Linking Assessment to Intervention: Teacher Awareness and Training Needs Related to Students with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Matthew Luckett, Western Kentucky University


Despite the efforts of private and federally funded research, which have led to a prodigious accumulation of information concerning the assessment and diagnosis of Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and interventions for students diagnosed with ADHD, a minimal amount of research focus has centered around the application of assessment information in the development of treatment plans. The evolution of diagnostic labels for ADHD and variability among school-based assessment practices have impeded the utilization of assessment data in intervention planning. Although reaction to the challenges presented by ADHD students has been widespread, research generated by the interest in this heterogeneous population has only recently begun to integrate the assessment and intervention phases of ADHD referrals in the schools. In the present study, a survey questionnaire developed by the research author was completed by 250 Kindergarten through sixth grade teachers in 16 central-western Kentucky school systems. The sample consisted of regular education, special education, and Title One teachers with one to thirty-one plus years of experience, and educational backgrounds of the predominantly female sample ranged from Bachelor's to Doctoral degrees. The survey included four distinct sections, wherein participants were questioned about (a) knowledge level with respect to the diagnostic criteria and diagnostic labels for ADHD, (b) intervention preferences for addressing ADHD student behaviors in the classroom, (c) interventions which they would use for ADHD student behaviors under ideal classroom circumstances, and (d) opinions concerning the importance of a number of issues related to ADHD and the classroom teacher. Data analysis consisted of frequency and percentage distributions, chi-square tests, and measures of central tendency. The respondents indicated that knowledge of the specific diagnostic criteria and classifications for ADHD is limited at this time. Interventions currently utilized by the teachers, although vaiying with respect to particular behaviors, commonly included positive / token reinforcement, punishment, and response cost. When asked about interventions they would utilize in an ideal setting, the respondents indicated that self-management interventions would be used more often. The respondents indicated that further training in assessment and intervention for ADHD students was important, along with training involving the development and implementation of interventions which can be used with ADHD students. The majority of the respondents indicated that they had instructed an ADHD student in the past two years, and typical resources for training related to this population included self-study using books and manuals, self-study using journals and newspapers, and in-service training.