Abilities Based Learning and Education Support

Abilities Based Learning and Education Support (ABLES) is a curriculum assessment and reporting suite that:

  • allows teachers to assess the learning readiness of students with disabilities and additional needs
  • generates reports for individualised learning planning
  • provides guidance and strategies to help teach students based on their individual learning needs, linked to the Victorian curriculum and resources
  • tracks student progress and achievements over time.

ABLES has been aligned to the teaching and learning cycle to provide advice and strategies to inform classroom practice.

Access ABLES

Government schools can access ABLES from the ​Insight Assessment Platform.

ABLES assessment tools

Educators use ABLES assessment tools to assess a student through observation in everyday school and classroom contexts. They do not need to test students before the assessments and students do not directly participate in the assessment.

The assessment tools provide a comprehensive report of a student’s strengths and abilities.

There are nine assessment tools:

  • English – Speaking and listening: covers the development of functional communication skills leading towards recognition and use of the social conventions of communication.
  • English – Reading and writing: covers the development of the use and interpretation of symbolic forms of representation leading towards early reading and writing.
  • Personal and social capability (encompasses three tools): covers the development of skills to support personal/emotional and social/relational dispositions, intelligences and sensibilities. This includes self awareness (specifically for autistic students) including the development of basic skills related to attention, memory and becoming an independent learner.
  • Mathematics: covers the development of numeracy skills needed to notice, describe, understand and use numeracy information, including number and its operations, shape and pattern.
  • Movement and physical activity: covers the development of the ability to achieve goals through strategic use of the movement capabilities of the body, enhancing agency, participation and independence.
  • Critical and creative thinking: covers the development of strategies to actively participate in learning by using trial and error, evaluating outcomes, categorising, initiating activities and making choices. This leads to the development of skills involved in critical thinking such as predicting, planning, evaluating and monitoring progress.
  • Digital literacy: covers the development of the ability to interpret and use the language, symbols and tools of digital technologies in a culturally appropriate manner. This includes learning to use technologies and using technologies to learn.

ABLES reporting

ABLES assessments produce four reports:

  1. Learning readiness report: summarises the skills and abilities the student is currently developing and those the student might learn next. This is linked to the Victorian curriculum and related teaching strategies.
  2. Profile report: maps a student’s level of learning and progress across consecutive assessments, in all nine of the learning pathways as appropriate for the student.
  3. Class report: provides an opportunity to reflect on the learning of groups of students who are working at the same or adjacent levels on the learning pathways.
  4. School report: maps a student's growth in learning at two points in time, two years apart (where data is available).

By reviewing these reports, educators can identify where a student is progressing on the Victorian curriculum continuum.

If the student is working at a level within the Foundation level of the Victorian curriculum, teachers can use the ‘Towards Foundation Level Victorian curriculum' for access to appropriate curriculum advice.

Introductory video

Transcript (docx - 28.64kb)

Professional learning

The ABLES professional learning helps school staff understand how to use ABLES to assess students, create reports and track progress.

There are nine modules, each focusing on a specific element of the ABLES suite of resources and each requiring approximately one hour of online participation per module.

The professional learning modules provide information on how to:

  • complete ABLES assessments
  • interpret and use the reports which the assessments generate
  • link reports to curriculum planning, teaching and learning strategies.

To access the training please visit the ABLES professional learning website​.

Staff at Victorian government schools registering for the first time will require an enrolment key  (education login required).

The research behind ABLES

The Students with Additional Needs (SWANs) assessment and reporting materials were developed by the University of Melbourne with the support of the Australian Research Council as part of a Linkage partnership with the Centre for Advanced Assessment and Therapy Services and the university's foundation research partner, the Victorian Department of Education and Training. 

The Victorian Department of Education and Training is the development sponsor and owner of all rights in the ABLES Tools. The ABLES Tools were derived from the SWANs assessment and reporting materials which are owned by the University of Melbourne.

More information

If you need more information about the ABLES resources or materials, email ables@education.vic.gov.au.

For government schools needing technical support to accessing ABLES on the Insight Assessment Platform, visit Insight platform support.