The predictive validity of the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities versus parents' predictions with children with autism

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Murphy, Colleen
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The Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) is an empirically validated assessment tool for assessing the learning ability of persons with intellectual disabilities and children with autism. During the administration of an ABLA, an examiner attempts to teach an examinee to perform six individual tasks, called levels, using standardized prompting and reinforcement procedures until either a pass or fail criterion is met on each task. The majority of studies investigating the ABLA have been conducted with adults with intellectual disabilities. Research has demonstrated that the six levels of the ABLA are hierarchical in terms of difficulty, and that pass/fail performance on the levels is highly predictive of the ease or difficulty with which examinees will learn a variety of training tasks (Vause, Yu, & Martin, 2007). The present study examined the predictive validity of the ABLA with 9 children with autism, assessed at ABLA levels 2 and 3. A parent of each child was asked to predict the child’s pass-fail learning performance on 20 criterion tasks. In addition, according to the child’s ABLA performance, I predicted that each child would pass the criterion tasks that corresponded to his/her previously passed ABLA levels, and would fail the criterion tasks that were corresponded to his/her previously failed ABLA levels. I then attempted to individually teach each criterion task to each child, using standardized prompting and reinforcement procedures, until each child met either the pass criterion or the fail criterion of the ABLA. Ninety-two percent of the predictions based on the children’s ABLA performance were confirmed, and the ABLA was significantly more accurate than the parents for predicting the children’s performance on the criterion tasks.
ABLA, Autism, Predictive, Validity