Positive Behavior Intervention (PBI)  is a method  based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) for addressing behaviors which students may use in the classroom or school setting which are considered to be not appropriate or "undesired."  The Ventura County SELPA has consistently promoted PBI as an overall construct since 1993 through its leadership, staff training, policies, forms, guidelines and published materials.

The underlying tenets of PBI are:

  • All behavior communicates something for the student (a want or need).  Free Desperate Screaming Young Boy Stock Photo
  • If we only punish a student after the misbehavior occurs, we will not make a lasting change in the behavior, as it may only be temporarily suppressed.
  • We must teach students new, appropriate ways to communicate their wants and needs.
  • There are many accommodations to the school environment that can be made to reduce the incidence of (and need for) non-desired behaviors.
  • Teaching new, more appropriate behaviors requires a continuous process of modeling, prompting, shaping and reinforcing - just like teaching any new skill.


yes Information on Behavioral Intervention Plans from the California Department of Education (CDE) 




Free Photograph of a Boy Covering His Eyes Stock Photo For a special education student who is exhibiting challenging behaviors which   are disrupting the learning process or social activities of self or others at school,   the IEP Team may develop a plan to intervene and change the student's   behavior. The teacher, parents and other staff who know the student would   share information about the occurrence of the behavior, including:

  -  Defining what the behavior "looks like"

   - Determining when and where it occurs most often

   - Determining what the student seems to be trying to communicate by using that behavior

Once these issues were all agreed upon, the team would decide what skills the team would like the student to use instead of the challenging behavior.  Next, the team would develop a plan for:

  • Teaching the new behavior/skill
  • Altering the instructional environment, if possible, to address the student's needs
  • Reacting if the non-desired behavior occurs
  • Reinforcing reduction in the targeted problem behavior while reinforcing use of the new behavior
  • Collecting data on the occurrence of the new behavior as well as the challenging behavior, and communicating with staff and family

These plans, if implemented with fidelity by all parties involved, can be very effective in changing behaviors so that the student is more ready and available to learn.  There are a range of plans and strategies for addressing non-desired behaviors. (See Postive Behavior Interventions Continuum).

The most common is the Positive Behavior Intervention Plan (PBIP) , which is usually developed by the Special Education teacher in collaboration other members of the IEP team.  A PBIP is included in the IEP.  

For behaviors that are not changing with lesser intensive interventions, a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) may be conducted.  Parents must give permission for an FBA with an Assessment Plan. The FBA report is presented at an IEP meeting and If the team decides a Comprehensive Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is needed, it will be developed and attached to the IEP.  The CBIP is a more detailed version of a behavior intervention plan.

 A PBIP or CBIP must always have goals for teaching a new skill correlated to the behavior and there may be another for measuring the reduction (or elimination) of the non-desired behavior.  The PBIP or CBIP and goals become a part of the IEP and progress toward those goals are reported to parents at the periods described in the IEP.

Both PBIPs and CBIPs must have clear methods of data collection to determine their effectiveness.  Classroom staff should be collecting data on the occurrence of the new behavior, and report progress to parents along with all other IEP goals.  For a list of ideas for interventions please refer to "The 20 Most Challenging Behaviors" in the Positive Behavior Interventions Handbook.

enlightened For all Behavior Intervention Forms and Instructions go to "PBI Forms and Instructions." in the menu bar to the left





Conducting an FBA:

School or Licensed Educational Psychologists and Board Certified Behavior Analysts are qualified by their professional preparation program to conduct an FBA. In addition, the Ventura County SELPA believes that other staff that meet the following criteria are also properly trained to conduct FBAs:

Possession of a professional license, credential, or bachelor's/master's degree in a related field and

  • Prior BICM Certification through a California SELPA (with a minimum of three additional hours of behavior training every three years thereafter) (or)
  • Positive Behavior Intervention (PBI) Competency through Ventura County SELPA met by adequately completing an FBA Report based on given data and a Comprehensive Behavior Intervention Plan (CBIP) based on the FBA (with a minimum of three additional hours of training every three years thereafter) (or)
  • At least 3 units of advanced coursework through an accredited college or institution in Behavior Analysis and Intervention


    Design and supervision of BIPs:

    • Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling or School Psychology
    • Credential authorizing the holder to deliver special education instruction
    • License as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT)
    • License as a Clinical Social Worker
    • License as an Educational Psychologist
    • License in Psychology
    • Master's Degree in Education, Psychology, Counseling, Behavior Analyst, Behavior Science, Human Development, Social Work, Rehabilitation, or in a related field, issued by a regionally accredited post-secondary institution of higher education (or)
    • Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification



Candidates who would like to obtain VC SELPA PBI Certification will need to attend all three full day trainings and the last half day refresher course (from FBA to CBIP), as well as schedule an individual appointment to sit for an exam which will require completion of a partial Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and a Comprehensive Behavior Intervention Plan (CBIP) based on data provided.  You will be sent links to the materials you will need to have access to for each day.