Unit 4: Assessment of students with ID

4.1.  Purpose and significance of assessment for students with Intellectual disability

4.2.  Assessment tools at Pre-school level: (e.g., Upanayan, Portage Guide to early Education, and Aarambh)

4.3.  Assessment tools at School ages: (e.g., Madras developmental Programming system- MDPS, Behavioural Assessment Scale for Indian Children (BASIC-MR), Grade Level Assessment Device for Children with Learning Problems in Schools (GLAD), and Functional Assessment checklist for Programming (FACP), FACP -PMR


4.4.  Preparation of material for assessment of various skills.

4.5.    Documentation of Assessment Result, Interpretation, Report Writing.





















4.1         Purpose and significance of assessment for students with Intellectual disability


The term 'intellectual disability' refers to a group of conditions caused by various genetic disorders and infections. Intellectual disability is usually identified during childhood, and has an ongoing impact on an individual’s development. Intellectual disability can be defined as a significantly reduced ability to understand new or complex information, learn new skills and to cope independently including social functioning. As with all disability groups, there are many types of intellectual disability with varying degrees of severity.  These include considerable differences in the nature and extent of the intellectual impairments and functional limitations, the causes of the disability, the personal background and social environment of the individual. Some people have genetic disorders that impact severely on their intellectual, social and other functional abilities. Others with mild intellectual impairment may develop adequate living skills and are able to lead relatively independent adult lives.  Approximately 75 per cent of people with intellectual disability are only mildly affected, with 25 per cent moderately, severely or profoundly affected.

Children can start preschool at any age, usually around age two or three, usually finishing up around age four or five. While there is usually only three years difference between the youngest preschool child and the oldest preschool child, they are three important, critical years for all different types of growth — think about what is "normal" for a 2-year-old and what is "normal" for a 5-year-old, from basic academics to physical capabilities, from emotional growth to social skills.

To offer assistance, guidance, and a baseline for teachers, parents, guardians, pediatricians, and any other medical or education professionals that your preschooler may encounter, many preschools often conduct internal preschool assessments.

And while there are standard tests available to preschool teachers and early childhood development experts, many preschools and daycares have their own assessments and qualifiers that they use.

Preschool teachers and early childhood development experts usually use some form of preschool assessment to evaluate how a preschool student is doing in various skill areas including:

Depending on the method used, the assessment can be formal or informal, but in most cases, your child won't notice anything different going on as they are usually conducted in the course of classroom activities.

Early childhood educators need to become aware of children’s individual interests and strengths and find ways to engage and expand them. They can do so by arranging for a rich variety of learning experiences that appeal to all the senses — visual, auditory, and physical — and by alternating individual, partnered, small group, and large group activities so that children experience various kinds of social interaction.

In early childhood programs, assessment takes place by observing children in daily activities and taking note of their skills, understandings, interests, vocabulary, and attitudes toward various tasks. It includes communicating with families regularly to learn about the circumstances that may affect classroom behaviors or interactions, such as personal or family illness, injury, and child-rearing beliefs and practices. While children exhibit a broad range of individual differences and personal interests, assessment should ensure that both boys and girls have opportunities to participate in a range of activities, from block building to musical, artistic, or dramatic play, in order to stimulate the development of spatial, artistic, musical, and verbal abilities in all children.

Students with intellectual disability may need particular adjustments to assessment tasks. Once you have a clear picture of how the disability impacts on learning, you can consider alternative assessment strategies. In considering alternative forms of assessment, equal opportunity is not a guaranteed outcome, it is the objective. You are not expected to lower standards to accommodate students with disability but rather are required to give them a reasonable opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned:

Assessment for individuals with ID involves multiple professionals due to the varying and far-reaching needs across developmental domains. Team models may be multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transdisciplinary.

The particular collaborative team model that is selected depends on the needs of the individual with ID. Team members determine strengths and limitations in adaptive functioning and collaboratively determine the levels of supports needed across conceptual, social, and practical domains.

The role of SLPs and audiologists is to assess the individuals speech, language, and hearing skills. Assessments are sensitive to cultural and linguistic diversity and address components within the ICF (WHO, 2001) framework, including body structures/functions, activities/participation, and contextual factors. Findings from the communication and hearing assessments should be analyzed in the context of findings from other professionals (e.g., psychologist) for whom an ID diagnosis is within their purview.


