1-hour training sessions conducted after school. The teacher, upon completing initial training, served as the primary interventionist with continued support.


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