Types of evaluations

There are several types of evaluations/assessments that can be done by school systems or independently.  This webpage describes eleven type of assessments/evaluations.  If the school is evaluating your child, they must be evaluated in ALL the areas of suspected disability.

Page Index:
Educational Evaluation , Psychological Evaluation (
Wechsler Intelligence, Attention, behaviors and emotions ), Neuropsychological Evaluation, Functional Behavioral Assessment, Speech and Language Evaluation, Auditory Processing Evaluation, Occupational Therapy (OT) Evaluation, Physical Therapy (PT) Evaluation, Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment, Transition Assessment(TA), Home Assessment, and Teacher Assessment/Observation.

If you have received "EVALUATION CONSENT FORM", (form called Attachment to N 1) in the mail.   Before you sign and return this form, you can request a "pre-evaluation conference" to talk with a school professional(s) about the 5 W's (Who, What, When, Where, Why) who will conduct each evaluation, what evaluations/tests would be helpful, when will your child be taken out of classes to be tested and where will your child be given the test/evaluations and who will be explaining why the evaluations are happening?  These are the assessments/evaluations that can be listed on the Consent form (N1),  it may include these but are not limited to what is printed on the (Attachment to N 1) form.

As stated in Special Education Regulation:
28.04(1)
(c) School districts shall provide the student's parents with an opportunity to consult with the Special Education Administrator or his/her designee to discuss the reasons for the referral, the content of the proposed evaluation, and the evaluators used.

The Pre-evaluation conference, a description of the evaluations and special education process are all listed in the 'Parent's Guide to Special Education Manual by Federation for Children and Department of Education (DOE), 12/10/01.

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(If the text is underlined, click-on it to take you to another webpage for more detail.)
1. Educational Evaluation - an assessment of reading, written language, spelling and math.
The reading evaluation includes assessment of word analysis skills (word attack, decoding), word recognition, oral reading rate, and comprehension.  Educational Testing will serve as a baseline against which future progress can be measured.

One of the commonly administered individual educational achievement tests is the
Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised (Click here, for more detail on Woodcock-Johnson subtests and cluster scores, WJ-R  or WJ-III.), another is the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) and for reading is the Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT) are all used by the Concord school district.  

Dept. of Education defines an "Educational Assessment" of the student's educational progress and status in relation to the general education curriculum and the district curriculum as well consistent Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the assessment conducted by a certified educator(s) and the special education regulation 603 CMR 28.04(2).


2. Psychological Evaluation - Is an intelligent test, it measure general cognitive ability.
Dept. of Education defines an "psychological Assessment" by an authorized psychologist or school psychologist including an individual psychological examination and culminating in specific recommendations.  Sensory, motor, language, perceptual, attentional, cognitive, affective, attitudinal, self-image, interpersonal, behavioral, interest, and vocational factors are evaluated in regard to the child's maturity, integrity and dynamic interaction within the educational context.  The assessment is based on the child's developmental and social history, diagnostic observation of the child in a familiar surroundings (such as a classroom) and psychological testing as indicated.  Psychological testing may include, but is not limited to: intelligence testing, educational achievement testing, personality evaluation, a vocational interest evaluation, assessment of brain damage, and neuropsychological examination.

A. Cognitive part of the assessment, there are 3 different Wechsler Intelligence assessment that may be used, depending on age of the student:
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) for children ages 6 1/2 – 16 1/2 years                           

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Full Scale IQ ranges and general bell curve.

For further reading "Understanding Tests and Measurement for the Parent, Advocate and Attorney "
 by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. and Pamela Darr Wright, M.A., M.S.W. Licensed Clinical Social Worker (2001).


B. For the Attention part of the assessment another common assessments / questionnaires used to assess Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and  related problems in children:

Conners Rating Scale-Revised (CRS-R), by C. Keith Conners , 1997, Publisher: Pearson
Age Range: 3 to 17 years, adolescents aged 12 to 17 years can use the self-report forms.
Time: Long version 15 to 20 minutes; Short version 5 to 10 minutes; Auxiliary Scales 5 to 10 minutes
Administration: Individual,  Teacher, Parent Questionnaires
Parent Version , 80-item long form for parents (CPRS–R:L) and 27-item short form for parents (CPRS–R:S)
Teacher Versions , 59-item long form (CTRS–R:L) for teachers and 28-item short form for teachers (CTRS–R:S)
Self-Report Forms for Adolescents, 87-item Conners-Wells' Adolescent Self-Report Scale-Long (CASS:L) and 27-item short version (CASS:S)
Short form reports 4 symptoms categories: Oppositional, Cognitive Problems/Inattention, Hyperactivity, and AD/HD index.
Long form includes 14 symptoms categories: Oppositional, Cognitive Problems/Inattention, Hyperactivity, Anxious/Shy, Perfectionism, Social Problems, and Psychosomatic.  Along with: DSM–IV ADHD symptoms, Conners' ADHD Index, Conners' Global Problem Index, Family Problems, Emotional Problems, Conduct Problems, and Anger Control Problems.  Feedback Forms and graphics give important information in an easy-to-understand format. 

