Part II: Assessment


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has many identities and is still one of the most talked-about and contentious subjects in tutelage. Being at the mercy of heated discussions over prescription, diagnostic methods, and treatment options are youngsters, adolescents, and adults who must cope with the condition and lead industrious lives on a daily basis. Guiding a steadfast and valid assessment of ADHD presents substantial challenges to the assessor.

To institute a diagnosis, the clinician must confirm the availability of a minimum number of behavioral indications. These symptoms, however, are not irregular in their own right, but assume significance only to the level that their harshness or concentration sets them apart from normal progressive patterns of conduct (McBurnett et al., 1993). Children with ADHD can exhibit extensively fluctuating behavior over time and across settings, signifying the essence for a variety of assessment instruments to assist in the gathering and contrasting of incongruent kinds of information that might combine into a single, stable diagnostic picture (Barkley, 1990; DuPaul & Stoner, 1994; McBurnett et al. 1993).

Administration of Assessments

Test theoreticians know that, when any one psychological degree is used to determine alleged behavioral or personality traits (e.g., abstraction), the assessor may be incapable of separating alteration inherent in the expression of the mannerism across persons from objectionable variance that is in the instrument. For method variance to be teased out from trait variance, the investigator must utilize several assessment methods and use them to track two or more traits. A matrix of correlations between traits and procedures can then be established, which leads variance to either the trait being measured or the instrument.

One can also fruitfully apply the multitrait, multimethod (MTMM) approach, although originating in a paradigm of group research, to individual psycho-educational evaluation, as well. A central assumption of MTMM assessment is that the diagnostician who systematically consults a large database of information collected through various methods of measurement is likely to scale down the bias while ascertaining disorders, commit fewer false-negative and false-positive errors in diagnosis, and arrive at outcomes that are of greatest relevance to the child’s educational program (Gresham, 1983). A variety of testing methods were considered because any diagnosis depends upon the evaluation data’s “convergence”.

The interviews conducted were semi-structured, with a father and mother raising their two children. The two teachers of the student in question were also interviewed. This single case study exposed the provisions involved in educating and socializing school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder. The case study brought out the fact that the parents settled on a significant number of issues, and clearly showed that their major area of worry was education. Implications are put forth to welcome and involve students with autism into inclusive settings with suggestions for future research.

The protocol was structured to question each participant individually, and they covered such issues as family planning, social interactions, genetic predisposition, and psychosocial stressors, along with a long group of questions on service delivery and education.

The interviews were transcribed and reviewed to ensure accuracy. To determine emerging themes, the investigators examined the transcriptions of the interviews with each participant. An overview of the data pointed out those areas in which parents reflected consensus, and those whereby the parents displayed conflicting views. Furthermore, the investigators tried to separate those supports that led to effective inclusion into general education classrooms.

Interviewing the Teacher

The class teachers provide the best cumulative information about a child’s school functioning. The teacher interview assessed the child’s level of general functionality within the classroom, including, work completion, problem behaviors, quality of peer interactions, and academic skills Because ADHD is a behavioral disorder, the interview devoted time to careful analysis of behaviors of concern for the target student. Among the variables assessed are the frequency, severity, duration, and chronicity of the behavior(s). Events that appeared to elicit or support problem behaviors were also determined, along with any observed variations in the child’s academic performance across time or setting (Guevremont et al., 1990).

The classroom setting was inclusive, according to the inclusion teacher. The number students receiving special education services in the class was 5 and only two of them received specific modifications. The inclusion teacher revealed that there were no barriers to accessibility and acceptance of students with exceptional needs. The interview and observations carried also presented relevant information about how the other students in the classroom have adapted to learn in an environment that consists exceptional learning students. The general eduation teacher was interviewed on ability grouping scheduling patterns. They use scheduling patterns that allow all the five students to catch up with their peers in class.

Interviewing the Parent

The parent usually supplies an account of the child’s developmental history, providing information about early onset of symptoms that is crucial to the ADHD diagnosis. During the parent interview, each parents’ concerns regarding the child’s behavior were assessed. A detailed account from the parent(s) of the child’s behavior was also recorded. As additional goals in the parent interview, a medical history was taken to find out if any other family members have identified disorders, and thoroughly evaluate the child’s social skills and emotional adjustment.


Direct Observation

Behavioral observations in the classroom using consistent methods to check on selected behaviors of the student were conducted to corroborate teacher reports of student behaviors. The observations were also conducted for comparison of rates and types of behavior that is displayed typically by the student under study to those demonstrated by his or her classmates. This was to approximate the steadiness of the target student’s school behaviors on a daily basis.

Ethical and Legal Principles

Before the studies took off, authorization from the Institutional Review Board within the university and the family, were sought to conduct a thorough case study using a semi-structured interview format.

Validity and Reliability

Assessment methods including interviews or any other assessment method is valid to the extent that the assessment method measures what it was designed to measure. The combined assessments in a battery increased the validity because the tests were of approximately the same validity and had low inter-correlations. Any assessment technique or test requirements to be a consistent measure. This means that if the test were used recurrently on the same patient, it would produce parallel results. An unreliable test cannot be valid; therefore, the assessment methods were both valid and reliable.


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Brown, T. (2000). Attention-Deficit Disorders and Comorbidities in Children, Adolescents and Adults. Washington: American Psychiatric Press.

DuPaul, G. J. (1992). How to Assess Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder within School Settings. School Psychology Quarterly, 7, 60-74.

Gresham, F. M. (1983). Multitrait-Multimethod Approach to Multifactored Assessment:

Theoretical Rationale and Practical Application. School Psychology Review, 12, 26-34.

McBurnett, K., et al (1993). Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorders in DSM-IV: Scientific

Basis and Implications for Education. Exceptional Children, 60(2), 108-117.

Smith, D. D. (2001). Introduction to special education: Teaching in an age of opportunity. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.