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The Development and Preliminary Validation of a Teacher Assessment of Barriers to Learning for Pupils on the Autism Spectrum in Special Schools

Howell, Melanie (2021) The Development and Preliminary Validation of a Teacher Assessment of Barriers to Learning for Pupils on the Autism Spectrum in Special Schools. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88891) (KAR id:88891)

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Official URL
https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88891

Abstract

Individuals on the autism spectrum with coexisting intellectual disabilities are more likely to have communication difficulties, display certain aspects of restricted and repetitive sensory and motor behaviours, show adaptive behaviour impairments and display behaviour that challenges than those with either condition alone. The interactions between the two conditions result in educational needs and barriers to learning specific to this group which are not thoroughly assessed using current assessment tools. Instead, autistic pupils who have intellectual disabilities and attend special schools are routinely assessed using generic assessments appropriate for pupils with a wide range of special needs and developmental disabilities.

Stage 1 of the research consisted of a systematic review which identified and evaluated existing assessments which could be used by teachers in special schools to measure outcomes and progress in adaptive behaviour, behaviour that challenges and autism-related behaviour for pupils on the autism spectrum. The review identified a lack of robust assessments appropriate for these purposes and justified the development of an autism-specific assessment which could be used by teachers in special schools to assess barriers to learning for these pupils.

Preliminary validity and reliability evaluations of the ABLE-Autism were then undertaken in Stage 3. Test-retest reliability was found to be excellent, the subscales and assessment as a whole showed a high degree of internal consistency reliability and the ABLE-Autism was strongly correlated with the Teacher Autism Progress Scale. Teacher feedback was extremely positive, reflecting the fact that teachers were consulted during all stages of the assessment development process.

This research identified the need for autism-specific assessments to assess autistic pupils with coexisting intellectual disabilities in special schools. A new, robust assessment, the ABLE-Autism, was then developed for teachers in special schools to identify and monitor barriers to learning for these pupils. This research provides a practical example of how teachers can be involved in assessment development processes and also highlights that the inclusion of special needs teachers in assessment development is likely to contribute to the validity and reliability of new assessments.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Langdon, Peter
Thesis advisor: Bradshaw, Jill
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88891
Uncontrolled keywords: autism assessment, education, special education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2021 09:05 UTC
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2021 03:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/88891 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Howell, Melanie: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6049-8336
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