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Gather Information


To understand why behavior is occurring (function), we first have to know all of the variables that contribute to the pattern.  The process of information gathering should be guided by three important principles:

The following resources can support your data gathering process. 

Gathering Indirect (Opinion) Information

Tools and Resources

Structure information gathering to align with the setting event-antecedent-behavior-consequence (S-A-B-C) framework.   The Function-based Information Tool (F-BIT) helps teachers and staff to organize their reflection on recent occurrences of behavior by providing structured prompts aligned with the S-A- B-C pattern. The F-BIT is flexible for use across situations.  An individual teacher can use the F-BIT to support independent problem solving or team can use the F-BIT and compare how their experiences are similar or different.




Graphing F-BIT data helps to highlight patterns in responses.  Use this excel template to graph F-BIT responses from multiple teachers.  Simply tally up the response for each item and enter the number into the worksheet.  The graphs will generate automatically.


Interview the parent in a private discussion first.  Use the Function-based Interview Tool to structure conversations with parents so that the information generated follows the S-A-B-C framework.  Talk with the parent ahead of the team meeting so that the parent has time to reflect and think about the questions before the meeting. 
Function-based Parent Interview


Interview the student.  It is often very helpful to talk with the student to understand why behavior occurs.  Using a series of structured questions that follow the S-A-B-C pattern framework will help to solicit information that informs the circumstances that contribute to why the student is engaging in problem behavior.  The Function-Based Student Interview Tool and the Student Support Survey are two options for talking with students about why behavior is occurring.

Function-based Student Interview


Document a Baseline of Behavior

Tools and Resources

Document a baseline of typical occurrence.  Having a baseline allows you to more accurately determine the level of support need as well as to evaluate progress once interventions are put in place.  Documenting a frequency of occurrence is the most typical method for establishing a baseline.  Frequency involves keeping a tally count of the number of times a defined target behavior occurs in a given period of time. Two recording form options are provided.


Other options include recording duration of occurrence (how long individual incidents occur) and interval recording ( the percentage of intervals behavior is present in a given period of time).  For more information about selecting and using different strategies for documenting baseline refer to the Guide to Mapping Out Behaviors document.

Conduct Observations

Tools and Resources

Observe the student in typical routines.  Having an opportunity to observe the student in typical routines can provide important information about why behavior is occurring and considerations for intervention planning.  When recording notes, it is most productive to organize the notes in terms of the S-A-B-C pattern framework and to record in as objective terms as possible what was seen and heard. Two note taking options are provided.