What Does Your Child’s Educational Evaluation Really Tell You?
- What do your child’s tests really tell you?
- What is actually being tested?
- What are the underlying functions necessary to perform well on the test?
- Are those (bottom-up) functions/processes working properly?
Sequence of Assessment: Bottoms-Up
These are the entryway into the brain for learning and should be your starting point.
If a child diagnosed with a hearing loss was then given an academic test without the IEP mandated accommodations, the results of that test would be considered invalid.
This makes sense, if you can’t fully hear the test being administered then the scores don’t reflect your capability with the test content.
What about all those children with an undiagnosed hearing loss?
Or those child who have an auditory processing disorder?
How would that impact test results for an auditorily administered test?
Are you really testing the language or cognitive skills you think you are testing if the child cannot properly hear the test instructions and materials?
It is important to remember that even if your child had a hearing screening, this is insufficient if your child is struggling (learn why here)
What the Scores Say
The scores tell the school if the child has enough of a gap to justify the expense of support services.
The scores will tell you in which academic area this child qualified for services.
What The Scores Don’t Say
What may not be explained to you, is when a child’s struggle is real, but not severe enough to allow for the school to provide the support. A child score as low as the bottom 17% in a specific function and not qualify for services because they are “only” 1 standard deviation away from the average student.
Or your child may only get supports in those areas in which they scored poorly enough.
For example, a child who struggles with writing, due a combination of a language deficit and a handwriting issue. This child may receive support services only for the language part, because they scored poorly enough to warrant services, while not receiving support for the handwriting piece because they did not do poorly enough. But perhaps the graphomotor struggle is taking away from the energy and attention this child has available to allow for focus on the language portion?
The scores don’t tell you what is causing the struggle, but the pattern of error might give a clue.
You Need Patterns and Scores
The scores don’t share the errors, but looking at the actual errors can often identify a pattern. This in turn identifies where to target remediation, and can suggest what is causing this child to struggle.