A psychoeducational evaluation uses various psychometric tools to determine if students have a learning disability or other issues that negatively impact their learning. It assesses children and young adults’ cognitive (i.e., intellectual) abilities, academic achievement levels, information processing abilities, and general emotional and behavioral issues.
Parents who have watched and worried over a child where something did not seem right take an important step when deciding to have an evaluation and then receiving the findings. While at times intimidating, the psychoeducational evaluation report details a great deal about the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and neurological development.
When is an evaluation necessary?
In some cases, the school counselor or a teacher has suggested it. In other cases, the parents suspect that their child needs to be evaluated. Often, parents and teachers have determined that something is affecting the child’s ability to perform in school, that the challenge is not simply a lack of effort on the child’s part. Similarly, there may be a suspicion that acting out behavior stems from the student’s learning experience.
Common academic issues that may warrant an evaluation.
- Early speech and language delays
- Difficulty with reading
- Low performance in one specific area or subject
- Low reading comprehension
- Difficulty remembering basic math facts
- Difficulty putting thoughts into writing
- Problem with spelling
- Difficulty remembering information
- Poor performance on tests even after studying
- Difficulty finishing work or tests in the allotted time
- Poor organization
- Difficulty paying attention in class or excessive daydreaming
Sometimes parents may have reservations about having their child evaluated. Common concerns include fears of having their child labeled and anxiety about the stigma attached to specific diagnoses. There are times when parents may need additional time to process the idea that their child may have a learning issue. The possibility of finding out that there is something wrong with the child can be scary.
On the other hand, the benefits of having children tested are enormous. Over time, children with some learning challenges frequently believe that they are dumb or cannot learn. This can impact self-esteem, coping behaviors, and their relationships with friends and family. These issues can be resolved if an assessment is conducted, and an appropriate course of action is identified.