Assistive technology assessment framework is based on the SETT framework

The assistive technology assessment framework is based on the SETT framework, developed by Joy Zabala (2005). This provides a guide to make sure collaborative informed decisions are made when considering and implementing assistive technologies for students in schools.

SETT is an acronym for Student, Environment, Task and Tools. The framework uses questions intended to catch all the ideas and possible solutions shared by the student's support team. The framework promotes a process that is student centred, flexible, allows for shared knowledge and collaboration, incorporating multiple perspectives and is ongoing.


Gather information and assessment results to get a full picture of the student and their current learning needs using these SETT framework planning guide. This decision making process is student centred, task-focused and environmentally useful.

For the... The team...



The team will establish agreement about what is important for the student to be able to do and the barriers that keep the student from achieving their current learning task(s).

What are the student's learning needs?

  • What are your student's strengths and abilities?
  • Where does your student find barriers to their learning?
  • What are the characteristics of the disability/need? (e.g. vision, hearing, mobility, fine motor skills etc.)
  • What is the impact of disability/need on current learning? (e.g. functional challenges, health and wellbeing)

What are the students current learning levels relevant to the application?

  • Literacy skills including reading and comprehension.
  • Written communication skills including writing, spelling, composition.
  • Numeracy skills.
  • Listening to and carrying out instructions.
  • Learning styles.
  • Attitude to work.
  • Level of independence.
  • Completion of learning tasks.

How does the student use current technology?

  • Ability to use technology including operating systems/complexity, keyboard or touch skills etc.
  • Current skills in use and benefits of technology in class or at home.




Consider what tools are already available in the current learning environment to meet the student’s needs, including arrangements, supports, and resources/equipment. Attitudes of key support people should also be considered.

Describe the student's learning environment:

  • Describe the class setting (e.g. location, lighting, space, noise, power points, seating plan, groupings etc.)
  • What are the current instructional and physical arrangements?
  • Are there special concerns? (e.g. distractions, formatting etc.)
  • Working in one room or moving between multiple environments?

What learning materials are available?

  • What materials and equipment are currently used in the classroom? (e.g. workbooks, printed textbooks, media, related core materials etc.)
  • Can the student use the materials or are specialised formats required?
  • What classroom or school technology is available and how often?
  • Does the school have a policy about computers for individual students such as a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) or 1-to-1 computer policy?
  • Does the student have access to power plugs and printers as required?

What are the supports available?

  • What kind of support and how often is the support provided
  • Is there IT/technology support?
  • How are the attitudes and expectations of the people in the current environment (family/whānau, staff, peers & others) likely to affect the use of the technology?


Tasks (or learning goals) 


Identify the most important learning tasks the student needs to be able to do.

  • What are the specific tasks/learning goals?
  • What change do you hope to see and what will it look like when it occurs?
  • What activities occur in the student’s learning environments which enable progress toward mastery of these identified goals?
  • What are the next relevant learning tasks?
  • How are the learning tasks to be completed?
  • What are the current individual learning goals and does technology support these outcomes?
  • What are the critical elements of the tasks required to participate and learn?
  • How might the activities be modified to accommodate the student’s current learning needs? What other functional elements have been considered to help facilitate being actively involved in the current learning environment? (e.g. content, instruction, activities, engagement, inclusion.)




The team should consider other no or low-tech options, and standard classroom technology available before considering high tech solutions.
  • Simplicity is best – what no tech, low tech options have you considered?
  • What other strategies might be used to increase your student's performance?

Technology features:

  • What are the specific features that this piece of technology needs to address in relation to the student’s identified learning needs in their current learning environment?
  • What possible technology options best matches the features you and your team have listed?
  • What other possible technology options have been considered but rejected and why?
  • Has the school’s IT specialist and the Ministry of Education’s local Assistive Technology Coordinator been consulted for additional advice?


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