C. One of the common assessments / questionnaires used to assess behaviors and emotions:
Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) ,
 by Cecil R. Reynolds & Randy W. Kamphaus, Publisher: Pearson
Ages: 2 to 21 years 11 months for the Teacher and Parent Rating Scales, Administration Time: 10-20 minutes.
Ages: 6 to college student for the Self-Reporting of Personality Scales, 30 minutes to administrator.
You can view Clinical and Adaptive Scales, and download sample of seven different report types.
The BASC measures 16 primary areas (not all areas are measured on each Rating Scale.  It depends on who is filling the form out (i.e. parent, teacher and student.), and the student age.)  The scales are in the following areas:
Activities of Daily Living, Functional Communication, Adaptability, Hyperactivity, Aggression, Leadership, Anxiety, Learning Problems, Attention Problems, Social Skills, Atypicality, Somatization, Conduct Disorder, Study Skills, Depression, and Withdrawal.
Sample BASC Report.
  

3. Neuropsychological Evaluation - The Neuropsychological profile gives you a global picture of your child's approach to doing things, based on patterns of strengths, weaknesses and integration among a range of neurological measures. A good way to diagnose ADD, autism, PDD or specific LD issues.  (This evaluation is done when there are learning, behavioral or social concerns.)

Parent comment: "This is the best evaluation we ever had done.  It told us how our child learns.  He enjoyed the testing, especially missing a day of school!" M.O.

4. Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) - Functional behavioral assessment is a problem-solving process for addressing student problem behavior. It is used to identify the purposes of specific behavior and to help IEP team select interventions to directly address the problem behavior.  It is the process of determining the cause (or "function") of behavior before developing an intervention.  FBA is used to create Behavior plans, contain: strategies, document skills the students need in order to behave in a more appropriate manner, or plans providing motivation to conform to required standards.  The plan should be proactive, positive intervention plans that teach new ways of behaving, and address both the source of the problem, by serving the same function, and the problem itself.   The interventions must be based on the hypothesized cause (function) of behavior. 

Related Assessments:

5. Speech and Language Evaluation - an assessment of receptive language (the ability to understand spoken language), expressive language (the ability to formulate and organize oral language and written language), phonological processing (the ability to manipulate individual sounds within words), articulation, voice, auditory memory, pragmatics (the ability to use language effectively to interact with people).  One of the commonly used speech and language test used to assess expressive and receptive oral language is the CELF =  Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals.

6. Auditory Processing Evaluation : An audiologist evaluates, identifies, measures and treats hearing disorders, loss and central auditory processing (CAP) issues.  This evaluation is performed by Audiologists who are found at most major hospitals, school do not perform this evaluation.

Note: Central Auditory Processing (CAP) and Visual Processing, also involves short-term memory, represents the actual quantity of pieces of information taken in by either the auditory or visual areas of the brain to understands, interprets or categorizes information, not the hearing organs themselves.

7. Occupational Therapy (OT) Evaluation - an evaluation of fine and gross motor skills, visual motor integration, visual perception or visual processing, (The terms, "visual processing" and "visual perception", are often used interchangeably. See the "Note above.) and sensory integration (SI).

8. Physical Therapy (PT) Evaluation: An evaluation of physical activities such as sitting, standing, crawling, walking, running, and climbing. It looks at your child's body strength, coordination, balance, and symmetry as he moves and control his body, and how he plans new motor activities.  The PT will want to do know what your concerns are about your child's development and why you wanted to do have a PT evaluation. The PT will ask you about your child's birth history and developmental milestones. Your child's typical routine during the day and what his favorite and least favorite activities are, and what sort of outdoor games or playground toys he enjoys.

9.  Assistive Technology (AT) Assessment: An assessment to find ways to meet the needs of the student by matching the strengths and weaknesses of the student to the device.  Key in examining the academic area is remembering that the device should not be used to replace interactions with the teacher or peers, nor should it be used to replace instruction (Garner & Campbell, 1987). The device should enhance interactions and learning. The goal for AT use is to allow learners to use their strengths and participate as fully as possible in the school.  Some of the commonly used devices and software programs are listed on our Tools & Technologies webpage.

10. Transition Assessment (TA): An assessment of combination of the following types: Paper and pencil tests, structured student and family interviews, community or work-based assessments (situational) and curriculum-based assessments. These assessments or procedures come in two general formats – formal and informal.  Informal measures may include interviews or questionnaires, direct observations, anecdotal records, environmental or situational analysis, curriculum-based assessments, interest inventories, preference assessments, and transition planning inventories. Formal measures include adaptive behavior and independent living assessments, aptitude tests, interest assessments, intelligence tests, achievement tests, personality or preference tests, career development measures, on the job or training evaluations, and measures of self-determination.  For a list of 9 catalogues and Transition Assessment.  

11. Home Assessment - An assessment by an authorized social worker, nurse, guidance counselor teacher or psychologist.  For pertinent family history and home situation factors including, with parental consent, a home visit.
This assessment includes a description of pertinent family history and individual developmental history and estimates of adaptive behavior at home, in neighborhood, and in local peer groups.  Estimates of adaptive behavior are to the greatest possible degree on information obtained by direct observation of the child. or direct interview of the child in the neighborhood setting.

12. Teacher Assessment/Observation - An assessment by the classroom teacher to include current information on the student's present level of performance (PLOP) in the general curriculum.

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