Open Access Peer-reviewed Research Article

Teaching rural educators to ask follow-up questions during open-ended interviews via telehealth

Main Article Content

Patrick W. Romani corresponding author
Antoinette M. Donaldson


Educators are mandated to complete functional behavior assessment (FBA) prior to the development of a behavior intervention plan for students in need of special education support for emotional or behavioral needs. FBAs lead to hypotheses as to the function(s) of problem behavior (e.g., to gain access to attention). Research shows educators most often use open-ended interviews to complete FBA within school settings. Interviewers ask questions to gain information about topics, like antecedents and consequences to problem behavior, to inform subsequent assessment or treatment. Unfortunately, research documents variability in the quality of school-based FBAs, particularly with regards to interviewing. Given the variability in quality of open-ended interviews, studies teaching core interviewing skills to educators are sorely needed. Thus, the current study delivered telehealth-based training to six educators who regularly completed open-ended interviews as part of FBAs. Following baseline, showing that educators (a) did not ask relevant questions and (b) did not ask follow-up questions when they needed to, training occurred to teach interviewing skills. The current study showed improvements in interviewing skills following a didactic presentation and behavioral skills training delivered via telehealth. Four of the six educators successfully interviewed a parent with high integrity following training. These results will be discussed in terms of strategies to improve interviewing skills for educators using telehealth services.

functional behavior assessment, open-ended interview, telehealth, staff training

Article Details

Supporting Agencies
The authors would like to thank Dr. Brooke Carson and Kate Loving for their support of the current project. The current project was funded by the Colorado Department of Education.
How to Cite
Romani, P. W., & Donaldson, A. M. (2022). Teaching rural educators to ask follow-up questions during open-ended interviews via telehealth. Advances in Developmental and Educational Psychology, 4(1), 147-159.


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