Learning about the different types of learning assessments and evaluations can give you clues as to what type of testing may benefit your child and help get to the root of their challenges or learning differences.
“Information is only useful when it can be understood.” -- Muriel Cooper
As a parent, you observe your child’s behavior in almost every possible environment, except for when they are at school. At school, your child is observed by their teachers and peers. Both parents and teachers make observations about a child that can reveal their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their ability to learn. When a learning difference or learning disability is suspected by a parent or teacher, a learning evaluation may be needed.
Learning evaluations, also called educational assessments or educational evaluations, are a series of tests and observations that provide insight on how a child learns and their current level of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Evaluations give professional clinicians the information they need to understand a child’s learning profile, diagnose a learning disability, and create the plan that will help a child overcome their learning differences.
There are six types of learning evaluations and assessments. The six types of learning evaluations include educational evaluation, neurodevelopmental evaluation, neuropsychological evaluation, occupational therapy evaluation, psychoeducational evaluation, and speech-language evaluation.
An educational evaluation is a set of standardized tests that measure a child’s ability in several academic skills. The assessment will determine if a student is behind equally in each academic area, or if there are specific challenges preventing that student from performing at their grade level in a specific topic. Educational evaluators typically have a master’s or doctoral degree in education or psychology, and evaluations take around 3-5 hours to complete.
Parallel Learning provides neurodevelopmental evaluations, also known as neurodevelopmental assessments or comprehensive learning assessments. A Parallel Learning comprehensive learning assessment identifies a student’s strengths and weaknesses, details why a student is struggling in specific learning areas, and allows for the diagnosis of disorders if deemed necessary. Information on why a student is struggling is unique to a neurodevelopmental evaluation, and a key to assisting a student in overcoming their challenges.
Neurodevelopmental evaluations utilize a framework of abilities to understand and explain learning issues. A neurodevelopmental evaluation has similar components to a psychoeducational assessment, and is conducted and interpreted by a trained clinician.
Parallel comprehensive learning assessments are in-depth and consist of multiple tests that take place over the course of several days. Learn more here!
A neuropsychological evaluation focuses on using the results of the assessment to determine what is happening within a child at an anatomical level. Neuropsychological evaluations, which are similar to neurodevelopmental assessments, are commonly used to investigate traumatic brain injuries and brain-related diseases, including strokes and tumors. Technological advances, including fMRI, are also used to investigate traumatic injuries and brain diseases.
From brushing teeth to coloring to putting puzzle pieces together, children are expected to complete countless activities that involve fine motor skills. When a child is struggling with these tasks, they may receive a referral for an Occupational Therapy (OT) evaluation.
Motor activities (eating, grooming, etc.) are addressed in Occupational Therapy. OT can improve a child’s fine motor skills, including graphomotor function, which is needed to control a pencil to properly form letters when writing. An occupational therapy evaluation takes approximately 2-4 hours and is conducted by a professional with a master’s degree.
A psychoeducational evaluation is centered around a child’s cognitive ability, processing, and academic skills. The psychoeducational assessment includes IQ tests and an achievement test, which covers math, reading, and writing. Additional tests, including evaluations to assess attention span and memory, may also be administered.
The goal of a psychoeducational evaluation is to diagnose a disorder if deemed necessary. A psychoeducational evaluation is conducted by an expert in education or psychology with a master’s or doctoral degree.
A speech-language assessment is an integral part of a neurodevelopment comprehensive learning assessment. Speech refers to articulation and language refers to understanding and communication. Speech-language evaluations dive deep into the communication skills of a student, including in the following areas:
Learning about the different types of learning assessments and evaluations can give you clues as to what type of testing may benefit your child and help get to the root of their challenges or learning differences. Determining if your child needs an assessment and what type of assessment they need may require the assistance of a professional. Here at Parallel Learning, we have Care Coordinators who are experienced and trained in helping to pair students with the correct assessment, giving you, your child, and their teachers the information and understanding needed to improve the learning environment and skillset of your child.