4.2         Assessment tools at Pre-school level: (e.g., Upanayan, Portage Guide to early Education, and Aarambh)


Upanayan – A programme of developmental training for children with mental retardation
This is an assessment tool for young children. This programme covers children in the age group of 0-6 years. The programme consists of a checklist, a user manual, a set of activity cards and material for assessment and training.

The checklist covers five areas of development viz., motor, self-help, language, cognitive and socialization. Each domain has 50 items totaling upto 250. The items are arranged in a sequence based on normal development.

The activity cards are colour coded to separate each domain from the others. The manual contains a list of materials to be used during assessment. The record formats are provided to note the background information and the assessment data periodically. If a child performs an activity it is marked “A” and the child does not perform the task it is marked “B”.


The Upanayan Checklist

This list covers broadly the five areas of development and is arranged in the normal developmental sequence of a child.

It comprises a total of 250 skills as indicated  below.

       Motor -  50 skills

       Self help-  50 skills

       Language -  50 skills

       Cognition -  50 skills

       Socialisation-  50 skill

This checklist is used to assess the child as to the skills he performs and those he is yet to perform.

The Activity Card

These are in five parts , one part for each of the five developmental areas for easy identification, cards of the different areas are coloured differently.


       Step by step instruction to carry out various activities to train the child to acquire the required skills listed in the checklist.

       Illustrations of the child/ the teacher performing  the activities.

       A list of materials required for each activity.

       A long with activity cards on self help, a set of cards giving the linkages to the pre requisite skills relating to each of the skills in that area are provided.

       MATERIALS FOR ASSESSMENT AND TRAINING CONSIST of easily available toys and other materials for use in the assessment and the training of the child.

       The computer programme is an optional item of the package.

       It is inclined to assist the training programme a personal computer is required for using this programme.


The programme is computerized so that the parent can be given the respective activity cards needed for training their child. The programme is intended for home training in home based and center based intervention.



Arambh package has alternate activities suggested the child with disabilities in the age group 3 years to 6 years was developed by NIMH an funded by UNICEF . In 2002

The Arambh package contains


       Activity cards

       Kit material

       Policy make booklet

       Teachers manual





Primary School



Portage Basic Training Course for Early stimulation of pre-school children in India
This is an Indian adaptation as well as translain in Hindi of “Portage Guide to Early Education” by S.M.Bluma, M.Shearer, A.H.Frohman and Jean M.Hilliard (USA). It has also been translated in 9 Indian languages by CBR Network, Bangalore and is available in the form of CD.

Portage guide is basically a system for teaching skills to pre-school children with developmental delays. The portage project is a home based training system which directly involves parents in the education of their children in the early childhood ie., 0-6 years of age. The training is provided by a specially trained teacher or a public health worker with a special training and experience in the field of child development. However, the key person in the home based programme is parents/family members.

It can be used by para-professionals like the staff of anganwadis, balwadis, non-professionals like parents, siblings, professionals such as pre-school educators, psychologists, and doctors.

The portage checklist covers areas such as infant stimulation, self-help, motor, cognitive, language and socialization. In each area, the activities are listed in a sequential order corresponding to the age. In addition to the checklist, there are activity cards for each skill which explains the materials and procedure to be used to train the child. The checklist also provides age norms for each task on the margin which help the trainer estimate the age equivalence of the child’s functioning.

The first step is to check through the listed skills in all the areas and record the performance of the student against each skill under the column entry behaviour. There is also the provision to mark date of achievement and remarks. A separate provision is made (Activity chart) to record activities, achievement and targets. As the format accommodates daily and weekly recording of progress, there is close monitoring.

The checklist, activities and record formats are in the form of a booklet in English and Hindi.



4.3         Assessment tools at School ages: (e.g., Madras developmental Programming system- MDPS, Behavioural Assessment Scale for Indian Children (BASIC-MR), Grade Level Assessment Device for Children with Learning Problems in Schools (GLAD), and Functional Assessment checklist for Programming (FACP), FACP -PMR


Madras Developmental Programming System (MDPS)
Madras Developmental Programming System (MDPS) is a criterion referenced scale, which is used for assessment and programme planning for persons with mental retardation.

The scale contains 360 items grouped under 18 areas or domains, each domain having 20 items. They are motor skills (gross motor and fine motor), self-help skills (eating, dressing, grooming, toileting), communication skills (receptive, expressive), social interaction, functional academic skills (reading, writing, number, time, money), domestic behaviour, community interaction, recreation and leisure time activities, and vocational activities. Each domain has 20- items. The items are developmentally sequenced. The activities are sequenced in such a way that simple activities are listed first followed by complex ones. Items are stated as positive statements which are observable and measurable. The items listed are functional activities which normally occur in routine life of an individual.

