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Children’s Organizational Skills Scale

Howard Abikoff, Ph.D. 
Richard Gallagher, Ph.D.
"It effectively fills a gap in the area of organizational skills that is quite important to parents (Garn, Matthews, & Jolly, in press), but is only rarely quantified. As a measure based in clinical experience, the COSS will be useful to both researchers and practitioners.”
—Matthews, M. (2010). Test Review of the Children’s Organizational Skills Scales. In R. A. Spies, J.F. Carlson & K.F. Geisinger (EDS.). The eighteenth mental measurements yearbook. Retrieved from the Buros Institute’s Test Reviews Online website:


The COSS is designed to help the assessor understand how children organize their time, their materials, and their actions to accomplish important tasks at home and at school. The COSS quantifies organizational skills for children aged 8 to 13 based on ratings from parents, teachers, and the child.

The Children's Organizational Skills Scales (COSS ) is a comprehensive measure of organizational skills, including:
  • Assessment of a child's overall competence in managing task demands at home and school (i.e., domain specific)

  • Delineation of a child's competence in planning tasks, tracking assignments,  managing materials and time

  • Identification of a child's organizational strengths and weaknesses relative to the normative sample

  • Assessment of the level of conflict at home related to a child's organizational problems

A recent study by Howard Abikoff, Ph.D. and Richard Gallagher, Ph.D., compared the efficacy of 2 behavioral interventions to ameliorate organization, time management, and planning (OTMP) difficulties in 3rd- to 5th-grade children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Aug 13 , 2012. View the article abstract, Remediating Organizational Functioning in Children With ADHD: Immediate and Long-Term Effects From a Randomized Controlled Trial.

How to Use the Assessment
Rating scales are available in parent, teacher, and self-report form formats. The COSS scales include Task Planning, Organizes Actions, and Memory and Materials Management. An Inconsistency Index is available on all three forms. This index is useful for determining response patterns that can affect results due to careless/random responding.

The self-report form also contains a Positive Impression Index to help identify inaccurate representation of problems by making situations appear better than they really are. has a negative attitude toward the testing process. Back to the top

Scales & Forms

COSS Scales

Task Planning
- the ability to meet deadlines and to spell out steps need to complete tasks

Organizational Behavior
- measures the competent use of aids (e.g., calendars and assignment records) and special routines (e.g., creating rough drafts and lists) 

Memory and Materials Management
- incorporates the skills of tracking assignments, recalling due dates, and managing papers, books, and other supplies.Back to the top


Author Howard Abikoff, Ph.D. & Richard Gallagher, Ph.D.

Age Range 8–13

Administration Time 10–15 minutes

Administration Type Parent-completed

Qualification Level B