Assessing Students with Autism: Considerations and Recommendations
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Approximately 9% of students receiving special education services in the United States are identified with autism. Given the increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD; see below) and the emphasis in the 2014 Standards (AERA, APA, NCME) for evaluating fairness, attending to universal design, and ensuring accessibility of tests for all groups, it is imperative test developers ensure standardized achievement tests yield results that are valid for these students. This chapter includes a discussion of the characteristics of ASD with a focus on strategies to reduce the effects of test anxiety for this population, followed by an overview of applied behavior analysis and the relevance of behaviorism to the treatment of ASD. Several behavioral strategies are presented, and their putative impacts on the assessment milieu are examined. Finally, the author proposes several guidelines for approaching test design and implementation for individuals with ASD to ensure the validity of inferences from their test results.
KeywordsAutism spectrum disorder ASD Autism Testing Assessment Achievement testing Test anxiety Test validity
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