What Is a Psycho-Educational Assessment?

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There are many reasons why people may seek a psychological evaluation: a few examples include issues with learning, behavior, injury, health, emotional issues, and developmental issues. One type of psychological assessment is called a psycho-educational or educational assessment. An educational assessment, for instance, investigates academic skill development and learning potential. A licensed psychologist or psychological associate who is registered with the College of Psychologists in their province must conduct any kind of psychological assessment.

Simply put, a psychologist must determine a person’s abilities and compare them to their academic performance during an educational assessment. Predicting that a person with an average intelligence will finish academic tasks like math, spelling, reading, and writing within the average range is common sense. Using testing, clinical observation, and statistical analysis, a psychologist will determine whether a client’s intelligence matches their academic performance.

Okay, what happens if you have average intelligence but are weaker than expected in one academic area? The interesting part begins now: what prevents the person from performing at their level of intelligence? Problems with visual or verbal memory could be the cause. It’s possible that their brain is unable to quickly track and scan written text. They may have been told they don’t pay attention, but their brains aren’t as good at processing verbal information as other people’s. On the other hand, it may be extremely challenging for a person to begin a task, plan and organize it, and monitor their performance as they progress. The truth is that a person’s cognitive potential is not being realized for many different reasons.

Why would someone require an educational evaluation?

The responses to this question are pretty straightforward. A qualified psychologist or psychological associate’s educational assessment may officially establish the need for a school program that is specifically tailored to the student’s learning style. You can determine a student’s current academic strengths and needs if you know their potential for learning and level of achievement. The fact of the matter is that a school psychologist frequently holds the position of gatekeeper to special services and academic support within a public school system and is the key to understanding the foundation of the student’s difficulties.

When will I know if an educational assessment is required for me or my child?

In some areas of development, delays are sometimes immediately apparent. For instance, if your child is acquiring language or fine motor skills at a slower rate than other children, he may require an educational evaluation at some point. If he struggles to adhere to routines or instructions at home or in daycare, you might want to pay closer attention to his development. If your child starts school and has trouble learning numbers, the alphabet, the days of the week, colors, and shapes, keep in touch with his teacher to see how he’s doing. If your child seems extremely restless, is easy to distract, or has trouble interacting with peers, he may have attentional or behavioral issues that need to be evaluated in the future.

Maybe a parent has noticed that their child is having trouble in school. Parents are frequently notified by a teacher when their child is struggling to perform at the same level as other students in their class despite their best efforts. Sometimes, the child is the one who tells the teacher or the parent that they are having a hard time with their schoolwork. A child’s academic performance should be monitored if they cry over homework, repeatedly ask a teacher to go over the same work, or show low self-esteem because they fear they are “not smart.”

It’s important to remember that not everyone who wants an educational assessment is a child. While acknowledging that they had some earlier learning difficulties as children, an adult may choose to complete academic upgrading or apply as a mature student to a college or university. Because there is now more modern scientific knowledge about learning disabilities and they hope that more sophisticated assistance will be available, many adults in this situation decide to investigate their learning style. These kids knew they were smart and capable as kids, but they couldn’t read as quickly as the other kids in their class and had trouble with math and writing. This adult has decided that if they learn more about how they learn, they could succeed.

Step by step: Find a psychologist in your area who conducts educational assessments. A psychologist can be found on the internet, through the College of Psychologists of Ontario, or through another provincial regulatory body. An appropriate referral for an educational assessment may be made by your child’s school or pediatrician. Set up a time to visit the office of a psychologist who specializes in school psychology and consult with them. In order to determine whether or not their child requires an educational assessment, it is best for parents to meet for an interview lasting one hour. It is not a good idea to bring your child to this first meeting. If their child is not present, parents will always express their concerns more clearly. More importantly, the child will not be harmed by reports from their teacher or parents’ concerns. If the appointment is for a person over the age of 18, they typically attend the intake interview by themselves.

What should I say to my teen or child about getting an education assessment?

Any client, regardless of age, should be aware that an educational assessment can help them improve their academic weaknesses by identifying their strengths. Focus on the positive aspects of the upcoming experience. “You are going to meet a person who likes people find out what they are really good at,” for instance. When they do, they assist you in improving your understanding of a subject that is extremely difficult for you.

When an educational assessment begins, what can I anticipate for myself or my child?

After the intake session, you or your child can anticipate participating in a number of testing or assessment sessions. A psychologist will almost always request that test sessions take place earlier rather than later in the day. This is because after a good night’s sleep, people perform best earlier in the day. This is especially true in cases where attentional issues are suspected.

Keep in mind that a psychologist wants to learn more about your intelligence or abilities. A significant step is this one. As a result, a simple first step is to take an intelligence test that measures how well you perform in comparison to others exactly your age. The psychologist will want to know more about how your brain processes information once this is finished. Could you, for instance, tell a story over and over again? What about the same narrative after thirty minutes? How about a pattern or image? Could you recall that as well or better than the story? Was it easy for the client’s brain to process what he or she heard? The psychologist will eventually want to know how and what you learned in school. Tests in reading, listening, math, spelling, writing, and grammar will undoubtedly follow.

An educational assessment requires a lot of labor; that’s certain. After the testing is finished, the psychologist probably wants to talk to the child’s teacher over the phone or ask the teacher to fill out some questionnaires that could give the assessment more information. Parents will be asked to bring copies of the child’s previous report cards or complete hearing and vision tests by the psychologist.

The psychologist will begin scoring the tests, reading the documents provided by parents and teachers, and interpreting the findings once all the evidence has been gathered. They will begin writing the report to present to parents and the school as soon as the evidence becomes clear to the psychologist and the difficulties, if any, are identified.

Arriving for the feedback session… Occasionally, parents anticipate the assessment results and feel relieved that their child can now begin receiving the necessary academic support and enhance their school experience. Other times, parents worry that the results will confirm their worst fears—that their child will be diagnosed with a learning disability or another condition. Sometimes, parents need some time to process the loss of their child’s dream of carefree, easy school days.

Parents may wish to meet with the psychologist more than once, especially if the clinic provides services that are beyond the budget or time of a school.

Recommendations in the Educational Assessment The recommendations that can assist school personnel in determining whether a student will be identified as an exceptional learner or not are an essential component of the educational assessment. The deficits in learning and ways to accommodate the student’s particular learning style will be addressed in the recommendations. The educational assessment’s primary objective is to offer educationally relevant recommendations to the student, their parents, and ultimately the teacher.

Take into consideration a few of the recommendations that are made specifically for children who struggle with reading: A young child who struggles to comprehend the sounds that letters or groups of letters make may have significant difficulty learning to read. This is especially true if the child also has trouble “coding” or storing this information in their long-term memory and retrieving it when they need it. This child may benefit from extensive phonological skill-building instruction, shared reading experiences, training in phonemic awareness, and organized, explicit phonics decoding instruction and practice. Individualized reading instruction with an emphasis on comprehension and meaning construction could be beneficial for the child.

Timed drills in math facts might help a different client who processes information slowly recall and retrieve facts faster. Accommodations such as extended time, taped reading presentations, shorter or altered assignments, and the division of large tasks into smaller ones are examples of other types of recommendations.

In the end, the client’s academic needs should be the focus of the psychologist’s recommendations, which should be clearly established during the educational assessment.

What will an Educational Assessment teach you?

To summarize, it is not that a person cannot learn; rather, it is that they may simply learn differently, and that is acceptable.