Learners and Parents

School Psychology

Formally Evaluating Strengths and Weaknesses

Evaluating a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses can be an important first step in identifying ways to improve academic performance. Different tests measure different areas of functioning, and tests are tailored for each age group. An educational evaluation is the basis for decisions about a child’s academic pathway . 

It is important to note that not every girl with TS will need to be formally assessed or require academic assistance! However, parents and schools may request testing for a variety of reasons. If a child has experienced an early history of developmental problems during infancy and/or preschool, evaluations should be conducted in the early elementary years. School evaluations for girls with TS should be conducted if the student begins to experience academic difficulties or if there are discrepancies observed between performance in different subject areas, such as excelling in reading and failing in mathematics.

Understanding the Process of Cognitive Assessment Evaluation for Academic Success 

Students are entitled to evaluations at no charge when the tests are administered by the school district in which they live. Private evaluations tend to be more extensive. Private evaluations often provide information for making specific instructional recommendations; the private evaluator has greater access to a variety of tests rather than being limited to those selected by the school. Private evaluations can be costly, but may be covered by insurance.

The private evaluator can make recommendations that are the most appropriate for that student rather than limiting the evaluations to those the school has available. Furthermore, the private evaluator can gain specific information that will allow for a description of a condition that may or may not be defined as a disability or determined to be eligible for services. Detailing the nature of the disability is nonetheless important in making instructional decisions.

Usually, information from a parent and/or school is used to determine which tests should be administered to an individual.  Both standardized (formal) and qualitative (informal) tools yield data that are necessary to answer important diagnostic questions. For example, if a student is struggling to read, a standardized achievement test alone may not provide enough information about why the student is having difficulty. 

A Standardized or Formal Evaluation is used to:

  • Gather norm-referenced data to determine how a student compares academically to peers
  • Establish a current level of performance
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Design an individual instructional plan

A Qualitative or Informal Assessment is used to:

  • Create or select an appropriate curriculum
  • Prescribe academic therapy to maximize strengths and support weaknesses

Learners and Parents

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