What to Look for in a Complete Educational Evaluation
Overall Intelligence: This refers to a child’s ability to reason, solve problems, and use cognitive processing. Common tests used to evaluate overall intelligence are: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - 4th ed. (WISC-4), Woodcock Johnson III: Test of Cognitive Abilities (WJ-III), Stanford Binet Intelligence Scales - 5th ed. (SB5).
Overall Achievement: These tests evaluate what the student has already achieved academically. These tests will evaluate reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Tests used to evaluate overall achievement are: Woodcock Johnson III: Tests of Achievement (WJ-III), Wechsler Individual Achievement Test III (WIAT-III), Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, 2nd ed. (KTEA-II).
Aptitude: These tests measure a student’s ability to learn. A great test that primarily focuses on aptitude is the Detroit Test of Learning Aptitude - 4th ed. (DTLA-4).
Language: These tests evaluate language usage and understanding. Some tests that evaluate language abilities are: Illinois Test of Psycho-Linguistic Abilities - 3rd ed. (ITPA-3), Test of Language Development IV (TOLD-4), and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - 4th ed. (PPVT-4).
Dyslexia: When testing for Dyslexia, a variety of the aforementioned tests are used to find discrepancies between oral language and written language as well as reading difficulties. Additionally, an excellent screening for Dyslexia is the Dyslexia Screening Test Junior (DST-J).
ADD/ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorders are frequently diagnosed using rating scales filled out by parents and educators. Observations of the child’s behavior by the evaluator are also considered important. An evaluator will also include memory and concentration tests. Some important rating scales used are: ADHDT: Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Test, SNAP-IV Teacher and Parent Rating Scales, and the Vanderbilt Assessment Scales for Teachers and Parents.
Visual/Motor/Auditory Skills: Testing in these areas is extremely helpful and gives great insight into student difficulties. An excellent test for visual/motor integration is the Developmental Test of Visual Perception - 2nd ed. (DTVP-2). When evaluating specific visual and auditory skills, the Wechsler Performance scales and Woodcock-Johnson III Cognitive tests will both detect potential difficulties in these areas.
Social/Emotional: While social and emotional skills aren’t necessarily a part of academic testing, it is always a good idea to include an evaluation on a child’s adaptive behavior. Like ADD/ADHD testing, assessments are based on rating scales and observations. Some excellent materials are: Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-2nd Ed. (Vineland II), the Woodcock Johnson Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised (SIB-R).
Once again, an educational evaluation may include any or many of these specific assessments. There are hundreds of others tests that can also be used to conduct the evaluation. It is important to find an evaluator that suits each family’s specific needs and one that provides a detailed and well-explained report. Once the evaluation has been conducted and explained, the family can move forward and seek out the support that their child needs to succeed!