Testing and Assessment 101 for Parents

Testing and Assessment 101 for Parents
Image of a woman sitting down speaking to a young boy.

Written By: Christina Tripodi Mitchell, PsyD, NCSP- Director of Psychological Testing and Evaluation

Now that the school year is well underway, teachers have gotten a chance to know their students. In some cases, this can bring about a referral for an assessment to better understand a student’s learning style if an underlying learning concern is suspected. At The Ross Center, some of the most frequent questions we get from parents regarding psychological testing are about the different “types” of evaluations that can take place in a school, or in a private practice. Oftentimes, parents may feel confused or overwhelmed about the different types of evaluation.

Below is a summary of some of the varied terminology you may hear when it comes to deciding whether to pursue an assessment in a school or a private practice setting:

  • “IEE” – This refers to an “Independent Educational Evaluation.” This type of testing generally takes place when the school team, or the parents, wish to have an outside practitioner conduct the assessment.
  • Psychoeducational Assessment – This type of assessment is generally school-based, and typically investigates a child’s intellectual and academic abilities.
  • Neuropsychological Assessment– Neuropsychological assessment is typically conducted in a clinical or medical setting. It assesses a child’s intellectual, academic, behavioral and visual-motor functioning, as well as attention and executive functioning. This type of assessment is more comprehensive than a psycho-educational assessment and is often required to guide diagnostic impressions.
  • Other types of assessment might include: Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Speech and Language evaluations. These are often referred to as “related services” and are typically also ordered when the school-based assessment process is initiated. They may be pursued through the school or privately.

Once the assessment is completed, parents will meet with the school team to decide the best course of action. In some instances, this might lead to the creation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) if the student meets the IDEA 2004 federal criteria for eligibility in one or more categories. If the team determines that the student is not eligible, alternative methods of intervention are discussed. Remember – parents are part of the school team! At The Ross Center, we offer a variety of assessment options, as indicated on our Testing and Assessments page. We are here to help with any questions or concerns you might have regarding this process. For more information, please Contact Us.

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