A Randomized Controlled Study of Compass: Can School-Based Consultants be Trained to Implement a Consultation Intervention for Students with ASD?

Poster Presentation
Thursday, May 2, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room: 710 (Palais des congres de Montreal)
L. N. Ogle1, L. A. Ruble2, J. H. McGrew3, A. M. Love4, K. Pinkman5 and M. Yee4, (1)Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, (2)University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, (3)Psychology, Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, (4)Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, (5)Department of Educational School and Counseling Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Consultation in schools is one way to meet the high demands of special education services for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The Collaborative Model for Promoting Competence and Success (COMPASS) is an evidence-based, student-centered consultation and coaching intervention developed specifically for ASD. Three previous randomized controlled trials found that COMPASS results in better IEP quality and goal attainment progress over the course of an academic year compared to control groups (Ruble et al., 2018; Ruble, McGrew, Toland, Dalrymple, & Jung, 2012; Ruble, Dalrymple, & McGrew, 2010). COMPASS starts with a parent-teacher consultation facilitated by a COMPASS trained consultant producing individualized goals and teaching plans followed by coaching with performance feedback and IEP progress monitoring. Prior studies have been limited because COMPASS was only delivered by the original developers.


The primary goal of this study was to create a COMPASS training package and examine its impact on school-based consultant fidelity and student IEP outcomes. A secondary goal evaluated COMPASS effectiveness based on the frequency and type of coaching.


Participants included 5 consultants, and 11 students, caregivers, and teachers. Students were males aged 3-10 years receiving special education services under the category of autism. Consultants were women aged 45-60 years with 11-30 years of experience as consultants (M = 17.2, SD = 7.49). Consultants received 28 hours of training provided by the researchers online and in-person on COMPASS procedures for consultation and coaching with an additional 10 hours of consultation and coaching supervision.

Participants completed the COMPASS consultation and were then randomly assigned into one of four groups that varied the type and frequency of consultant coaching: 1) 4 coaching sessions, 2) 2 coaching sessions, 3) 4 feedback emails of student’s goal attainment progress and teacher teaching plan adherence, and 4) consultation only.

Consultation fidelity was measured with a 25-item Likert-type questionnaire (α = .81) by the supervisor, consultant, parent, and teacher. Teachers and parents rated satisfaction with a 25-item Likert-type questionnaire (α = .940). Consultants and supervisors evaluated consultation process skills on a 35-item Likert-type questionnaire. Consultants used a 1-4 scale (α = .77) and supervisors used a yes-no scale (α = .85).

Supervisors, consultants, and teachers will use a 16-item scale to rate coaching fidelity, and teachers will use an 11-item scale to assess coaching satisfaction. Student goal attainment progress will be reported for coaching and feedback sessions.


Researchers rated COMPASS consultation fidelity 21.75 (SD = 3.4) out of 25 (87%). Parent (M = 1.3, SD = .54) and teacher (M = 1.2, SD = .35) satisfaction with the consultation was high.

Results for the remaining measures, including coaching fidelity and satisfaction and student goal attainment progress, will be collected through April 2018, and analyzed and reported for the final presentation.


Initial results indicate that the COMPASS consultation can be implemented with high fidelity and stakeholder satisfaction by school-based consultants. Full pilot results comparing each of the conditions based on dosage will be presented.