WWC review of this study

The Comparative Effects of Function-Based versus Nonfunction-Based Interventions on the Social Behavior of African American Students

Mustian, April Leigh (2010). ProQuest LLC. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED524073

  • 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.

  • Male: 100%

  • Urban
    • B
    • A
    • C
    • D
    • E
    • F
    • G
    • I
    • H
    • J
    • K
    • L
    • P
    • M
    • N
    • O
    • Q
    • R
    • S
    • V
    • U
    • T
    • W
    • X
    • Z
    • Y
    • a
    • h
    • i
    • b
    • d
    • e
    • f
    • c
    • g
    • j
    • k
    • l
    • m
    • n
    • o
    • p
    • q
    • r
    • s
    • t
    • u
    • x
    • w
    • y

  • Race


The study took place in two fifth-grade general education classrooms in an urban public elementary school in a metropolitan district in the southeastern United States. Teachers in both classrooms used a token economy system to encourage class participation and overall appropriate classroom behavior. The school population was 64% African American and 18% White, with Hispanic and other races making up the remainder. Approximately 86% of the students received free or reduced-priced lunch.

Study sample

Four students were part of the study sample. The study included two 11-year-old African-American male students (Todd and Alan) who were at risk for an emotional and behavioral disorder. Two additional students were dropped partway through their functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) due to minimal instances of problem behaviors. The author reported that both students had begun taking medication during the course of the FBA, which likely explains the diminishment of their problem behaviors. These students are not included in the WWC review of this study or included in the ratings of effectiveness, as graphical analysis of their outcome data was not presented.


FBA procedures for both students included direct observations and interviews with teachers. The FBA process resulted in largely identical FBA-based interventions for both participants. A laminated schedule card was provided to each student during the intervention periods (a small group or whole class reading period). The student was trained to use the card as a reference, as well as a timed reminder system to record his behavior, leading to self-initiated breaks from the reading activity. Alan’s desk was also relocated so he was in close proximity to his teacher and farther away from peers. Todd received ten sessions of the intervention, which were 40 minutes in length. Alan received seven total sessions of the intervention, which were 30 minutes in length.


The study used a reversal-withdrawal design for both students. The baseline/withdrawal condition consisted of normal classroom practice, including encouragement and basic reminders to the whole class about on-task behavior. Students were prevented from taking breaks, as opposed to the break system used in the intervention.

Support for implementation

Teachers received approximately 12 hours of training on FBA procedures. The training was divided into four modules. After completion of each module, teachers were required to complete that portion of the FBA with the students in the study. Once completed, the teachers worked with study personnel to craft a behavioral intervention plan for the students.


Your export should download shortly as a zip archive.

This download will include data files for study and findings review data and a data dictionary.

Connect With the WWC

back to top