Effects of pyramidal training on school psychologist and teacher implementation of trial-based function analysis
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Educators often seek consultation with school psychologists for the assessment of problem behavior and the development of intervention plans to address problem behavior. School psychologists typically conduct functional based assessments (FBA) using indirect and direct observations of the target student prior to. Research has indicated that descriptive assessments are not always reliable indicators of behavioral function, and thus should not be used exclusively when conducting FBA (e.g., Hall, 2005; Lerman and Iwata, 1993; St. Peter et al., 2005, Thompson and Iwata, 2007). Trial-based functional analysis (FA) is an alternative, brief yet rigorous assessment designed to accurately determine the function of students' problem behavior in the classroom setting (Bloom et al., 2013; Sigafoos and Saggers, 1995). To empower teachers and increase their efficacy in assessing problem behavior, school consultants can train a group of educators to conduct trial-based FA using a pyramidal approach. This training model allows a consultant to train a small group of supervisors (e.g., school psychologists) who in turn train and support other educators (Page et al., 1982). Ultimately, the consultant will work him/herself out of the role as supervisors become the in-house individuals providing training and support directly to teachers. This study addressed significant gaps in literature by evaluating the effectiveness of pyramidal training procedure to train school psychologists and general education teachers to implement trial-based FA with high integrity. Three school psychologists were trained in a group format via didactic presentation and Behavioral Skills Training (BST) which included instruction, models, rehearsal, and feedback. During baseline, the mean fidelity to implement trial-based FA for school psychologists was 52.21 percent. After completion of training, their mean fidelity increased to 97.07 percent. School psychologists each trained one general education teacher using the same training protocol. General education teachers also improved their mean fidelity to implement trial-based FA accurately from 40.50 percent at baseline to 97.38 percent after training. Results suggest that general education teachers can be trained by school psychologists using the pyramidal training method to conduct trial-based FA with a high degree of procedural fidelity.