ABAS-3 Content and Scores Help You Assess for Adaptive Skills Across the Life Span


The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System, Third Edition (ABAS-3) can measure adaptive behavior at three levels. The highest level is the General Adaptive Composite (GAC), which is composed of all measured skill areas and provides an overall estimate. Broken down further, the next level contains three adaptive domains for more individualized skill areas.


These skill areas include:

●     The conceptual skill area contains behaviors that an individual needs to communicate with others, manage or accomplish tasks, and apply academic skills.

●     The social skill area contains behaviors needed to act with social responsibility, engage in interpersonal interactions, and use leisure time.

●     The practical skill area contains behaviors needed to take care of home, work, and classroom settings, address personal and health needs, and function within a community.


The third level contains a wider range of individual adaptive skill areas, including community use, communication, functional academics, home and school living. Leisure, health and safety, self-direction, self-care, work, motor, and social.

The ABAS-3 scores are used to compare adaptive skills of an individual with those of their same-age peers as normalized by a national standardization sample. GAC and adaptive domains include standard scores, confidence intervals, and percentile ranks.

Adaptive skill area scores are scaled. Descriptive classifications include extremely low, low, below average, average, above average, and high. These classifications can be used for GAC, adaptive domains, and adaptive skill areas for interpretation.

Compared to the second edition (ABAS-II), the ABAS-3 revision involved primary components like collecting new, nationally representative standardization samples that more accurately reflected the United States population. Forms were updated with new administration and scoring options.

Along with reviewing the ABAS-II items and scale structure, user feedback helped to identify which features needed to be retained or revised for the ABAS-3, and which features were no longer needed.

Critical components of the ABAS-II were unchanged while the revised ABAS-II item pool was evaluated with the following three things in mind:


●     New, low difficulty items were added to the infant and preschool forms to measure individuals of lower ability while high difficulty items were added to the school and adult forms to measure individuals with higher ability, allowing for a wider assessment range and greater accuracy at the extremes.

●     Items were added or revised to do a better job of assessing adaptive skill deficits associated with intellectual disability disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

●     References to older technologies like printed encyclopedias were replaced with references to new technologies such as the Internet.


While items were added and deleted from each skill area on each form, the total item count for each form of the ABAS-3 is the same as on each corresponding ABAS-II form.

The ABAS-3 can be administered on paper, using desktop software, or online. The WPS Online Evaluation System helps evaluators to complete online testing on any computer with Internet access.


For more information on the ABAS-3 and other developmental assessments, visit WPS.

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