Assessment is an integral part of student learning. Assessment inspires us to ask questions: “Is this student learning what he/she is supposed to be learning?” “Is there a way to teach this particular student better, thereby promoting better learning?”Today’s students need to know not only the basic reading and arithmetic skills, but also skills that will allow them to face a world that is continually changing. They must be able to think critically, to analyze, and to make inferences. Every human brain is different and all brains have parts that do not work as well as others. Some students are talkers and thinkers, whereas others are doers. Some prefer to read while others prefer to use their hands to learn and explore. Some have difficulty expressing themselves and others have difficulties with attention. Each student is unique; therefore, it is important to have a solid understanding how a student learns so that he or she can truly benefit from his or her educational experience. Assessments are important for providing feedback regarding the student’s knowledge base, performance base, strengths, and needs. This feedback is critical to inform us about what teaching methods are most effective and/or what modifications are needed to support student learning and academic and life success. Assessments are also valuable in empowering students and parents to better advocate for their needs.
Psychoeducational assessments are an essential step to develop a complete perspective of your child’s academic skills and cognitive abilities. It is important to determine not just how much your child has learned, but how he/she learns and goes about the task of solving problems. In addition to showing how a child learns, assessments can be valuable in identifying Giftedness, as well as childhood clinical disorders including Specific Learning Disabilities, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders, Social-Communication Disorders, and any other social/emotional/behavioural or psychological problems. The most important result of a psychoeducational assessment is the comprehensive recommendations for home and school to increase your child’s chances of success in and out of school.
A thorough assessment often entails:
- Initial consultation to discuss ongoing issues and determine if a psychoeducational assessment is reasonable and necessary
- Parent interview to review the child’s developmental and medical history and current level of functioning
- Observation of child in natural setting (e.g., classroom, home)
- Psychometric testing to assess the child’s academic and reasoning skills, intellectual abilities, and executive functioning
- Depending on the child’s needs, additional areas may be evaluated, including memory, attention, impulsivity, language, motor and visual-spatial skills
- Assessment of the child’s social/emotional/behavioural functioning to better understand the child
- A comprehensive report including the results of the assessment and recommendations for any necessary school accommodations and at-home support strategies is provided
- Feedback session with the psychologist to review the results of the assessment, to discuss recommendations, and to address parent questions
- Schools recommend a psychoeducational reassessment every two to three years to monitor student progress