What is a Psycho-Educational Evaluation?
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 they 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 Psycho-Educational Evaluations as one way to track student progress.
Tips for Preparing for Psycho-Educational 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 their needs when the students mainstream, require more time for test-taking (e.g. SAT), or attend 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 a 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 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