What should you, as a parent or a teacher, look for in a psychoeducational evaluation?
The decision to obtain an individual psychoeducational evaluation of a child is guided by a need to learn more about that child’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner and as a student. A good evaluation will investigate a child’s problem solving skills, verbal and nonverbal concept development, memory processing speed, and language development as well as academic skills development. In the case of a gifted child who has performance issues, a test of executive functioning can check for issues with attention and focus.
Your child’s evaluation should include an individual intelligence test (I prefer the WIAT III and the WISC V) as well as an individual academic achievement test in reading, math and possibly writing. These basics (of intellectual ability and academic achievement) can be augmented with ratings scales for various behavior and social emotional issues, sensory issues, visual motor integration, executive functioning and adaptive behaviors.
After the assessment is completed with the child, the school psychologist analyzes all the data and creates a written report, in which all the test results are reported and interpreted. You should never accept a report that does not include an interpretation of the results as well as recommendations for how to proceed with a program plan for the child. Parents and teachers should both receive suggestions for how to change instruction or how to provide additional activities that will address the child’s weaknesses.
6 Questions to Ask Your Prospective Evaluator
- What specific types of tests will you administer to my child?
- What will these tests measure?
- What is your approach to assessment?
- Will you explain the results in the report?
- What follows the report?
- What should I do if I am not comfortable with the results?
A good evaluator should make you feel comfortable with the assessment process, should help you navigate the school’s procedures and should help make sure your rights are protected. A short conversation with your prospective professional should give you a sense of how he or she approaches advocacy, protocols, and testing.