There is a format which is used for recording the performance of the student periodically (I quarter, II quarter, III quarter) and the same can be communicated to family members and others who are involved in education of the student. On assessment, if student performs the activity, it is marked A, and if he does not perform the activity, it is marked B. The scale has provision for colour coding, i.e., `A’ marked in blue and `B’ in red. Each quarter the red can be covered by blue based on the progress. The tool also has a manual which helps in grouping and programming. This is useful for special teacher for periodic assessment and planning IEP.


Behavioural Assessment Scale for Indian Children with Mental Retardation (BASIC-MR)
This assessment tool is used for assessing the current level of behaviour and for programmme planning for children with mental retardation between the ages 3 to 16 years (or 18 years).

The assessment tool is divided into two parts - Part A and Part B.

The BASIC-MR Part A includes 180 items grouped under seven domains – motor, activities of daily living, language, reading and writing, number-time, domestic-social, prevocational-money. Each domain consists of 40 items. All items are written in clear observable and measurable terms and are arranged in increasing order of difficulty.
The BASIC-MR Part-B consists of 75 items grouped under ten domains – violent and disruptive behaviour, tempertantrums, misbehaves with others, self injurious behaviours, repetitive behaviours, odd behaviours, hyperactive behaviours, rebellious behaviours, antisocial behaviours and fears. The number of items in each domain varies.


Format of BASIC-MR (Part-A)
Each child with mental retardation may show different levels of performance on every items on the BASIC-MR, Part A. The six possible levels of performance under which each items can be scored are as follows. Use the record booklet to enter the scores obtained by the child on each item.
Level One: Independent (score 5) - If the child performs the listed behaviour without any kind of physical or verbal help, it is marked as independent and given a score of 5.
Level Two: Clueing (Score 4) - If the child performs the listed behaviour only with some kind of verbal hints. It is marked as “clueing” and given a score of 4.
Level Three: Verbal Prompting (score 3) - If the child performs the listed behaivour with some kind of accompanying verbal statements. It is marked as verbal prompting and given a score of 3.
Level Four: Physical Prompting (Score 2) - If the child performs the listed behaviour only with any kind of accompanying physical or manual help, it is marked as physical prompting and given a score of 2.
Level Five: Totally dependent (Score 1) If the child does not perform the listed behaviour currently, although he can be trained to do so. It is marked as totally dependent and given a score of 1.
Level Six: Not applicable (Score 0) - Some children may not be able to perform listed behaviour at all, owing to sensory or physical handicaps. Wherever an items is marked “not applicable”, it gets a score of 0.


Format of BASIC_MR (Part B)

The following is the criteria of scoring which need to be used for BASIC-MR (Part-B):

For any given child with mental retardation, check each items of the scale and rate them along a three point rating scale, viz. never (n), occasionally (o) or frequently (f) respectively given in the record booklet against each items on the scale.

·      If the stated problem behaviour presently does not occur in the child, mark “never” (n) and give a score of zero.

·      If the stated problem behaviour presently occurs once in a while or now and then, it is marked ”Occasionally” and given a score of one.

·      If the stated problem behaviour presently occurs quite often or, habitually, it is marked “frequently” and given a score of two.

Thus, for each item on the BASIC-MR, Part B, a child with mental retardation may get any score ranging from zero to two depending on the frequency of that problem behaviour. Enter the appropriate score obtained by the child for each item in the record booklet.


GLAD (Grade level Assessment Device)

Grade level Assessment Device (GLAD) is used for find out processing problem in children with learning problems in regular school who, many a time are suspected as mentally retarded. All the educational assessment tools described above are popularly used criterion referenced tools and have provision for programming and progress monitoring. In some schools, similar tests are developed by themselves and used to suit their needs. The point to keep in mind is that such tests should lead towards assessment of educational needs and provide link to training and formative evaluation. The teacher must be well trained and competent to use the tests.




Functional Assessment Checklist for Programming (FACP)

Functional Assessment Checklists for Programming (FACP) is an activity based checklist used for assessment and programming of children with mental retardation. The activities listed in the checklist are easy to understand, necessary for daily living, easily observable, age appropriate as far as possible and ultimately contribute to living independently in the community.

