The Pathway to Independence Inventory: Data-Based Decisions and Individualized Support

How does a program determine the areas in which students would benefit from support? How does that program then guide a goal-setting process around those areas? And how does the program determine whether or not their students are making progress toward those goals?

They use data, of course.

At Virtual Hall, we know how important it is to make informed decisions based on data. A well-designed goal setting and coaching model is only as good as the data that informs it. It just so happens that the team behind Virtual Hall is the same team behind the Pathway to Independence Inventory (PII), an assessment tool designed to support goal-setting and individual skill development for diverse learners in the areas of adaptive skills, executive function, and social capacity.

The PII was informed by a systematic review of the relevant research literature on adaptive skills and college and career readiness as well as by existing assessments in the field including the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS-2), the Scales of Independent Behavior (SIB-R), and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Vineland-3). The resulting assessment is a 124-item instrument divided among the following seven scales:

  • Academic Skills: coursework organization, initiation, self-advocacy, study skills, and time management skills;
  • Emotional Regulation: coping skills and emotional control;
  • Health and Wellness: diet/nutrition, self-care, potential risky behaviors, and sleep;
  • Daily Living Skills: hygiene, meal preparation, navigation of community, and financial management;
  • Interpersonal Skills: avoiding victimization; communication skills, relationships, theory of mind, and social rules;
  • Technology Literacy: technology skills and technology behaviors;
  • Employment Skills: on the job skills and job search skills.

The PII is designed to be completed by both students and an informant (e.g., parent, family member, teacher, faculty member, program staff, etc.) upon enrollment in Virtual Hall as well as annually. Results from the PII can help inform students and their A-Team of areas of strength and areas in which they need support. Students work with their A-Team to identify several areas from the PII in which to establish goals, and the PII can be used as a progress monitoring tool to document and support the steps students are taking to reach their goals. In addition, by reviewing results across informants (e.g., student, family member, and program staff), students can gain some insight into potential blind spots and areas of discrepancy, further opening the path to development and growth.

The Pathway to Independence Inventory is a vital piece of the Virtual Hall coaching model and provides valuable data for programming decisions as well as individual goal-setting. When it pertains to something as important as the rest of your life, don’t just guess. Know.

Author:  Kyle Reardon

In addition to being a Virtual Hall Team Leader, Kyle is also a Ph.D. candidate in special education at the University of Oregon. Kyle’s scholarship emphasizes postsecondary accessibility for diverse learners and his work has been presented at numerous national and international conferences. He holds a B.A. in Music Education and an M.A. in Special Education, both from Northern Vermont University.