Overview of Psych-Ed Assessments

What is the purpose of an assessment?

  • Identify learning profile
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Determine if there is a Learning Disability
  • Look for other factors (e.g., ADHD; anxiety…)
  • Determine appropriate programming

What is involved in a typical assessment?

  • Informed Consent
  • Gathering background information, including review of academics (e.g., report cards)
  • Observations & collection of data from other sources (e.g., questionnaires)
  • Administering tests
  • Scoring & interpreting all data
  • Report writing
  • Feedback
  • Typical assessment takes 10-15 hours

A Brief Review of Statistics

Normal curve showing Percentile Ranks and Stanines (height of the normal curve represents the number of students attaining the score at that point on the scale).

“Average” covers 50% of the national population, with the percentile ranks ranging from 25 to 74 (the area under the curve).

Types of Tests Administered

4.A. Cognitive:

    • Provides a measure of intelligence/thinking and reasoning abilities
    • Provides a rough estimate of expected school performance
    • Identifies areas of strengths/weaknesses and learning profile
    • Number of different measures (e.g. Leiter, WISC-IV, Woodcock-Johnson)
    • WISC-IV is one of the most commonly used measures4.A.1. Four Factors in the WISC-IV:
      • Verbal Comprehension – verbal concept formation, verbal reasoning and acquired knowledge
      • Perceptual Reasoning – fluid reasoning spatial processing and visual motor integration
      • Working Memory – ability to perform verbal tasks while holding information in short term memory
      • Processing Speed – ability to quickly & accurately visually scan, discriminate and/or copy visual information
    • Interpretation of cognitive profile: (cannot just look at a single score)
    • Consider discrepancies between factors and within factors
    • Determine normative and individual strengths and weaknesses
    • Qualitative observations

4.B. Psychological Processing Measures

    • Phonological Processing – (Phonological awareness; Phonological memory; Rapid naming)
    • Memory (Short-term memory; Working memory; Long-term memory; Consolidation/retrieval)
    • Language Processing (Receptive and expressive language)
    • Other (Visual-spatial processing; Visual-motor integration; Processing speed)
    • Executive Function (Initialing behaviour; Inhibiting competing actions; Selecting relevant task goals; Planning & organizing; Shifting problem solving strategies; Self-monitoring & evaluating; Working memory; Emotional/behavioural self regulation)

4.C. Academic

    • Designed to measure what a student has learned, including their skills in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematical skills
    • Compared to performance on the ability test
    • Not directly related to a specific curriculum

4.D. Adaptive

    • Usually used with students who exhibit weaknesses in cognitive functioning
    • Activities of Daily living (Self care; Home care; Community awareness)
    • Socialization
    • Communication

4.E. Social Emotional

    • Concerns about social-emotional factors and/or behaviour impacting learning ability
    • Questionnaires and Projective measures

Possible Profiles from an Assessment

  • Learning Disabled (LD)
  • Mild Intellectual Disability
  • Developmental Disability
  • Gifted
  • Gifted/LD
  • Working to potential
  • Slow Learner

What to Look for in the first part of a Psych. Ed. Assessment Report

  • Identifying information (name, grade…)
  • Date assessment completed
  • Age of child when completed
  • Reason for Referral
  • Background information
    • Diagnosis
    • Medical history
    • Academic history & support (IEP, Resource…)
    • Family medical/mental health history

What to Look for with Respect to Assessment Observations

  • This is a 1:1 environment – expect best performance
    • Willingness
    • Signs of inattention, focus, distractibility
    • Worry or concern
    • Talkative – on topic?
    • Separation from caregiver
    • Comment on validity of results
  • Reading and interpreting the test results should be done by a psychologist or other professional trained in this field.

Other Information the Psychologist May Provide

  • ADHD investigation or diagnosis
  • Anxiety/stress investigation or diagnosis and therapy
  • Brief screening measures
  • Autism
  • Help with translating report into programming
  • Therapy

Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Based on the results of the Psych. Ed. Assessment, Brain Power may assist you in preparing for an IEP. A representative of Brain Power may also assist you during the school meetings regarding your child’s IEP.