Adaptive Evaluation Tools for High School Students With Low Comprehension Skills


Many students who have low comprehension skills are evaluated in high school in order to create a plan to transition them from high school to life after high school. A planning committee works with the student to determine life goals and interests. An evaluation may uncover the scope of the comprehension problems and aid in planning postsecondary options.

Intellectual Disabilities and Evaluation

  • An intellectual disability is defined as someone who has mental limitations in functioning and in life skills such as communication, self care and social abilities, according to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. Common causes of intellectual disabilities include Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome. The Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities discussed two measurements for adaptive behavior. First, the Scales of Independent Behavior Revised measures a student's level of functioning at school, at home, and in the community. There is also the Adaptive Behavior Scale, which can also be used interview-style or as a questionnaire. Finally, there is the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, which measures daily living skills to aid in the development of a postsecondary plan.

Evaluation of Behavioral Issues

  • Students with emotional or behavioral issues have difficulty with comprehension in some cases. Students whose disabilities are severe enough to limit comprehension may need to be assessed for their adaptive behavior skills. One of the most widely used evaluation tools for adaptive behavior with students with emotional and behavioral issues is the Behavior Assessment for Children-2. Many school districts also use the Behavior Rating Profile, Second Edition, which evaluates student behavior at home, in school and in the community. Schools may use the Child Behavior Checklist in order to measure the adaptive skills of students with emotional or behavioral problems.

Evaluation For Other Students

  • Any student with low comprehension skills need to be measured for adaptive evaluation. Students with other disabilities, such as ADHD, need to be measured for adaptation. Also, students who are learning disabled, especially in the area of reading comprehension, may need to be measured. Many school districts use the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System to determine strengths and weaknesses. There are also students with chronic health problems that may lead to low comprehension who need to be measured. For students with health concerns such as epilepsy that may limit comprehension, the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale helps provide adaptive behavior measurements.

After Measurement

  • Once the transition team has an idea of a student's adaptive skills in school, in the home and in the community, they can write a plan. The plan must include goals the student is able to attain. The transition plan is not a plan for the students to use for the rest of their lives, but a bridge from the high school world to the adult world, says the National Association of Special Education Teachers. The transition team discusses whether the student can receive job training, further education at a vocational school, two or four year college, a move to an apartment or a group home and financial management skills.


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