How can teachers and schools get better data on learners with disabilities? Through All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, USAID commissioned STS to study the validity of a disability measurement tool to address just that. The tool, known as the Child Functioning Module–Teacher Version (CFM-TV), builds on existing questionnaires developed by the Washington Group on Disability Statistics that estimate disability prevalence for census and national survey data. Administered to teachers, it would be a leaner option for collecting disability data in education projects. The study focused on the CFM-TV’s potential to provide valid data for disaggregating reading outcomes by disability status and screening individual learners.
The study revealed several key findings about the CFM-TV and how it could be used.
- Teachers were able to interpret the tool’s questions as intended in the domains of vision, hearing, and mobility, and their responses sufficiently matched the information that caregivers provided. This indicates that the CFM-TV likely would provide valid data on overall disability levels as well as in the domains of vision, hearing, and mobility. The tool could be used to disaggregate reading results by disability status that are intended to provide national diagnostics of reading performance.
- Language of instruction, school type, class size, and teachers’ reported comfort teaching learners with disabilities all affected teachers’ overall assessment of learners’ disability status. Programs interested in using the CFM-TV should be aware of these factors and how they might influence the data they collect from teachers. These factors might also require specific linguistic adaptations of the CFM-TV tool or additional training for teachers to ensure the intent of the tool’s questions is appropriately interpreted.
- Teachers reported fewer learners with disabilities in vision, hearing, and mobility compared with data collected from medical screenings. If teachers are asked to identify learners with disabilities for pre-screening using the CFM-TV, they would not identify all the learners who might benefit from additional diagnostic screening and follow-up services. This means that the CFM-TV tool does not provide sufficient information to screen individuals.
Next week, we’ll share the next steps implementers and researchers should consider regarding the CFM-TV.
This post is the first in a two-part series on disability prevalence and identification. It was authored by STS’s former Deputy Director of Evaluation and Research, Anne Laesecke. Read more about our work on Education Equity and Inclusion here.