Applying positive behavior support and functional behavioral assessment in schools

Moreno, G., Wong-Lo, M., & Bullock, L. M. (2014). Assisting Students From Diverse Backgrounds With Challenging Behaviors: Incorporating a Culturally Attuned Functional Behavioral Assessment in Pre-referral Services. Preventing School Failure, 58(1), 58-68.

The student population across U.S. schools has become increasingly diverse and has presented educators with a number of concerns in assisting students demonstrating challenging behaviors. Educators have historically had difficulties in distinguishing between cultural differences and genuine indicators of emotional and behavioral disorders. It is unfortunate that this difficulty has contributed to a disproportional representation of students from diverse backgrounds in the disability category of emotional and behavioral disorders. However, the functional behavioral assessment continues to serve as an effective process to better understand challenging behaviors, particularly when it is culturally attuned to the needs of diverse student populations. The authors discuss the significance in meeting the needs of diverse populations, provide an overview of the functional behavioral assessment process, and present considerations in creating a culturally attuned functional behavioral assessment.


Link to the Document


  • Glen Dunlap
  • M. Heineman
  • Robert H. Horner
  • T. J. Lewis
  • Carl J. Liaupsin
  • C. M. Nelson
  • M. Ruef
  • Wayne Sailor
  • Terrance M. Scott
  • George Sugai
  • Rud Turnbull
  • Ann P. Turnbull
  • Donna Wickham
  • B. L. Wilcox

Prevention Level

  • Tertiary


  • PBS Coaches
  • Specialists

System Impact

  • Individual Student


  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Elementary School
  • High School
  • Middle School