Learning assessments are often requested when a child or adult is experiencing difficulties with learning to read or write, have problems grasping mathematics, are failing to complete work or seem to be underachieving at school, work or in examinations. They may have problems retaining what is learned, have difficulties comprehending information or undertaking problem solving. School avoidance, anxiety, behaviour problems, poor organisation and social difficulties can also prompt an assessment.
If a learning difficulty is present, the assessment will assist by exploring the nature of the person’s difficulty and recommending appropriate support or intervention. Vocational Assessment can also be incorporated for students in years ten and above to assist with career planning.
Prior to undertaking the assessment, the psychologist will undertake an initial discussion with the client or parents to gather important background information and discuss the goals for the assessment. It is suitable for assessments to be undertaken for pre-school, primary and secondary school aged students. Psycho-educational assessments are also available for adults.
During the assessment, the person is typically asked to undertake different problem-solving activities and complete a series of literacy and numeracy tasks at their level of ability. The assessment is not presented as a ‘test’. The tools that are used are well established, reliable and objective and supported by research. The specific tests that are used vary depending on the age of the student and the aims for the assessment.
Psycho-educational assessments can:
- Assess intellectual functioning (IQ).
- Provide information about a child or adolescent’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses.
- Identify a specific learning disability in areas of literacy and numeracy.
- Identify a learning disorder.
- Identify gifted learners. Identify issues with attention and behaviour which are contributing to learning issues or underachievement.