Understanding Different Types of Assessments
Interview with Linden's Lead Psychologist, Claire Delgadillo
Assessments are tools that help understand a student's unique learning profile. There are different types of assessments, each with their own focus and purpose. Last year, Linden conducted over 332 psychoeducational assessments and over 100 occupational and speech assessments for international school students around the world! We spoke with Claire Delgadillo, Linden's lead school psychologist and assessment coordinator, to learn more about the different types of assessments and their uses.
KAVI: What exactly is a psychoeducational assessment?
CLAIRE: A psychoeducational assessment can cover cognitive skills, academic skills, and social-emotional skills. Cognitive skills include memory, problem solving skills, visual understanding, and processing speed. Academic skills include reading, writing, and math. Social-emotional skills include anxiety and depression, adaptive skills, attention, and executive function.
KAVI: What are some of the reasons why parents or schools reach out to Linden for assessments?
CLAIRE: At times, parents or schools may reach out to us when a student is facing challenges in their academic performance. Although progress differs for everyone, if a student is struggling to identify letters while their peers have already begun reading simple sentences, there may be a deeper issue at hand. This is where assessments come in handy, as they can help identify underlying issues and pinpoint specific areas that need attention.
Another common reason for assessments is to help older students obtain accommodations such as extra time during standardized exams. With an official report, students can easily obtain the necessary accommodations and support they need to perform their best.
Sometimes, students may be struggling with their academic performance, but the reason isn't always obvious. For instance, a student may be very smart, but their academic work may not reflect it. Other signs to look out for include difficulty making friends, frequent sadness or anxiety, and struggling with attention and emotional regulation.
A psychoeducational assessment can be broad or specific, depending on the target skill. Throughout the assessment process, psychologists work closely with parents or guardians, the child, and their teachers to gain a thorough understanding of the child's functioning across different settings. The resulting report provides an interpretation of the testing results and recommendations for further support for the child.
KAVI: What is a speech and language assessment?
CLAIRE: A speech and language assessment assesses things like articulation, receptive language, expressive language, and pragmatics. If a child has a hard time expressing themselves or others around them can't understand them, consistently needs repetition to understand spoken language, can't speak at the age of 3 or 4, or isn't picking up their second language as well as their first language, then it's probably a good decision to seek out a speech and language assessment.
KAVI: And what is an occupational therapy assessment?
CLAIRE: An occupational therapy assessment includes gross motor and fine motor concerns, executive functioning, handwriting, and sensory needs. If a child has messy handwriting, struggles with cutting out a piece of paper, holding a scissor or pencils, constantly bumps into things and lacks awareness of the positioning of their body in space, or gets upset by specific sensory stimuli, such as loud noises or bright light, then an occupational therapy assessment can help identify the problem and provide support.
KAVI: How lengthy is the assessment process and where can one access them?
CLAIRE: The speech and language assessments, as well as occupational therapy assessments, are relatively shorter and can be done in one session, taking about 2 hours or so. Depending on the family's situation, they can take place online, in the office, or the child's school. However, psycho-educational assessments can take anywhere between 2-7 hours, depending on what we look at. If it is just for a standardized test accommodation, it likely takes 2-3 hours. But if the specialist suspects autism, then it is a much longer process because many aspects of the child's life and performance in different settings have to be assessed and analyzed.
In sum, assessments are valuable tools for understanding a student's learning profile. They can pinpoint specific areas of difficulty and provide recommendations for further support. If you are concerned about your child's progress in school or have noticed some of the signs mentioned above, it may be beneficial to seek out an assessment to identify and address the underlying issue.
At Linden Global Learning, we use state-of-the-art assessment tools to evaluate behavior, as well as cognitive, achievement, visual-motor, and language ability. This allows our psychoeducational specialists to have a complete picture of a student's unique learning profile. After the evaluation, we work with schools to implement learning strategies specially designed for your student.
To find out more about Linden's diagnostic assessments, click here.