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About Psycho-Educational Diagnostic Assessments

What is a Psycho-Educational Assessment?

A Psycho-Educational Assessment is an assessment that is used to make a Psycho-Educational (Psych-Ed) report.  This report focuses on assessing and interpreting educationally related psychological tests and educational tests.  The tests may include tests of intelligence, cognitive abilities, memory, achievement tests, and measures of behaviour.

Why do a Psych-Ed Report?

School and learning is  demanding and challening and It takes hard word and dedication to naviagate through primary and secondary school.  There are challenges that most students go through during their school life and this is to be expected. We all struggle at times to stay on task and complete them on time and within the criterion expectations.  Sometimes a student will continue to struggle academically despite putting in the time and best efforts. It can be frustrating and demotivating if you consistently fall short of the expected goals despite putting in a lot of hard work, time and effort.  If you cannot keep up at school and you do not understand why, find out if there is a specific learning difficulty that may be contributing to your difficulties.A Psych-Ed report summarizes recommendations that can be relevant and helpful for educational planning in the school setting.  It can contribute to important decisions regarding identification of Specific Learning difficulties (SpLD) for a student and may impact placement of the student in Special Educational needs classes.   It may also suggest further exploration of  behavioural, socio-emotional, and medical issues.

A Psych-Ed report is designed to answer these types of questions:

-Does the student have a learning disability, developmental disability or attentional problems?

-What are the student’s academic and cognitive abilities, strengths, and weaknesses?

Definition of a Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD)

According to the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (2013), a Specific Learning Disorder refers to a persistent difficulty learning and using academic skills related to reading, spelling, writing and math.  Rosemary Tannock of The International Dyslexia Association adds that an SpLD impedes the ability to learn or use specific academic skills (e.g., reading, writing, or arithmetic), which are the foundation for other academic learning. The learning difficulties are ‘unexpected’ in that other aspects of development seem to be fine.  Learning Disabilities refers to disorders that affect the acquisition, retention, understanding, organization or use of verbal and/or non-verbal information (Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario, 2015).  The LDAO goes on to say that these disorders result from impairments in one or more psychological processes related to learning, in combination with otherwise average abilities essential for thinking and reasoning.  Psychological Processes such as thinking, remembering, problem solving, reasoning etc. occur while we perform any kind of activity.

Most important is the notification that the testing and it's results is indicative of this moment in time and it's validity is representative as such.  

List of Assessment Techniques

This includes the types of tests used and/or checklists administered.

Behavioural Observations

Cognitive Ability and Memory Skills

The Basic Components of Psycho-Educational Reports

Background Information

This inludes an overview of the student’s personal, educational, development and/or medical history.  It can include previous educational interventions.

General Statements

Observations of the student's behavioural patterns at home and in the school setting may be gathered through questionnaires filled out by people who are in close contact with the student.  Observation of the student by the assessor may be carried out if possible.

Examiners administer tests to determine how a student learns. In addition to collecting scores, this area of testing will also give the examiner the opportunity to see how a student approaches problem solving. ●    Verbal Comprehension ●    Short-Term Auditory Memory ●    Long-Term Verbal Memory and Learning ●    Working Memory ●    Perceptual Reasoning (visual-spatial organization, nonverbal reasoning) ●    Visual memory ●    Visual-Motor Coordination ●    Processing Speed (processing and responding to information)

Academic Functioning

Academic assessments, sometimes called achievement assessments are designed to determine the student’s degree of knowledge and proficiency in a specific area or set of areas.  It helps examiners understand a student’s academic strengths and weaknesses. Examiners will assign tasks related to: ●    reading ●    writing ●    spelling ●    mathematics

Attention and Behaviour

The student's attention, behaviour, attitude and/or stamina during the assessment will be noted.

Summary of Results

This is a summary of the interpretation of the results found during the assessment of all components measured.  It highlights the student's strengths, challenges and how the student best learns.  It includes Executive Functioning Skills. “Executive function” is a term used to describe the many different cognitive processes that students use to control their behavior and to connect past experience with present action.  Students rely on executive functions to perform activities such as: ●    planning ●    organizing ●    strategizing ●    paying attention to and remembering details ●    managing time and space

Conclusions and Recommendations

The conclusion of the report highlights important information within the report and states the diagnostic outcome of the Psycho-Educational Assessment.  Recommendations are made to promote student learning at school, taking into consideration the student's areas of strength and challenges.

Statement of Confidentiality

The Statement of Confidentiality is included in the General Statements, as well as being marked on each page of the report.

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