What is a Psychoeducational Evaluation?
- The term “psychoeducational evaluation” is used to describe a comprehensive assessment of a student’s cognitive (thinking) and academic/achievement skills.
- Other areas of adjustment are sometimes examined, such as attention/concentration, emotional adjustment (e.g., anxiety or depression), and behavioral issues.
- It is not a single test. A battery of tests is selected based on the primary referral questions and the child’s age. The two batteries regularly included are a cognitive battery (commonly known as an “IQ test”), as well as an academic achievement battery (an assessment of core areas of achievement, such as reading, written language, mathematics, oral language and spelling).
- A comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation will help identify specific processing strengths and weaknesses, to assist in the development of educational support plans.
How can I tell when one is necessary?
- Classroom teachers often identify when a student is struggling with learning/achievement. While it is possible that a student may be “underachieving” and occasionally shows greater learning potential, if this pattern of poor performance were to continue for numerous months a more thorough investigation of learning issues is probably indicated.
- If a student complains about not “understanding” or struggling to keep up with daily workloads, this may indicate to the parent that learning/achievement issues require further examination.
- When grade level achievement is reported to be more than one grade level behind in a certain area (such as reading, written language or math), further assessment is helpful to clarify whether there is a specific learning disability.
- If the child seems to show exceptional abilities in specific areas, an assessment for giftedness may be indicated. Children who are gifted may also show specific weaknesses, indicative of a specific learning disability.
What makes a “good” psychoeducational evaluation?
- Although evaluations typically begin with two major batteries (cognitive/thinking skills and academic skills), a “good” evaluation extends beyond the administration of these two instruments. A “selective assessment” process is often required whereby specific areas are evaluated, based on the initial results. For example, large test batteries only assess certain types of memory; further evaluation of specific memory functions may be required to understand “breakdown” points that occur in learning and, most importantly, how to support the student.
- It is always important to obtain input from both the home and school settings. With older children, efforts are made to obtain a perspective of their learning strengths and challenges.
- The outcome is a detailed report (minimum 10-12 pages), including a substantial list of specific recommendations for school learning as well as support at home.
How long does this take?
- being the case, a psychoeducational evaluation usually requires 5-to-8 hours of assessment. There is a 4-hour report writing and parent feedback session fee required for a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation.
Ken has access to an extensive test library and has many years of experience consulting with school systems and educators. Accordingly, the consumer can be assured that assessment activities are sufficient in scope and are appropriately tailored to the needs of the child.
Screening assessments for social-emotional and developmental concerns
The diagnosis of certain developmental issues requires a multi-disciplinary assessment approach, including evaluations through the disciplines of Psychiatry, Speech Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Special Education, and Physical Therapy. In many cases, a psychological screening assists other professionals in arriving at the most appropriate diagnostic formulation. In other cases, the screening helps “rule-out” specific concerns so that treatment plans can be appropriately drafted and applied.
Ken has numerous years of experience working within mutli-disciplinary teams. Parents are welcomed to inquire about screening assessments for social-emotional and neurodevelopmental issues such as:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Developmental Coordination Disorder
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Selective Mutism