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Forms to Guide AT Evaluation

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The Education Tech Point for AT Evaluation is focused on the ways in which the student's team may conduct an evaluation in order to determine if AT is needed. The process to determine a student's need for AT is not the administration of a "test". Rather it is the gathering of authentic evidence about how a student completes meaningful tasks in a natural setting. The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) refers to this as a "functional evaluation" and indicates that any evaluation of a student's need for AT should be a functional evaluation. Another requirement in IDEA is that this functional evaluation should be conducted in the student's "customary environment." These two components help to ensure that any recommended AT tools will be effective in the student's everyday life.

Two popular tools to help guide a functional AT evaluation in the student's customary environment are the SETT forms developed by Joy Zabala and the AT Assessment forms developed by the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI).

  • Framing the Question Worksheet-  When teams begin to consider a student's need for assistive technology, the first step in the process is to identify tasks that are difficult or impossible for the student due to the disability.  The Framing the Question Worksheet helps teams to work through a process to determine whether or not AT should be considered.
  • SETT forms by Joy Zabala-SETT is an acronym for Student, Environments, Tasks, and Tools. Zabala states that, "Although the letters form a memorable word, they are not intended to imply an order, other than that the student, environments, and tasks should be fully explored before tools are considered or selected". The term "SETT" has become the standard for referring to and talking about a functional AT evaluation and the SETT forms can be used to guide the process, especially at the meeting where the team is making decisions about the use of AT.
  • WATI forms-The forms developed by WATI also incorporate the SETT concept. The difference is that the WATI forms are designed with more built in guidance for the team when completing the first part of an AT evaluation which is the gathering of information about the student, the environment, the tasks, and the then tools. The team begins with the WATI Student Information Guide and the WATI Classroom Observation Guide which provide the team with specific questions they will ask as they gather needed information. They then use the WATI Decision Making Guide to lead them through a decision making process and the WATI Tool Identification Guide to help them match the student's needs with specific features of AT tools. The set of WATI forms also includes a step-by-step outline of the recommended process in the Procedure Guide for AT Assessment.