Verbal Behavior Milestones
Assessment and Placement
What is it???
• A criterion-referenced assessment
• Based on the B.F. Skinner’s functional
analysis of language/verbal behavior
• Developed by Dr. Mark Sundberg
• Designed to provide a representative sample
of a child’s existing verbal and related skills
• 170 Milestones from 16 skill areas over 3
Developmental levels
• Also includes:
– Barriers Assessment
– Transition Assessment
For whom is this appropriate?
• Students with language delays that
significantly impact their learning
– Young children
– Students with moderate to severe
learning impairments
– Individuals with developmental
language abilities at or below 48
months. (4 years)
Who can give this test?
• The assessment uses verbal behavior
terms so it is important for the tester to
have a functional understanding of
behavioral principles, VB, basic
linguistic structure, etc.
• But it doesn’t have to be an SLP…
• And it doesn’t have to be just one
How do I give this test?
• Formal administration of test items
• Direct observation of child
• Interviews with parents and others who
know the child well (p17)
• A list of suggested materials is presented
on pages 21 & 22 of the guide.
What is it good for?
• Ascertaining developmental language
abilities and needs
• Documentation of student progress over
• Identifying factors that may hinder a
child’s progress
• Highlighting factors for consideration in
determining least restrictive environment
What does it measure?
• 16 Milestones
Motor Imitation
Reading (Textual Behavior)
Spelling (Transcription)
Listener Responding
Listener Responding by Function, Feature, and Class (LRFFC)
Visual Perceptual/Match to Sample (VP-MTS)
Independent Play
Social Behavior & Social play
Spontaneous Vocal Behavior
Classroom Routines & Group Skills
Linguistic Structure
• Identifies factors which may be impeding a
child’s progress towards learning and
language acquisition.
• 24 factors, described with scoring
instructions beginning on page 99 of your
• Uses 0-4 pt scale
• Identified factors can be directly addressed
through learning objectives, etc.
• There are 18 measurable areas identified on that can help
educators and parents make decisions and set priorities.
• Looks at 3 main categories of performance
– VB-MAPP scores and academic independence
– Learning patterns
– Self-help, spontaneity, and self-directions
• Uses 0-5 pt scale
• Does not attempt to determine placement for a child,
repeatedly states that this is the responsibility of the IEP team
• In general, higher scores indicate a greater potential for
success and independence in a less restrictive environment
Milestones Assessment Scoring
• Assign a score of 0, ½, 1
based on criteria given
in the guide
• Scores are recorded for
each item and for the
whole section in the
protocol and
transferred onto the
Master Scoring Form
Barriers Assessment Scoring
• Assign a score from 0 to
4 based on criteria
identified for each
• Transfer scores from
each barrier to the
Barriers Assessment
Scoring Form
Transition Assessment Scoring
• Assign a score from 0-5
based on criteria
identified for each item
• Some scores come from
the Milestones or
Barriers assessment
• Transfer scores from
each item to the
Transition Scoring Form
Interpreting the Results
• Chapters 8, 9 & 10 provide information on
how to interpret the results and use them to:
– Determine the general level of the child
– Show strengths and weakness
– Look for balance across skill areas
– Determine appropriate teaching style
– Write IEP goals
How are they Similar &
How are they Different???
Teaching Verbal Behavior to the Developmentally Disabled
Dr. Mark Sundberg
Assessment of Basic
Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS)
Dr. Mark Sundberg & Dr. James Partington
Assessment of Basic
Language and Learning Skills-Revised
Dr. James Partington
Verbal Behavior Milestones
Assessment and Placement Program
Dr. Mark Sundberg
•Authors who have partnered closely together
•Both focus strongly on assessment of verbal operant skills,
with other skills assessed on an almost secondary basis
•Both measure multiple facets of language
•Both are criterion-referenced assessments
•Both are assessed through observation, interview and direct
administration of test items.
•Both have partial mastery options for specific skills
•Both include graph formats for charting a child’s progress
• Both are designed to be administered periodically (often
annually but does not have to be) to a single child and
change over time noted on the original graph
• Both include graph formats for charting a child’s progress
• Both contain one protocol and one guide.
• Both are copyrighted.
•VB-MAPP has 170 milestones across 16 skill areas
•ABLLS-R has close to 500 individual skills assessed over 25
•VB-MAPP addresses developmental milestones
•ABLLS-R addresses discrete skills
•VB-MAPP presents milestones in a hierarchical manner
•ABLLS-R presents some skills in a developmental hierarchy
but not all
•VB-MAPP allows you to stop administering items is student
is not able to complete 3 sequential skills
•ABLLS-R all test items should be administered or
•VB-MAPP scoring criteria must be referenced in the manual
•ABLLS-R scoring criteria is right on the form
•VB-MAPP includes the barriers and transition assessments
•ABLLS-R does not, though does look at some of the
equivalent components of these assessments
•VB-MAPP includes specific echoics to test, but does not list
out other specific items
•ABLLS-R has assessment items lists in the appendices
•VB-MAPP presents IEP development guidelines
•ABLLS-R presents criteria in a way that can be fairly easily
translated to measureable instructional objectives for IEPs

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