An Overview of the Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) and Other Similar Models

Motivational Assessment Scale

The Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) is a popular tool for assessing motivation in patients with learning disabilities. Many coaches are confused about whether it’s for them and how they can measure client motivation.

Let’s dive into what the MAS looks like, who it’s for, and how you can evaluate the motivation levels of your clients with assessments.

What Is a Motivational Assessment Scale?

The Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) is a tool designed to measure a person’s motivations, particularly those with learning disabilities. It helps psychologists and social care workers assess motivations that influence the behavior of their patients.

This motivation assessment scale can help differentiate the level of motivation an individual might have for various activities. For example, they might be disinterested in sensory activities but able to maintain their attention span for a longer period.

What Is a Motivational Assessment Scale?

The Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) is widely used by psychologists and educators in educational and institutional settings to understand behavioral patterns and improve student or patient responses.

Who Developed the Motivational Assessment Scale?

The Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) was initially created by Drs. Durand and Crimmins in 1988 with 16 questions. Over time, it was expanded and further adjusted to the needs of those with developmental disabilities. The current iteration of the MAS consists of 57 questions and can be administered in about 10 minutes.

What Are the Subscales of the Motivation Assessment Scale?

The Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS) has four subscales, each one looking at a different reason behind behavior:

  1. Attention
  2. Escape
  3. Sensory
  4. Tangible

You can evaluate each question on a six-point scale from “never” to “always.” This format helps psychologists and social care workers understand what drives someone’s actions in different situations.

How Do You Score a MAS Assessment?

To score a MAS Assessment, psychologists first add the responses for each subscale and then divide that total by the number of questions. Once they have those averages, they will rank each motivation from 1 to 6 based on their scores.

This process helps them identify the most crucial motivations for the individual. If any subscale has high scores, it means those functions might be driving the person’s problem behavior.

How Can Coaches Use a Motivational Assessment Scale?

The Motivational Assessment Scale (MAS) is designed for psychologists and educators working with individuals diagnosed with learning disabilities. Since coaches cannot diagnose or treat learning disabilities, they don’t typically use this assessment.

Instead, as a coach, you can assess your clients’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations in life and at work and help them choose career paths and lifestyles aligned with their motivations. There are other assessments better suited for coaches than the MAS that will help you do this.

Let’s explore a few you can incorporate into your practice.

7 Types of Motivational Assessments for Coaches

Here are a few motivational assessments that offer insights into your client’s motivations and preferences. Use them to help them gain clarity about their goals and guide your coaching process.

Motivational Maps

Motivational Maps are structured around nine key motivators divided into categories of achievement, autonomy, and creativity. This simple model of client behavior quickly assesses motivation in a nuanced way.

Your client can take this as a self-assessment questionnaire and bring their results to your session. Use this tool to gain insights into your client’s intrinsic drivers and help them align their goals and actions accordingly.


CliftonStrengths (previously known as StrengthsFinder) identifies your client’s top strengths from 34 talent themes. You can use this assessment to help clients recognize and leverage their talents and strengths to improve their motivation and reach their goals, aligning their actions with their natural abilities.

VIA Character Strengths Assessment

The VIA Character Strengths Assessment evaluates 24 character strengths, such as kindness, perseverance, and leadership. You can leverage this tool to help clients understand their core virtues and values, guiding them towards choices and behaviors that align with their authentic selves.

DISC Personality Assessment

The DISC Personality Assessment categorizes individuals into four main personality types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. It provides insights into your client’s work preferences and interpersonal dynamics.

This way, they won’t just learn what drives them but also be able to communicate it to their loved ones, team, and supervisors. They’ll learn about their communication styles and be better equipped to resolve conflicts and advocate for themselves.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assesses personality across four dichotomies, listing 16 personality types. Their test results will reveal a lot about what naturally drives them at work and in their relationships.

You can use this assessment to help clients understand their natural tendencies, what gives them a sense of meaning, and their decision-making processes.


Ikigai is a Japanese ideology representing the intersection of what you love (passions), what you’re good at (skills), what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. It’s a simple model that can help clients uncover their ideal career path or additional activities that fulfill them.

You can incorporate reflective exercises into your sessions to uncover your client’s ikigai, helping them find purpose and direction in their careers and lives.

The Wheel of Life

Wheel of Life is a coaching tool that visually represents different areas of an individual’s life, such as career, health, and relationships. You can add 8-12 different segments to your wheel to assess what your client prioritizes in their life and how it affects them.

This tool can serve as a basis for discussing your client’s satisfaction and fulfillment in each area. It lets them identify any imbalance they’re experiencing and their underlying motivations regarding different themes in their lives. As a result, they can set goals that are more authentic to their real motivations and aligned with their values.

7 Types of Motivational Assessments for Coaches

[ Read: How to Guide Client Breakthroughs With the Wheel of Life Template ]

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motivational assessment scale

By Annamaria Nagy
Annamaria Nagy is a Brand Identity Coach and Copywriter. She's been writing for over 10 years about topics like personal development, coaching, and business. She was previously the Head of SEO at the leading transformational education company, Mindvalley.
May 8, 2024

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