Adapted Physical Education Assessment Instruments

Assessment is the first step in developing the Individual Education Program (IEP) for an individual with disabilities. It focuses on identifying activity needs of the individual, and is the interpretation of measurements obtained through testing. Assessment is also used to make decisions about placement and program planning. It forms the foundation for the instruction given to an individual with disabilities so he/she can safely and successfully participate in physical education class. The IDEA Amendments of 1997 stated that parents need to be involved in the assessment of their child and the development of their child's IEP. Consequently, parental input and observations are vital to the assessment process. Some common assessment tests used in physical education are listed below.

Another aspect of assessment is determining the physical education grade a student receives on his/her report card. IDEA 97 added the requirement that children with disabilities be included in all assessments. This means that if your regular curriculum calls for physical fitness, motor, or content knowledge assessments you MUST give that assessment to your students with disabilities or be prepared to provide alternative assessments. The new amendment also requires that students with disabiliites be given grades and progress reports on the same schedule as regular education students. This means that if parents of children without disabilities get report cards every nine weeks, parents of students with disabilities must also receive a report card every nine weeks.

Adapted Student Referral Tools for Teachers

Determining Eligibility for Adapted Physical Education: Selection and Application of Assessment Tools (PDF)
Dianna Foster, PT, DPT, University of Florida, College of Health and Human Performance

Popular Scales Used for Assessing Kids with Special Needs Chart (PDF) or (HTML)
Compiled by Camila S. Hogberg, Adapted Physical Education Instructor, Barrington Public School Department, RI

Adapted Physical Education Assessment Scale-II (APEAS II) from AAHPERD

Want to know which of your students qualify for special education services in adapted physical education? This trusted assessment tool, used for more than 25 years, is now available in an easy-to-use, revised format. Produced by AAPAR in cooperation with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the APEAS II will help you to identify who qualifies for extra help. Available in an electronic score sheet or a paper-and pencil format, this tool provides demographic data for students ranging in age from 4 to 17 years old and measures the following areas of motor performance including perceptual motor function, object control, locomoter skills, physical fitness, and adaptive behaviors (behaviors that, in spite of adequate motor performance, limit a student’s ability to participate in general physical education). 

The Brockport Physical Fitness Test Manual by Joseph P. Winnick & Francis X. Short.

This manual addresses fitness concerns of individuals with disabilties. The book describes 27 tests the practitioner can choose from when assessing individuals with disabilities. The book also makes recommendations on which tests to use when assessing individuals with specific disabilities, such as mental retardation and visual impairment. This is an excellent resource for all professionals working with individuals with disabilities. Available for purchase from PE Central Store.

DEVPRO Motor Skills Assessment

DEVPRO is a developmental, criterion-referenced assessment appropriate for chronological ages birth to 11 years old. It addressed 22 different skill areas, defining over 950 highly task-analyzed skills. It is very appropriate to use for severely handicapped students, both physically and mentally disabled, up to age 22, who are developing basic gross motor and perceptual-motor skills.


    The Special Olympics Sports Skills Program for Aquatics has two assessments for swimming skills. This manual also contains information on skill practice techniques and teaching suggestions.

    Special Olympics
    1325 G St., N.W.
    Suite 500
    Washington, DC 20005-4709

Project ACTIVE

This is a norm and criterion referenced assessment instrument using task anaylyses of locomotor, nonlocomotor, and object control skills. Curriculum manuals are available fot several specific disabilities.

Special Olympics Sports Skills Program

    The Special Olympics Sports Skills Program was developed and tested by coaches, teachers, and parents of students with disabilities. It is written and illustrated so that teachers and coaches at every level of experience can improve their skills. There is a complete series of sports skills books, ranging from alpine skiing to volleyball. Each book contains an assessment instrument for the novice and experienced athlete, along with teaching/coaching ideas on basic skills and appropriate drills. Contact your local Special Olympics office or the national office below.

    Special Olympics
    1325 G St., N.W.
    Suite 500
    Washington, DC 20005-4709

Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD)

    The Test of Gross Motor Development (Ulrich, 1999) is a criterion and norm-referenced test designed for assessment of children from 3-10 years of age in 12 gross motor patterns. The locomotor patterns include such items as running, galloping, and jumping. The manipulative patterns include such items as bouncing, catching, and kicking.

    Pro-Ed (then do a search for TGMD)

Lovaas' Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Model

    The Lovaas Institute for Early Intervention, or LIFE, is a small researched-based psychology clinic in the Los Angeles area that specializes in developing and implementing behavior modification treatment programs for children with autism.

    Director: Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D.
    Asst. Director: Jacqueline Wynn, Ph.D
    UCLA Dept. of Psychology
    1282A Franz Hall
    Box 951563
    Los Angeles, CA 90095
    Phone: (310) 840-5983
    Fax: (310) 840-5987
    Web site:

Motor Opportunities Via Education (MOVE)

    MOVE International is dedicated to helping children and adults with severe disabilities sit, stand and walk. MOVE International was born out of a need to improve the quality of life for people with severe disabilities. This is achieved through instruction and adaptive equipment that enhances independent mobility.

    Kern County Superintendent of Schools
    1300 17th St.- City Centre
    Bakersfield, Ca 93301-4533
    Phone: 800-397-6683

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