Why is assessment important?
Assessment is important because of all the decisions you will have to make about your child. Teachers are also called upon every day to make decisions before, during, and after their teaching. Whereas some of these decisions may seem small and inconsequential, others will be critically important thus influencing the life course of your child. Assessment guides those decisions and may alter your child’s learning outcomes in a positive direction. Assessment should bring about benefits for children and their parents.
What is assessment?
Assessment should be tailored to a specific purpose and should be reliable, valid, and fair for that purpose. Assessment should be age appropriate in both content and the method of data collection. It should address the full range of early learning and development, including physical well-being and motor development; social and emotional development; approaches toward learning; language development; as well as cognitive functioning and fund of general knowledge.
Each child’s first- and second-language development should be taken into account when determining appropriate assessment methods and in interpreting the meaning of assessment results. Because of that, assessment should include multiple sources of evidence, especially reports from parents and teachers. Assessment results should be shared with parents as part of an ongoing process that involves parents in their child’s education.
What is the purpose of assessment?
Our assessment services cater to students with learning disabilities ranging in age between 6 and 18 for the purpose of:
- Identifying children’s special needs
- Determining appropriate placement
- Selecting appropriate curricula to meet children’s individual needs
- Referring children and, as appropriate, their families for additional services and programs
Why so many assessments?
Evaluators require multiple measures to ensure that they gain an accurate picture of a student’s performance compared with others at the same grade level. This process is essential because a student might not do well on a specific assessment due to performance anxiety or a learning disability, but an alternate measure might demonstrate that the student can function at grade level given certain conditions. Depending on an analysis of the presenting issues, our evaluators make relevant recommendations based on the results.
The evaluator usually administers a measure of intellectual functioning, WISC-V or Stanford- Binet, which assesses a student’s intelligence in a variety of areas, including linguistic and spatial intelligence. These are norm-based tests, meaning that student performance is measured against the performance of students at various grade levels. The questions are designed to help differentiate between students performing below grade level because of cognitive disabilities and those who do so for other types of reasons.
People who work with the child can provide information about the child’s academic performance and behavioral issues. Checklists are used as observational records that show a child’s performance over time and are typically completed by those individuals who are working most closely with the child on a regular basis such as teachers, parents, and other relevant individuals.
Developmental and Social History:
A historical record forms an essential component of the evaluation process. The evaluator in conjunction with the parents, pediatrician and school teachers help formulate this narrative assessment. They may fill out checklists, answer questions, participate in an interview or write a report addressing a child’s strengths, challenges and development (or lack thereof) over time. The focus here is on issues such as the child’s health history, developmental milestones, genetic factors, friendships, family relationships, hobbies, behavioral issues and academic performance.
Specialists such as speech pathologist, occupational therapist, in coordination with the child’s general practitioner use certain diagnostic measures for determining a child’s gross motor skills, fine manipulative skills, as well as hearing, sight, speech and language abilities.
Does your child get into trouble in class? Are trips to the principal’s office common but unproductive? If so, you might be curious about new ways to address your child’s behavior. Unless you understand what is driving the behavior it will be difficult to use appropriate strategies to shape it. It may be time to ask us to conduct a behavioral assessment. We use a variety of assessment tools to understand what’s behind inappropriate behaviors. This includes looking at non-academic factors that might be contributing to your child’s frustration with learning.
Educational Testing: Educational assessment is an integral part of learning, as it determines whether or not the goals of education are being met. Assessment affects decisions about grades, placement, advancement, instructional needs, and curriculum. Students with learning challenges have typically either failed to meet the academic demands of their regular educational institutions given behavioral issues that impede their ability to learn, or have special learning needs that the regular classroom environment cannot meet. The goal is to identify the students’ unique needs as they struggle to complete their educational requirements successfully.
Samples of Student Work: A folder of assignments, tests, homework and projects can provide a snapshot of a child’s abilities and challenges in performing grade-level work. A more nuanced portfolio, which may include a research project, a writing assignment with several drafts or samples of work throughout a thematic unit, affords the materials for an in-depth investigation of a child’s learning style, thought process and ability to engage in critical thinking tasks. These are used to further assess a child’s academic or cognitive functioning.
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