Educational evaluations are performed when parents and/or school staff are concerned about a child’s school functioning, and are in need a more thorough assessment of factors impacting daily academic performance. Testing can be completed for children in Pre-K through college ages, and depending on the referral concerns, is tailored to assess for the likelihood of specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, as well as nonverbal learning disability, language impairment and other processing specific difficulties that impact a student’s overall functioning.
Evaluation always begins with an in-depth parent and student interview to assess current levels of functioning across home and school settings. A history of school performance is further incorporated by careful review of academic records, including report cards, performance on district and state level assessments, teacher notes, 504 plans, PPT meeting notes, and IEP plans Consult with school staff is also conducted via phone interview, as needed, to most accurately assess a student’s current strengths and weaknesses.
Components of Testing
Formal standardized instruments are then selected and administered. Testing is extensive, and usually takes place over several appointments. Younger children are often seen for a morning appointment to best capture optimal levels of performance. Older students may also be able to schedule testing during the afternoon. Selected test instruments often include measures of cognitive and intellectual abilities, as well as particular areas of processing that contribute to a student’s ability to efficiently process information. In addition, social-emotional functioning, behavioral tendencies and social skills are assessed, via direct observation, parent and teacher rating scales, and structured interview. The purpose for social-emotional and behavioral assessment is to further informal a student’s readiness for school-related responsibilities, including the capacity to manage a busy schedule, maintain organization, attend to tasks, and get participate effectively in various modes of instruction, for instance, independent work activities and group work.
What Do We Leave With?
The end result of our educational evaluations is the generation of written report, that includes student history, description of all test results, and specific recommendations for improving and or facilitating changes at home and in school to enhance a student’s overall academic performance. This is shared with parents, and as age appropriate, students, in a final feedback meeting. Parents are provided with detailed explanations, and have an opportunity to ask questions, as well as brainstorm next steps for implementing recommendations.
Specialized Services in Public Schools
Although many parents may seek this service for their own understanding of a student’s needs, we also offer this service as “Independent Educational Evaluation,” when required or requested by a school district, the purpose of which is to inform eligibility decisions for special education or 504 Plans. Clinicians from the practice are also available to attend 504 and/or PPT meetings to help explain the results to the school team, and advocate for appropriate accommodations and services on behalf of the student.