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5 Commonly Asked Questions About Psychoeducational Assessments

October 2, 2020

Introduction

Going back to school this year has been a challenge. We are all spending more time in front of screens to learn, communicate, and navigate our world. For some, learning from home has been fantastic, but for others it has really highlighted their need for support. How can we identify specific learning needs and communicate them to our schools? This blog post will discuss how psychoeducational assessments can shed light on learning differences and how to support our loved ones.

What is a Psychoeducational Assessment?
A psychoeducational assessment focuses on understanding a person’s cognitive skills and abilities and understanding how well they are able to demonstrate their intelligence in an academic setting. The purpose of the assessment (testing, questionnaires, as well as clinical observation and clinical interviewing) is to identify the following: intellectual giftedness, learning disabilities, developmental delays, behavioural issues, mood or emotional concerns, and social issues.

What are the steps of a Psychoeducational Assessment?
A psychoeducational assessment consists of four major parts: intelligence testing, achievement testing, as well as clinical observation and clinical interviewing. The purpose of intelligence testing is to understand a person’s general intellectual ability and compare them to age and gender norms. For example if a person’s intelligence score, called a Full Scale Intelligence Quotient (FSIQ), is in the 80th percentile, it means that the child’s intelligence is generally higher than 80% of children their age. Achievement testing is conducted to understand how well a person’s intelligence is being expressed in components of reading, writing, math, and oral language. If a person’s achievement score is significantly lower when compared to their intelligence score, it is up to the psychologist to figure out why and how best to bridge this gap. Both intelligence and achievement testing can be done separately if requested. The clinical interviewing in combination with clinical observations aims to tease out background, medical, and developmental history to aid in identifying the origins of struggles or symptoms.

What are the benefits of a Psychoeducational Assessment?
It is very difficult to support someone when you do not know what the root cause of the problem is. A psychoeducational assessment can help parents and loved ones understand in what specific areas of intelligence or achievement the issue is occurring. Identifying a mental health concern such as ADHD or a Learning Disability can narrow down how they person should be supported. A psychologist can then make specific recommendations on how the person needs to be supported to meet their full potential.

Who should consider it?
Psychoeducational Assessments are most commonly conducted for children as young as 6 years old as well as people who are in middle to high school. The earlier an assessment can be done, the more support they can receive in these critical years. Adults should also consider an assessment if they are struggling to meet the demands of college, university, or the workplace. Often educators and support staff at the school may identify that the child may have an exceptionality and suggest a formal assessment to determine how to best provide support.

How This Assessment Be Used?
Adolescents and young adults complete a psychoeducational assessment to access support in elementary, high school, university, college, or the workplace in the form of similar accommodations and modifications mentioned above. University and college students may also be able to access grants and bursaries if they are able to register with Accessibilities Services at their respective institution.

Conclusion
If you feel that your or your child is not living up to their potential due to a specific area of exceptionality such as intellectual giftedness, ADHD, developmental delay, etc., consider a full psychoeducational assessment to determine what are the child’s strengths and areas of development.

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