Analyze Data & Determine Function

The purpose of baseline data is to determine function as well as get a frequency of occurrences. You want to know why the behavior is occurring and who often it is occurring before you intervene. We want to know how often this behavior is occurring BEFORE we intervene. So we will know if intervention is successful. We want a number; number of times per day on average, number of minutes, percentage of school day – based on your Behavioral Definition.

After you have your baseline numbers – now we need to analyze function. It’s like you are a little behavioral detective! Look for patterns related to environment. Identify what tends to happen most often after the behavior. Are there particular subjects/teacher the behavior occurs in more often? Any patterns related to time of day?

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Based on the patterns you see from your ABC data – determine a function. This will be a presumed function. We never really know. It will be your BEST GUESS.


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Some tips:

Attention/Tangible Maintained

  • behavior results in peer/adult responses, is disruptive to whole class, occurs throughout day, happens less when already getting attention, attempting to get access to item, occurs when does not have an item

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Escape Maintained

  • behavior is more frequent during work tasks, student does less work than other students as a result of the behavior

Sensory Behaviors 

  • doesn’t seem to fall into other categories, would occur when student is alone with no demands placed in him

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This post is part of Summer Series: Reducing Problem Behavior. Click here to see more in this series!

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  1. Totally agree! So often we forget to truly analyze our data. Thank you for this post.

  2. What program are you using to track your data?

  3. Numbers on the iPad! I love it! 🙂


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