Toward a Structural Assessment: Analyzing the Merits of an Assessment Tool for a Student with E/BD


The past decade has given rise to a resurgence of interest in the investigation of antecedent events that "set the stage" for the occurrence of problem behaviors and, correspondingly, the role of these antecedents in developing preventative interventions. A growing literature supports the impact of teacher interactions and classroom structure on the overall classroom environment, specifically student behavior. Due to the complexity of natural settings, current protocols for assessing these setting factors for effective development of preventative strategies present limitations in external validity. The current investigation piloted a structural assessment tool (Setting Factors Assessment Tool-SFAT) designed to measure varying types of, as well as concurrent, classroom setting factors in a classroom context. The SFAT was employed to address the problem behaviors of a student with emotional/ behavioral disorders whose primary placement was in a general education second-grade classroom. The results of a traditional school-based functional assessment (descriptive assessment), an analog-based structural analysis, and the SFAT were compared. SFAT assessment results were provided to the teacher in the form of environmental and instructional recommendations. Results indicated that classroom-based environmental and instructional modifications were successful in reducing the student's problem behavior. Further, two-month follow-up data indicated maintenance of the original reductions. Implications for a school-based structural assessment protocol as well as directions for future research are discussed.


Assessment for Effective Intervention


  • N. Johnson
  • Timothy J. Lewis
  • Janine Peck Stichter
  • R. Trussell

Prevention Level

  • Tertiary


  • PBS Coaches
  • Specialists

System Impacts

  • District Team
  • Individual Student


  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Elementary School