When to Get an Educational Evaluation
Getting an educational evaluation is a very involved process and we are often asked about when the right time is to engage in this course of action. There are several important factors to consider and we are happy to talk to you about your child’s specific needs.
1. The age of the child Often times parents come to us concerned that the school told them that their child had to be at least a second grader in order to complete testing. Actually what the school meant is that when you only do standardized testing, children at this age often do not have to complete many questions, and it is not the best representation of their knowledge. In addition to standardized testing measures, we also give many diagnostic assessments which help fill in important information, but each child is different. There are cases where we have decided to test at an early age and there are cases where we have recommended that parents hold off on testing for a while. In such cases, we may refer parents to learning specialists for tutoring instead of testing, or suggest another type of intervention (e.g., counseling, work with a behaviorist, etc.).
2. If students need the test results for accommodations on either the SAT or ACT If you have a high school student, your child should be tested around his or her sophomore year of high school. This enables the student to use the accommodations in his or her classes in high school. This is important, because one of the requirements is that students demonstrated need for these accommodations in the classroom and, in addition, needed the accommodations on college testing. This timeline also ensures that the testing is still current as the student is applying to colleges and that the results can be used to qualify them for accommodations at that level as well.
3. At what point do you pursue testing? Often, parents have gotten tutoring services but are wondering if they should look at testing options. Our general rule is that if your child is making good growth with tutoring, the results are showing in the classroom, and the pace of the growth is such that he or she will be able to fill in gaps and perform at his or her ability level, then you likely have found the right service. If you find that your child is not making adequate progress, or you feel you are still missing some information, or you need to ask for accommodations or modifications in the classroom, this is the time to look at testing. Testing at this point should be able to pinpoint more specific areas to address as well as provide information on the strategies that would be most beneficial for the student.