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Contingency responding
and awareness
A teacher prompts a girl to trigger a
                  switch which activates a PC screen presentation

Here we consider the routemap in more depth and focus upon two of the key milestones: Contingency Responding and Contingency Awareness. This will be supported by the completion of two tasks from the Routes for Learning assessment booklet.


Read what it says for Item 23 in Assessment Activities/Things to Try and Things to Look For on pages 8 and 9 of the assessment booklet. Consider how you might set up an assessment activity with a child you know and then try it out.



Assessment booklet

Assessing contingency awareness (1)

The assessment booklet prompts you to consider whether:

  • the pupil is making something happen independently and deliberately;
  • the rate of action is increasing presumably because the pupil realises that he/she is having an effect; for example, repeated pressing of a switch to produce visual and auditory effects on the computer;
  • the pupil waits for the reward before repeating the action, eg pressing the switch again.

At milestone 23, the pupil just has an idea that, say, pressing a switch produces an effect and does so repeatedly although only one press
is required.


If the pupil is deliberately doing the action once only to get the desired effect and then doing the action again then he/she has achieved Contingency Awareness
(Milestone 26, pages 10 and 11).

Assessing contingency awareness (2)

The video shows Alice pressing a switch with verbal prompting from Leanne. Pressing the switch activates a Balamory presentation on a PC screen. Is Alice's pressing of the switch accidental? Does she demonstrate
contingency awareness?


Read the following commentary on the video.


Video commentary

  • Poster