The NPDC Model: Assessment

Selection of an EBP begins with assessing four elements: (1) program quality, (2) learner goals, (3) family and learner strengths and history, and (4) team member experience and knowledge.

Program Quality

The Autism Program Environment Rating Scale (APERS) is designed to assess quality indicators of programs for children and youth with ASD.  The 10 domain, 60+ item instrument is available in two versions: one for the preschool/elementary grades and one for the middle/high school grades. The APERS requires certification training to ensure validity, therefore the instrument is not publicaly available. This training prepares individuals in using the instrument in their work setting to administer, score and interpret the instrument, and to provide feedback to the school program being assessed.

For information about APERS Training email Ann Sam (

Learner Goals

Teachers and other team members work together to select priority goals from the learners’ Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to address. Next, the team determines whether the goals are observable and measureable and, if necessary, modify the goal statement. Data are collected to fully understand and describe the learner’s present level of performance relative to the goal.

See the Outcomes component for information about how the Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) is used to monitor progress.

Family and Learner

There are four areas for consideration when identifying EBPs for individual learners:

  1. learning style
  2. temperament
  3. interest and motivators, and
  4. history of what has and has not worked.

This information about the learner is important to gather in order to individualize the intervention. Also, the family may be a resource for the teacher/team for continuing the intervention while not at school and for information that would encourage the school to consider a practice that is already being implemented in the home.

Team Members

The selection of an EBP needs to take into consideration the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the teaching staff. For example, it would be important to consider if there are staff trained in Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) if considering the use of this EBP. Consider who in the program can implement the chosen practice with fidelity. If no one, then determine if other resources are available to implement an EBP with fidelity.