School is one of the most important aspects of a child’s life. Students are in school five days a week for approximately seven hours each day; that’s roughly 35 hours weekly spent in an educational setting! However, if you are a parent or caregiver, how do you know that your child is getting the most out of their learning? A question that commonly arises with school-aged children is whether an educational assessment would be beneficial. Dr. Marliss Meyer is a Registered Psychologist at Cornerstone Counselling and is here to explain the advantages of an assessment.
Educational assessments usually evaluate a child’s learning abilities, levels of skill development, and attentional/organizational skills. The information obtained from assessments is employed to plan educational programming so that supports can be provided where needed. If you are unsure where to begin in terms of assessments (i.e., what aspects of learning are challenging for my child?), a good place to start is with an intelligence or an achievement test. These tests address the student’s pattern of strengths and needs. After indicating areas where your child would benefit from assistance, support systems can be developed that will enhance the student’s learning.
A number of intelligence and achievement tests, as well as measures of executive functioning (organization and planning), are available for school-aged children and are designed to be child friendly. The most recognized assessment instruments examine a range of abilities including, but are not limited to:
- Verbal-motor processing
- Verbal ability and comprehension
- Visual-spatial problem solving
- Written expression
- Focus, concentration, and organization
Psychologists may employ different assessment tools, but all instruments are designed to provide insight into the learning abilities of the student. To further understand how to help your child, it is beneficial to determine the issues or challenges to be resolved. Your child would then be assessed in the specific areas of need such as language, concentration, reading, writing, or math. By focusing on specific areas of learning, underlying difficulties may be revealed, indicating where supports need to be provided. The assessments also indicate areas of strength, which provide a foundation for skill-building and achievement.
Blog post by Becca Alano, Volunteer.