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Computerized Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities
AuthorKarr, Donald Ray
AdvisorWilliams, Wilfred L.
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A table-top assessment tool for measuring basic learning abilities of intellectually disabled individuals has been in use for over three decades. That tool is known today as the Assessment of Basic Learning Abilities (ABLA) test, which was developed by Kerr, Meyerson, & Flora (1977). The ABLA has demonstrated its utility and efficacy in measuring motor, visual, and auditory discrimination skills in a six-level hierarchical protocol. An impressive feature of the ABLA is that an individual who fails to pass one of its six levels is almost universally unable to pass a higher level on the test, which has significant implications for the selection of appropriate activities and daily living skills to be trained. At the other extreme on the continuum of learning abilities are individuals who are fully capable of communicating through oral and written media, and the field of language development has been and continues to be the focus of intense research. In the middle ground lies a range of learning abilities above ABLA level 6 and below the fully competent language-able individual. It is that middle ground which is the focus of this research. A computerized version of the ABLA, dubbed CABLA, has been developed. The CABLA uses a touch-sensitive computer monitor and includes analogues of the table-top ABLA, but it also includes 10 additional levels of various combinations of visual and auditory conditional discriminations. These added discriminations are intended to provide evidence of additional learning potential above ABLA level 6. All of the new discriminations, which involve all two-choice options of auditory and visual stimuli, clearly relate to language development. Further, by correlating the results of the CABLA with data obtained from the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS), this research aims at proving the effectiveness of the CABLA as a convenient, user-friendly, and effective tool for the measurement of learning abilities.