Grouping of students
The checklist covers content for various groups namely pre-primary, primary-I, primary-II, secondary, prevocational-I, prevocational-II and care group. The grouping is done based on ability and chronological age of the children. Keeping the principle of `zero reject’ in mind, the grouping is made for children of all degrees of mental retardation in the school going age ie., 3 to 18 years.

Preprimary - This group consists of children between 3-6 years of age. The coverage of content in the areas of personal, social and academic is more than with occupational area in this level.

Primary-I - Student who achieve 80% of the items in preprimary checklist are promoted to primary-I level and the age of the students entering in this class may be 7 years approximately. In some cases the students may continue one more year in preprimary to fulfill the pass criteria (For example, if a student who is 7 years has achieved about 60% on evaluation in primary checklist he may continue in the same class for a longer time and see whether he/she can achieve the said pass criteria, ie., 80%).

Primary-II - The students who do not achieve 80% of the items in the checklist in Preprimary level even after 8 years of age are placed in Primary-II. Presumably there are children with low functioning abilities. The content in the academic area is minimal for this group. This group covers children from 8-14 years. When they achieve 80% of the items in the primary-II checklist they are promoted to Prevocational-II. In some cases they may achieve 80% before the age of 14 years and may be promoted to secondary group. Even if they achieve less than 80%, at the age of 15, they will be promoted to Prevocational level II.

Secondary group - This group includes students between 11-14 years. It is a mixed group (ie., students promoted from both Primary I and II). On achieving 80% of the items in this class including the items in academic area, the student will be promoted to prevocational-I and those who achieve less than 80% will be promoted to prevocational-II.


Pre-Vocational I and II - Both the groups consist of students in the age group 15-18 years. The primary focus of training is on preparing students in basic work skills and domestic activities. Hence, the major content covered in the checklist are in the areas of occupational, social, and academics. However, the content coverage under academic area will be minimal or need based for prevocational-II group of students.

Mentally retarded persons over 18 years will be sent to vocational training units with their summative evaluation reports for further programming. This curriculum checklist does not cover the vocational area.

Care group - This group includes children with very low ability (bed ridden-profoundly retarded) and the items in the checklist focus on training them in performing partially, the basic skills such as drinking, eating, toileting, and basic meaningful motor movements and communication. If they continue to stay non-ambulatory as the age advances, the parent/caretaker may find it difficult to bring the child to school. In such cases, simultaneously preparation of caretaker for maintaining learned skills is necessary. It is good to have the children of this group distributed one each in each class starting from prevocational group. This would provide a stimulating environment for them. However, they should be assessed using care group checklist, irrespective of in which group they are placed.


The content in each checklist consists of the core areas of personal, social, academic, occupational and recreation. As children come from different cultures and ecological backgrounds, there is a provision for deletion and addition of curricular items in each area depending on the individual needs of a student. By doing so, the teacher plans an appropriate individualized curriculum for every student in her class.

The format is so designed that the programmer can enter assessment information (entry level) and the progress periodically (at every quarter) for about three academic years, as it is assumed that a student stays a maximum of 3 years in a given level. At the end, a table is given to note the progress of individual child in all the areas periodically after evaluation which may be transferred directly on to a progress report, which is also a component of FACP.



The checklist has a provision for recording the performance of a student on a continuum of 3 years. If a student performs an activity it is marked `+’ and if he does not perform it is marked `-‘. However, the student is provided with assistance in terms of prompts to assess the current level of a student. The prompts such as visual prompt, gestural prompting, modeling, physical prompt are provide during the assessment to see with which prompt he is able to perform. For example, if he is performed an activity with gestural prompt it is marked GP against that specific activity.

Items marked `Yes” (or +) are counted as a point, while the others such as PP, VP, NE are noted but not counted for points. As the ultimate aims is that of achieving independence in a given activity area, those activities the child performs independently or with occasional cueing only will be considered for quantifying into scores. The items marked NA are deleted from the total items to be learned while calculating percentage. Similarly, specific items added should be included for calculating percentage. Achievement of 80% of items in the checklist will be considered for promotion fro one level to the next level. For example, the children who achieve 80% of the items, in preprimary checklist will be promoted to the primary level. It is however, cautioned here that poor teaching should not reflect on the child’s lack of progress or inability to learn.

