Behavioural Assessment - TZ903

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn and Spring
View Timetable
7 20 (10)


The programmes of study to which the module contributes:

MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability)
Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability)
Post Graduate Certificate in Applied Behaviour Analysis
MSc in Positive Behaviour Support (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) MSc





The aim of this module is to develop competencies in the assessment of both adaptive and challenging behaviour in the repertoires of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Teaching on assessment starts from an appreciation of the importance of social validity and referral dynamics. Specific assessment strategies relating to challenging behaviour (including structured descriptive assessment and experimental functional analysis) are considered. The application of similar strategies are also considered with respect to adaptive behaviour and associated instructional technologies. Further, the curriculum includes methods of preference assessment to determine appropriate reinforcers. In all topics there is attention both to the development of practical understanding and skill and to the development of a critical appreciation of the underpinning evidence base. Following consideration of these assessment strategies, attention is given to the development of formulations of the behaviour of people with intellectual/developmental disabilities that can inform the development of behaviour support plans, instructional strategies and appropriately prosthetic environmental arrangements.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 45
Private study hours: 155
Total study hours: 200


Autumn and spring

Method of assessment

100% coursework comprising:

Assignment 1 – report (2500 words) - 50%
Assignment 2 – report - (2500 words) - 50%

Indicative reading

Brown, F., Anderson, J.L. and Dr Pry, R.L. (2015). Individual Positive Behaviour Support: a standards-based guide to use in school and community settings. Baltimore: Brookes.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E. and Heward, W. L. (2nd Ed.) (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill-Prentice Hall.

Emerson, E., & Einfeld, S. L. (2011). Challenging behaviour (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

O'Neil, R.E., Albin, R.W., Storey, K., Horner, R. and Sprague J.R. (3rd Ed.) (2015). Functional Assessment and Program Development for Problem Behavior: A Practical Handbook. Stamford, CT: Cengage.

Partington, J. W. (2006). ABLLS-R: The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills-Revised. Walnut Creek, CA: Behavior Analysts Inc.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Describe and discuss, at an advanced level, behaviour analytic models of understanding challenging behaviour in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and how these relate to efforts to understand the challenging behaviour of specific individuals.
2. Describe and discuss, at an advanced level, behaviour analytic models of understanding the development and maintenance of adaptive behaviour repertoires in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
3. Select and use critically a variety of objective and informant based methodologies for collecting data to develop provisional formulations in regard to both the presentation of challenging behaviour and the development of adaptive repertoires
4. Describe and critically use a range of experimental analysis of behaviour methodologies (including experimental functional analysis and preference assessment) and discuss, at an advanced level, rationales for their use
5. Use the information derived from the above methods to formulate both in-depth, multi-factorial understandings of challenging behaviour and coherent assessments of appropriate goals and methods for repertoire development

The intended generic learning outcomes:

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Effectively integrate complex knowledge from different sources, including published work and personal experience.
2. Demonstrate the ability to understand, and communicate in writing, complex, abstract concepts.
3. Show a capacity to effectively prioritise the demands of work and study.
4. Use information technology to a high level (word processing, email, Moodle, e-journals and other online resources).
5. Conduct an in-depth assessment of the behaviour of an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities, requiring the identification, definition and collaborative solution of difficult problems.
6. Conduct in-depth analysis and visual representation of quantitative data.

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