Assessing Students

Here at Learning Support we do not provide educational psychologist assessments. We do however have a list of some people we know to be great assessors who write clear and detailed reports about the students they assess. You can see the list of psychologists we recommend on our GRADE C ASSESSORS page 

Below is an interview with Sally Britton, who answers some questions about getting an educational diagnostic assesment done for your child. 

educational Assessments For Students With Learning Difficulties

Sally Britton, Master of Education
NZCER registered assessor, SPELD registered assessor

I am often approached by parents concerned and frustrated by the struggles their son or daughter faces at school. Learning difficulties often affect confidence, behaviour and sometimes relationships with others.

Whatever the reason for these learning difficulties, finding out more about the causes and how best to support the student will lead to improved self-esteem and educational outcomes.

A psycho-educational assessment is an important step in finding out more about your child’s learning difficulties.

What Is A Psycho-educational Assessment?

A psycho-educational assessment provides information on:

  • Intellectual ability
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Educational achievement levels.

The assessment is designed to answer these questions:

  • Does the student have a specific learning difficulty, for example, dyslexia?
  • Are attentional difficulties the cause of learning difficulties or delays?
  • What are the student’s cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are the appropriate educational recommendations?
  • Are learning difficulties causing behavioural and emotional problems?

When Should A Specific Learning Difficulty Be Suspected?

  • When the learning difficulty is unexpected.
  • When the learning difficulty is persistent.
  • When the student has strengths in some areas but difficulty in others.
  • How can I get an assessment?

Assessments are available from registered assessors. Students can be referred for an assessment by schools or by parents. Sometimes referrals are made by doctors or other medical professionals. In the case of adults, self-referral or referrals from an employer are accepted. Under achievement is usually the major concern. Reading, spelling and often maths will be implicated.

What Should I Expect From An Assessment?

An assessment will take approximately 3 hours. It involves the student completing a range of activities with the assessor so they can begin building a picture of your child and their strengths and weaknesses. A report will be written based on the assessment session and will also include information gathered from discusssions/written feedback with parents, teachers and any other people involved in the child's life. 

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