The items listed under recreation need not be counted for quantification as these items are interest based. The grades given include A = Takes initiative and participates effectively, B = Participates when others initiates, C = Involves self but not aware of rules, D = Observes with interest, E = Not interested (indifferent), NE = No Exposure. The grades as noted below illustrate the involvement of recreational activities in the child. Such scoring is in line with the system in regular schools. The cumulative score on the last page can be the grade that is obtained maximum among the recreational items. If more than one grading gets equal scores, the teacher may use her judgment and decide.

Writing progress report

Along with the provision of recording facility for recording the assessment and evaluation data periodically, there is also a provision for reporting the progress made by the student. This tool is comprehensive and easy to use by teachers as it has periodic monitoring facility and a simple format for writing brief programme also.



4.4         Preparation of material for assessment of various skills.


Teachers need to:

·      decide what is going to be learnt in a particular session p define the learning goals

·      communicate the learning goals to the learners

·      compile questions and design tasks to check learner understanding of the learning goals

·      explain to the learners the criteria which will be used to assess their work

·      decide how feedback is going to be provided

·      define how learners will take an active part in the assessment process

·      plan opportunities for learners to use the feedback provided on the assessment decision to further progress.

Implications for design

These may be summarized as follows:

·      Provide examples of questions or tasks that can engage students in expressing and exchanging their ideas about a phenomenon or topic.

·      Provide samples of classroom dialogue that teachers might analyse to develop deeper understanding of their own classroom style.

·      Give examples of various types of question that could be effective in stimulating students to review and re-consider their own understanding.

·      Provide summative tests, explaining the purposes for which the results of these would be valid evidence, perhaps with tests in equivalent pairs to promote predictions and/or analysis by students.

·      Specify outlines designed to develop the skills of collaborative group work amongst students.

These are only examples, and it is clear that for most of them the materials would have to be different for each curriculum subject.


4.5         Documentation of Assessment Result, Interpretation, Report Writing.



Documentation simply means keeping a record of what is observed while students are engaged in a learning experience. (while playing, learning and exploring)

Records might include teacher observations which focus on specific skills, concepts, or characteristics outlined in the curriculum.

Daily observations may be both planned or spontaneous to ensure that all learning experiences that may emerge from a particular activity are included.

There are various forms of documenting a student’s learning experiences.

·       Photographs, Videotapes and Audio Recordings: It might include the use of student’s artwork and writing, photographs, videotapes and/or tape-recordings.

·       Checklists: Checklists are most effective and efficient as an assessment tool when they assess specific curriculum outcomes pertaining to a topic.

·       Work Samples and Portfolios: Portfolios show a progression of growth in a child’s development during a period of time through a collection of student work samples.

·       Documentation can be as simple as an attractive display of children’s work on a wall or it can be a more elaborately crafted display board that tells the story of an experience of a child or a group of children.

·       All types of documentation should include a title, photos or sketches of children’s work with written captions, children’s illustrations of the experience and additional written descriptions of the learning.

·       Documentation helps all together for the students, teachers, and the parents.

·        It provides students with the opportunity to revisit their work which, in turn, provides teachers with the opportunity to discuss with them their interests, their ideas and their plans.

·       By becoming involved in the documentation of their own learning experiences, students become more reflective and more engaged in the learning that is happening all around them.


Interpretation refers to the task of drawing inferences (making conclusion based on evidences and reasoning) from the collected facts after an assessment.

Report writing is documenting the summarized and interpretative information of assessment which was done using various procedures by an individual or a group.

·       The interpretation of assessment results involves the practitioner in a series of analyses that lead to one or more explanations of the student’s performance and behavior.

·       Analyzing and interpreting information includes synthesizing information in text or graphic displays.

·       Special educators need to know how to analyze and interpret information to share the results with others, including family members and students, too.

·       Result interpretation can be done in various methods: such as Scores, Standard deviation, Percentiles, Standard error of measurement.

·       These are helpful when setting goals with students, monitoring student growth and learning patterns over time

·       Offer at-a-glance insight into the strengths and weaknesses of student learning.

·       Useful to understand how students in a class are performing relative to their peers, particularly when setting goals with students, creating flexible groupings, or evaluating program effectiveness.

·       Can be useful when determining how diverse student performance is within a group. An important factor for understanding why an average (mean) score is higher or lower for a group, and whether whole group or small group instruction might be more effective.

In addition to assessment reports, there is a variety of other ways to share assessment information with different audiences, including websites, brochures, presentations, and social media. In particular, finding ways to share assessment results with students contributes to their increased understanding of why they are asked to participate in assessment and how they benefit from it.