Obtaining an educational evaluation is a crucial step in getting help for a struggling student. Many questions can arise for people when they are thinking about having their child or themselves evaluated. Here, our evaluation team answers some of the questions that commonly arise early in this process.
Why should I consider an evaluation?
Not all students need an education evaluation. This process is designed to gain more information about students that are struggling in school. Through the evaluation process, light is shed on the particular academic areas that the student has difficulty with and, most importantly, the learning processes that may be causing the issues. This gives parents, teachers, and other professionals vital clues about the way a student learns and allows them to identify strategies that can help the student be more successful in school and life.
Will there be a diagnosis?
Sometimes an evaluation will indicate that a student meets the criteria for a particular diagnosis such as a reading or math disorder. When a student does not meet the criteria for a diagnosis, the evaluator will still provide recommendations based upon that student’s particular needs. Regardless of whether a diagnosis is made, evaluations provide great insight into the way a person thinks and learns.
Is there an ideal age for an educational evaluation?
For educational evaluations, it is recommended that the student be of school age. This allows for more accurate results. Other types of evaluations, such as those focused on speech and language or occupational, can be highly useful at any age.
Who should perform the evaluation?
Parents are often faced with the decision of having the school evaluate their child or an independent professional. Ultimately, the most important thing is that you find an evaluator who you trust, makes you feel comfortable, and communicates well. These are the things that will make the experience a positive one.
What exactly will the evaluation focus on?
Most professionals, including those here at QWERTY, will determine which tests to give a student based upon an intake interview with the parents (and sometimes teachers). In addition to a basic battery of tests to look at all of the important areas, if math is a particular concern, that student may be given more math-specific tests than a student who is struggling with reading. This can be a useful question to ask when trying to find the right person to evaluate a student. A professional who always gives the same set of tests to every student may miss something specific to a particular child.
What are the benefits of having an evaluation?
There can be many benefits to obtaining an evaluation. Here are a few:
- As discussed at length, gaining information on how the student learns can guide instruction and provide strategies to help with the students success.
- An evaluation can determine how serious the problem is and how much attention should be given. For example, is this something a few simple strategies can overcome, or should outside tutoring or therapy be sought.
- If an evaluation does demonstrate that the student is suffering from some sort of learning issue, it can qualify a student for accommodations that will help them circumvent their difficulties.
If an evaluation has already been performed, will it ever need to be done again?
This varies on an individual basis, but the answer is often, “yes.” Ongoing evaluation can be a useful tool to map progress, keep accommodations up to date, and determine if age and learning has changed anything about the student. For students applying to high schools and colleges, seeking any accommodations (extra time, note takers, etc.) will often require that an evaluation completed with the past three to five years be provided. Keeping evaluations current can be extremely useful.
If any of these questions or others arise, a member of the eavluation team at QWERTY would be happy to help you navigate what can sometimes be a confusing and cumbersome process. A great place to begin is on our evaluations page.