In the PABLLS stage of my life (my years of not knowing about the ABLLS, aka the pre-ABLLS stage), I felt lost when it came to assessing my students and selecting goals. I don’t even think I knew how lost I felt because this was also in my first few years of teaching when I felt lost when it came to pretty much everything. When I learned about the ABLLS (Assessment of Basic Language & Learning Skills) it was the sky had opened and small precious moment-looking angels coming floating down carrying this small spiraled book of magic. This is no exaggeration my friends. It all made sense. I finally had a system for tracking the (huge range) of skill levels for each student and then that added bonus piece – I knew where to go next!
Before I used the ABLLS, I honestly just haphazardly selected IEP goals. Like I said this was in my first few years of teaching and each IEP always seemed to come out of nowhere and I was always scrambling. Whatever goal I could think of basically had to hit 3 benchmarks: that student had don’t yet, it seemed roughly ‘good enough,’ and I knew how to teach it. Done. Once I started using the ABLLS I realized how faulty this system was. The goals I was selecting often weren’t in the correct sequence and was I really happy with ‘good enough’? Heck no. I wanted each IEP goal to be thoughtfully chosen. ABLLS to the rescue. (ps. it’s only $65 bucks on Amazon)
So basically there are 26 skill areas (ranging from visual performance to labeling to reading). Within the skill that there are a bunch of tasks. You rate how well the student can accomplish the task with the rubric. If they can’t do it at all you leave it blank. The rubric will indicate how many boxes to fill in if they can somewhat do the task.
Some Tips & Tricks!
If you are feeling overwhelming by delving into this all – no worries! I am so obsessed with the ABLLS that this is by no means the first mention of it on the blog. Last year my interns and I created a blog series that takes you step by step through each section of this assessment. Check out all of our ABLLS posts here.
The other thing that is incredibly overwhelming about this assessment is the stuff. You need a TON of material to implement this assessment. I used to be a hot mess running around my class pulling items into from different centers, file folders, and IEP bin work and tossing all into on giant laundry basket every time I wanted to run this assessment. Then it would be such a pain in the you know what getting everything back in the right spot. I kept thinking, “Man, if I could just have everything for this assessment in one place that was super organized so I could locate each item easily….” Yea, you get where I am going. Several hundred hours on the computer later… the ABLLS Resource Kit was born. Everything you need, a system for organizing and labeling it all, BOOM.
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