Designing an Intervention



Collecting Data on a Target Behavior

Deborah Quirch Reiners
American College of Education
ED5403: The Exceptional Child
Dr. Anna Tsambis
June 6, 2021

During the last module, we developed a Functional assessment directed to a target behavior like physical aggression. This target behavior is defined by causing “physical or emotional harm to others. It may range from verbal abuse to physical abuse. It can also involve harming personal property “(Zahrt, 2011). In an early childhood classroom, this behavior can be observed and defined depending which are the actions that the student does. For example: for some students, physical aggression can be kicking other’s legs, biting peers, or pushing. On the other hand, the same behavior can have a new definition with other students that just has an aggressive attitude with peers.
The observation was developed in a Pre-k classroom for one day from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm. The student observed has been having disruptive behaviors during playtime and interactive games. During this school year, the student was removed from two classes where he was before.
The teacher recorded the data while the students were participating in different activities that include taking turns, waiting, sharing toys, and playing sports games at the playground. Most of the time observed was realized in the classroom and at the playground. The pseudonym for the student will be William.

Student (pseudonym) or Student Group: William in a Pre k Classroom
Target Behavior: Physical aggression
Observer: teacher
Observation Dates: Monday 10:00 AM-2:30 PM

Start Time

Stop Time


Frequency (Use Tally Marks)


 10:00 AM

 10:30 AM

 Circle time singing a song and using musical instruments



 10:30 AM

 11:00 AM

 Playground playing with balls and tricycles



 11:00 AM

 11:45 AM




 11:45 AM

 12:00 PM

 Washing hands



 2:00 PM

 2:30 PM

 Snack time








Additional Comments or Observations 

During the observation, the teacher realized that almost all the time this behavior occurs when the student wanted a toy, a ball, or a preferred item was removed from him. During the first activity, the students were realizing a circle time singing a song and using musical instruments, the student wanted a little drum that another girl was using, instead of asking for the object, William started pushing the girl several times, as a consequence the girl gave it to him. Later on, during playtime on the playground, William wanted all the red balls, he pushed two times to a peer and started kicking others to try to use the balls. When William was allowed to share the balls with his peers he started crying and kicking his teachers several times.
Taking into consideration the Frequency Table this behavior can have the function of tangibles. Access to tangibles is a form of positive socially mediated reinforcement. “Tangibles are anything that we can touch/feel (e.g., toys, food, hugs, tickles, heat, playground, etc.). Oftentimes, challenging behaviors result in the individual getting something from another” (Pal, 2020). In this case, student every time he wants an object that is of his preference he decided to take it without requesting it, instead of using his words he starts displaying physical aggression defined in this case as an instance of kicking, pushing others for access to tangibles. Usually, peers let him take the object, or if they refused or an adult intervene, William’s behavior can escalate or transform into a tantrum.


Pal, A. (2020, September 2). The 4 Functions of Behavior series: Access to Tangibles. Cayman ABA.
Zahrt, D. M., & Melzer-Lange, M. D. (2011). Aggressive behavior in children and adolescents. Pediatrics in Review-Elk Grove, 32(8), 325.

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