Assessments ages 7 (second half of 1st grade) through adult
Every student is unique. Academic assessments give parents and educators insight to a students strengths and weakness, and offer solutions in the best approach to helping a struggling learners age 7 and up. When it is not certain to what extent or intensity is necessary for intervention, assessments provide a more detailed look at the issues behind the symptoms. Assessments are recommended but not necessary to begin intervetnion.
Slingerland Screening for Identifying Children and Adults with Specific Language Disability
Screening is often the first place to start. Less intrusive to the student and cost-effective, the Slingerland Screening can point to a need for intervention and accommodations. The Slingerland Screening may be accepted for a 504 plan of accommodations.
The Slingerland Screening was devised to identify people within a grade level or group who demonstrate speaking, reading, spelling, or writing behaviors indicative of a specific language disability or dyslexia. This screening is helpful when a student is under-performing expectations in school, and the reason is not apparent. Screening tasks involve various combinations of visual and auditory perception, discrimination, and memory. Additionally, some tasks are integrated with kinesthetic-motor modality for written output. Research and practice have supported the validity and usefulness of this screening. The Slingerland Screening can be used across intelligence levels and with second language learners. Results can be used to identify students who would benefit from multisensory structured language instruction. The Slingerland Screening helps determine which accommodations would best assist the individual student in class or adults in the workplace.
Formal Reading Assessment
The purpose of a formal reading assessment is "to assess overall achievement, to compare a student's performance with others at their age or grade, or to identify comparable strengths and weaknesses with peers" (Weaver, 2007). A formal assessment is the best choice when parents are confident their child is struggling to read and to pinpoint a specific need for intervention. Standardized scores allow a means to measure a student's personal growth in intervention. The above screening is recommended if the goal is to identify dyslexia.
I use a variety of sub-tests from formal measures, along with informal means, to assess a student's strengths and weaknesses in language against a standardized population. Phonological awareness, listening comprehension, expressive vocabulary, sound-symbol association, word identification, spelling, word attack, rapid automatic naming, oral reading fluency (rate and accuracy), word comprehension, and passage comprehension, experts agree, play essential roles in identifying impaired readers or those with dyslexia. Conclusions and recommendations will be based on a compilation of suggestions from experts for a general population and my own expertise. A detailed report is provided, usually 6 - 8 pages. Testing can take 1.5 - 3 hours, over 1 - 2 sessions.
Full Academic Assessment
A formal assessment is best when a student is home-schooled or attending a private school. If attending public school, parents are encouraged to request their children be evaluated for special education services through a written request. Public schools rarely take private reports for an individual education plan. See the Slingerland Screening (above) for a cost-effective way for parents to know if dyslexia is present and if they should move forward with the school for further testing.
Using the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, 3rd Edition, along with other formal/informal tools, this evaluation looks at the student's current academic strengths and weaknesses, including math and writing. The Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement is an educational tool for children, measuring such areas as math, reading, written language, and oral language. The results of this evaluation help determine a plan for intervention. Conclusions and recommendations will be based on a compilation of suggestions from experts for a general population and my own expertise. A detailed report is provided, usually 7-9 pages. Testing can take 2.5 - 4.5 hours over 2 - 3 sessions.