Student Assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Student looking outside of car window

When teachers design assessments for their students, they must consider the content of the assessment and the student population. Many teachers work with special educators on staff to ensure that testing materials meet the requirements for students with individualized education plans. This is important so that teachers can measure the growth of their students who receive special education programs in fair and valid ways.

Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may need unique modifications and accommodations to their assessments. As a spectrum disorder, ASD affects affected students differently. Here are some of the things that a special education teacher needs to consider when developing assessments for students with ASD.


While a student on the autism spectrum may have a good grasp of the content knowledge, they may struggle understanding the directions of the assessment or knowing how to respond to questions. It is important to work with students through verbal assessment or other necessary accommodations.


Students with ASD may be unable to answer certain questions. They may also be overwhelmed with multiple-choice questions. Short answer and essay responses may be difficult for students with ASD who have not yet developed extensive oral or written language skills. Additionally, the ability to respond and communicate can vary from day to day students with ASD. This can mean it is difficult to get an average, accurate measure of student learning without accommodating these challenges.


Routine and normalcy helps can help some students with ASD perform well in school and on exams. If they are in an unfamiliar situation or an unfamiliar adult who is assisting them with their assessment, they may feel anxious and struggle to take the assessment.


A student with ASD may not be motivated to perform well on tests or in the classroom. This could be because they do not understand what the test is or how assessment measures their learning and gives information to their teachers.

If you are passionate about teaching students with ASD and other learning impairments or special needs, consider furthering your own education by earning the Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership with an Emphasis in Special Education degree at Grand Canyon University. The College of Doctoral Studies offers a rigorous course load that revolves around the dissertation process and ensuring that you build the skills and expertise required to excel in your field. To learn more about this and other programs, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.