A Psycho-Educational Evaluation is a comprehensive and systematic group of tests given by a licensed professional such as a school psychologist. The evaluation investigates a variety of cognitive functions, and helps us understand the way a child learns. A Psycho-Educational Evaluation can tell parents and teachers which types of academic settings will be most successful for a child, and which will be least successful. The evaluation also considers learning variations and learning strengths, and can be very helpful when planning a child’s education. It can assist in identifying the best learning techniques to employ, both at school and at home. Chartwell also uses third-party Psycho-Educational Evaluations as one way to help parents objectively track student progress independent from his or her current school placement.
Tips for Preparing for PsychoEducational Referrals:
#1 Tip: Focus on collaborative efforts. Educators, parents, administrators, and other key players in the student's environment should be included in the discussion of what happens next. Consent alone is not considered to be collaboration. Remember that the Psycho-Educational assessment:
is administered on one day of the student’s life at a specific time and place. A test provides a snapshot or sample of the student’s behavior on that given day so that educators, parents, and other key players who plan for a student’s intervention are able to generalize from the observed behavior what might happen for the student in a non-testing situation.
is most predictive when there are multiple evaluations over multiple school years so that results are observable over time and allow a trained professional to see the long-term trends affecting a student’s educational progress.
is to assist in ongoing assessment of the student’s needs and strengths. The document will be a lifelong reference for student services and for accommodating the student’s needs when he or she mainstreams, requires more time for test-taking (e.g. SAT), or attends college.
might suggest skill level areas (e.g. decoding) of weakness or strength in the sub test scores. Be sure to inquire about the sub tests listed for those and other areas of achievement.
must describe the problem in observable measurable terms.
should be linked with goals. The data and hypothesis develop the goals for the intervention. Goals and interventions should be planned so that they can be implemented and have a high probability of success. The areas of intervention and goals must be consistent with regard to the problem identified. The goals should be stated in explicit, measurable terms.
should be as current as possible, and updated roughly every two to three years. This way, all program recommendations can accurately reflect up-to-date changes in the child’s learning profile. The evaluator should:
focus on describing the presenting problem or referral question.
provide error pattern analysis and not just score analysis. The evaluator thus makes recommendations based on the meaning of assessment results that are most relevant and likely to benefit the student.
briefly describe the current level of performance and the expected level.
describe data as it directly relates to the identified problem. A baseline of data and the outcome data should be collected and compared by the evaluator.
summarize the assessment methods used. The summary should provide additional, clarifying information about the identified problem. It should be directly related to seeking answers to the identified problem.
discuss hypotheses of the possible reasons for the problem and its occurrence. The evaluator should present reasons about "why" the behavior happens and consider factors contributing to the problem. Interventions can only be developed when hypotheses are developed.
as much as possible be independent of the program placement recommended.
1. The information above is drawn, in part, from: National Association of School Psychologists, (2000), Preparing your case study for the NCSP application: Tips for applicants. Retrieved January 15, 2003 from http://www.nasponline.org/certification/casestudy_tips.html
It is a sad fact that students in the United States are falling behind in the study of mathematics. "Everybody Counts: A Report to the Nation on the Future of Mathematics Education" from The National Research Council found that only half of the nation's students take more than two years of high school level mathematics. Most leave high school without the mathematical skills needed to meet the expectations of college level mathematics and today's jobs. In December 2011, an international assessment indicated that fifteen-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 25th among peers from 34 countries in math proficiency. Since many of our current jobs require expertise in the field of math, there is much debate about why U.S. students are lagging and what we can do. Here is a brief look at some topics that may be helpful for parents: math standards, what other countries are doing, what parents can do, and what schools can do.
Standards are a way to define what should be mastered in a student's mathematical career. The United States has a de-centralized educational system so each state can develop its own standards. Recently, many states have modeled programs on the standards developed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (see www.nctm.org).
One reason that teachers find math standards difficult to implement is that not all students can each specific skill in the limited time allotted for teaching that skill. For example, if fifth graders must master the four operations with fractions (a developmentally appropriate skill), they may only have three weeks to master these skills. Yet many students need additional time to practice. Consequently, many students fall behind and never catch up. Teachers often lack time to assess each student for specific skilldeficits and to remediate key issues. Math is cumulative, so if a student misses fundamental skills in the beginning, future new concepts get added to a rather unstable foundation.
It is important to make careful comparisons with countries whose students are outscoring U.S. children. Educators in the United States are often criticized for having a curriculum that is “a mile wide and an inch deep,” meaning too much material is being covered without concepts being studied in depth. To make matters worse, poor performance in mathematics has almost become socially acceptable in this country. Many in the U.S. tend to falsely assume that differences in mathematics achievement are due to differences in innate ability. However, countries such as Singapore spend much more time on key subjects, giving students ample time to practice. Longer school years in other countries also contribute to higher math scores. U.S. and Californiastandards are strong, but we often don’t have enough time in a school day to ensure that every child masters every concept.
The solution starts at home. Sixty percent of our students who enter community college require remedial math! This illustrates that the problem begins in elementary school. Fortunately, this is a time when parents can help their children see math as a normal part of everyday life, and also as a source of fun and play. Here are some suggestions for helping your kids develop a love for math:
We can also be alert to areas where problems may arise for our children as they attempt to learn key math concepts.
Math Vocabulary & Symbols ― Case in point: Mathematics has a vocabulary that is specific, and many teachers and students struggle with this aspect of the curriculum. For example, is subtraction "take-away," "minus," "less than," or "finding the difference"? Math textbooks will often use one term and teachers supplement with other materials that use different terms. This can cause confusion, so help your child understand which terms are preferred, as well as the meaning of less familiar terms, as they arise. Check with your child's teacher if you yourself are not sure.
Symbols, too, can be challenging and they change over the course of a student's mathematical career. When you are in elementary school, the sign for multiplication is an "x." When you get into high school, it becomes a dot or a set of parentheses. On computers, it is often an asterisk, and some exams use that symbol. Experienced teachers point out these challenges because they know they can cause frustration.
Curriculum Changes ― Teachers in public schools must use state approved textbooks in their classrooms. Some districts change textbooks every 2-4 years, which means the teachers must learn to use a new curriculum that often focuses on different techniques. A new teacher who does not have the best confidence in his or her ability to do math, using a new textbook that illustrates techniques not previously used, trying to teach a class of 30 students with minimal support, might have the best intentions. Even so, over the course of a full academic year, some aspects of math concepts could be skipped or presented less fully.
What can we do? If you suspect your child is falling behind in math, don't wait until the problem gets worse. Talk to your child's teacher immediately and discuss a strategy for support. Until we, as a state or a nation, decide that it is better to learn mathematical concepts in depth, as opposed to spending only one or two days on each key concept, the fear is that we will remain a nation that is not meeting the demands of this twenty-first century. Parents should discuss these issues at school board meetings and with their principals.
Math Specialists ― When budgets permit, some schools have hired elementary math specialists who demonstrate a passion and expertise for teaching students in ways others cannot. This may seem unusual at first, but it is not much different from the practice of hiring specialists to teach music, art and physical education, as is done now at the elementary and middle school levels. An inspired, enthusiastic teacher who knows and loves a subject can often find even more ways to help students succeed and enjoy the subject, too.
If you suspect your child is falling behind in math, here are some things you can do: