Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System: Indigenous Australian Adaptation Model (ABAS: IAAM)

Academic journal article European Journal of Social & Behavioural Sciences, The

Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System: Indigenous Australian Adaptation Model (ABAS: IAAM)

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

School psychologists at Northern Territory (NT) Department of Education provide psycho- educational information to schools and parents. They obtain evidence through assessment and testing. Typical assessments may include testing of intellectual -, academic -, adaptive behaviour - and/or social and emotional functioning (Australian Psychological Society (APS), 2013).

NT school psychologists further ascertain levels of special education needs and verify formal diagnoses in advising the current Special Education Support Program (SESP) funding process (SESP, 2015). Responsible test use which includes the administering of culturally appropriate psychological tests is therefore essential for valid and reliable test outcomes (Bartram, 2001; Bartram, Byrne, Leong, Hambleton, Oakland, van de Vijver & Cheung, 2009). School psychologists are required to use standardised test results to verify formal diagnosis or specific disabilities (APS, 2012; APS, 2013).

While there are an increasing number of standardised psychological tests available for mainstream use (Pearson Clinical Assessment Australia & New Zealand, 2015) there are very few instruments tailored for use with Australian Indigenous school students. Concerns about the widespread use of mainstream tests with Indigenous people have been reported in the international literature over recent decades (Dingwall, Pinkerton & Lindeman, 2013; Kearins, 1981 & 1986; Lonner & Sandberg, 1985; Westerman, 2007). Calls for cross-cultural test adaptation have also been a feature of this literature (Hambleton, Merenda & Spielberger, 2005). Despite these concerns, Australian school psychologists continue to rely on mainstream tools to assess Indigenous students. This carries risk of unreliable test results and invalid interpretation, misdiagnosis or over-diagnosing (APS, 2012; Ferrari, 2009; Westerman, 2007).

The use of mainstream psychological assessment tools with Indigenous students raises several concerns. These include the quality of assessments, issues of equity, the cultural relevance of test materials, and how they take account of Indigenous language use and the socio-economic background of students. The cultural knowledge of the practitioner can also be a significant factor in test administration and interpretation (Dana, 1994; Kearins, 1988; Klenowski, 2009). These continuing concerns highlight the need for developing appropriate and culturally safe psychological tools for Indigenous students (Dingwall et al., 2013).

NT school psychologists have identified the need for a cultural specific measure of students' adaptive behaviour for a) determining the level of adaptive behaviour functioning (Harrison & Oakland, 2003), b) identifying adaptive strengths and weaknesses (Harrison & Oakland, 2003), c) informing diagnosis and the level of severity of functional impairments, e.g. intellectual disability (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), c) informing education programs, and d) informing the school funding for children with special needs (School Psychology Practice Handbook, 2015).

The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-Second Edition Teacher Form (ABAS-II TF) was developed in the United States with psychometric properties considerable suitable for use in Australia. It is a teacher rating form which assesses 10 skill areas/adaptive domains, produces a general adaptive composite score (GAC), and has high internal consistency and test re-test reliability (Harrison & Oakland, 2003; Pearson Clinical Assessment Australia & New Zealand, 2015). Key areas of functioning assessed by the ABAS-II TF include Conceptual Reasoning, Social Interactions, and Practical Functioning. These adaptive domains comprise items assessing specific skills in communication, community use, functional academics, school living, health and safety, leisure, self-care, self-direction, social and work areas.

This study's objective was to develop, evaluate and trial a cross-cultural adaptation of the ABAS-II TF for Indigenous students ages 5-14. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.