Educational Psychology Assessment
What Is An Educational psychology Assessment?
An educational psychology assessment involves a series of different activities to help identify a child’s or a young person’s specific learning style, strengths and areas of need. This knowledge helps to generate suitable recommendations for teachers, parents and other professionals that are used to meet those learning needs of school aged children and teenagers.
The one-on-one assessment setting provides an opportunity to gather information about a child’s behaviours, attitudes, attention, concentration, all of which are likely to impact on and influence learning. These factors can influence motivation and the desire to accept and approach a challenge. It also affects the manner in which a child/young person approaches a task as well as the manner in which they structure their responses.
What Is A Learning Profile?
The learning profile generated by an assessment conveys a great deal of information about a child/young person, both educationally and behaviorally. Firstly, the assessment generates scores known as IQ scores. These can also be regarded as estimates of the cognitive ability and can be used to help understand and predict how a child/young person will function in a school context.
Secondly, observations can increase understanding as to how a child/young person approaches tasks, reacts to failure and praise, and their general attitude towards learning. Understanding the findings of a cognitive assessment and following the given recommendations assists teachers, parents and other specialists in better understanding a child/young person’s cognitive profile.
In general, an IQ assessment can be used to:
- Gain a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the child’s/young person’s strengths and needs.
- Determine if a child/young person is reaching their learning potential.
- Assess and understand fluctuations in concentration and attention levels.
- In collaboration with other appropriate assessments, diagnose specific learning problems.
The cognitive assessment will measure various processing areas. For example, Verbal ability, Nonverbal ability, Processing Speed, and Working Memory. The score in each area will indicate ability in the various areas measured.
What Assessment Tools Are Used?
The main assessment used to measure general cognitive abilities is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition (WISC-IV). WISC-IV provides information about a child’s/young person’s general IQ (or intelligence) as well as specific areas of intellectual strengths and needs. It is the particular areas of strengths and needs (the learning profile) that reveals the most helpful information as opposed to just getting a general IQ score.
Alongside measures of cognitive ability, the assessment also includes measures of academic attainment and any other specific tests that might be necessary (such as standardised measures of attention, phonological processing, visual motor integration, memory etc). The decision of what tests to use will be based on the difficulties identified by all informants and by observations during testing. Understanding of language, reading and writing levels and language comprehension are also examined.
It’s important to keep in mind that interpretation of results will not be made based solely on the variations (also referred to as “scatter”) among the test scores. The test results will be integrated with all the other relevant information into a comprehensive report with specific recommendations for school, family and any other relevant professionals or bodies involved. Understanding test and subtest scores will enable us to gain clues to your child’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses.
This understanding will help you plan learning activities that build upon specific intellectual strengths to compensate for learning problems, and help develop confidence and competence as a learner. A short summary synthetizing the main findings and key recommendations will also be provided to help make sense of the detailed results and interpretations in the main report.
How Long Will The Assessment Take?
The assessment will take 3-3.5 hours of testing and will include a battery of widely used and clinically sensitive standardised instruments. The time a child/young person takes to complete the assessment varies according to a multitude of factors such as attentional ability, motivation, anxiety etc.
Following an assessment, other assessments may be recommended to examine other possible concerns. These assessments may include: