Assessments

Assessments and reports for school difficulties and giftedness.

SCHOOL, PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING AND DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENTS

Mindworx Psychology offers a range of psychometric testing including intelligence and academic testing, and diagnostic assessments for problems at school and giftedness. Paediatricians, parents, school counsellors, teachers and doctors (GPs) commonly refer children and adolescents to our friendly child psychologists to obtain an accurate understanding of needs. This may include cognitive assessments, educational assessments, ADHD and behavioural assessments.

We use a range of gold standard psychological IQ tests to measure aptitudes, abilities and strengths. These include the Wechsler IQ test range, amongst others.

– WISC: Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children

– WPPSI: Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence

– WIAT: Wechsler Individual Achievement Test

The reality is that most children have strengths in some areas, and weaknesses in others. Even for those children who are gifted, they may be called ‘twice-exceptional’ because they may have an exceptional ability as well as a learning difficulty. These types of combinations of strengths and weaknesses, when unrecognised, can cause frustration for children, parents and teachers alike.

Testing can uncover all types of challenges – dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, working memory issues, slower processing speeds… the one thing we know is that no two brains are exactly alike. Every child’s profile is different due to their genetics, environment and prior learning.

Cognitive Assessments :

These types of psychometric tests and assessments are used to determine a child’s learning capabilities by identifying their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. We can look at areas such as processing speed, or memory, or spatial and abstract reasoning. Results can provide a profile to assist parents and schools with the development of individual intervention and learning plans. Because we can break down problem areas, these types of tests are often good to uncover learning difficulties or understand what is causing problems in the classroom.

Educational Assessments :

These tests and assessments are used to measure a child’s academic ability in a range of areas including reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, listening comprehension, and oral expression. During psychometric testing, a standardised measure is used to assist in identifying particular areas of academic strength or weakness. These can help to understand why a child is having problems with learning, problems at school, or difficulties in specific subjects.

Behaviour Assessments and ADHD or Attention Assessments :

Some children are referred because their challenging behaviour falls outside the range of expected age-appropriate behaviour at school, home or both. Such behavioural concerns may include difficulties around hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, oppositional behaviours, sustaining attention and/or disruptions to peer relations or learning.

We understand that accurate assessments are important. A comprehensive and detailed assessment is a tool that parents can use to understand their child’s needs, and obtain the help and support their child requires to flourish. Our approach is holistic – we assess academic, social, behavioural and emotional functioning to get the full picture of ability. All assessments require a comprehensive developmental and medical history to be taken, and the psychologist may (with your permission) request to liaise with your child’s school in order to fully understand any issues to be investigated.

Clinical observations and gold standard assessments are undertaken by our experienced psychologists – not by a computer. Our psychologists will then analyse all of the information and write a thorough report including recommendations to assist your child to flourish. The psychologist will also provide a thorough debrief for parents – and other parties as required.

Read more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ACADEMIC TESTING – GIFTED OR TALENTED?

Cognitive assessments for children help assist with the identification of children who are gifted and talented, as well as with the diagnosis of specific learning difficulties.

  • How can I measure my child’s true potential?
  • Is your child bored in class but easily able to complete the work?
  • Is your child frustrated with the slow pace of a class at school?
  • Is your child having behavioural difficulties at school?

Intellectual Giftedness :

A cognitive assessment may help children to access gifted and talented programs or special classes e.g. admission to selective schools, acceleration classes, GERRIC (UNSW). It can also help to guide teachers in the provision of extension activities in the classroom setting. A comprehensive assessment will also allow parents to understand both strengths and areas of weakness. Some children are twice exceptional, with testing uncovering areas of significant strength and significant weakness.

SCHOOL PROBLEMS? STRUGGLING TO LEARN?

A comprehensive assessment will allow parents to understand both strengths and areas of weakness in development, and take into
account academic, social, behavioural and emotional functioning.

Specific Learning Difficulties or Disabilities: Identifying a learning difficulty or disorder in children can help teachers make appropriate accommodations for students in the classroom. This information can be used to manage academic support, and to minimise negative experiences at school such as poor academic results, school avoidance or low self-esteem.

Intellectual difficulty or disability: An assessment will assist in identifying a limitation in intellectual functioning, which is characterised by an IQ test score of 70 or below. Testing can provide a better understanding of how an intellectual disability impacts the child’s ability to learn. It can also help in the development of effective plans or particular accommodations being made in the classroom.

Assessments can also assist in making applications to access government or school disability funding, special needs teachers or
special provisions in formal school examinations.

What is a psychometric assessment?

Although there are hundreds of assessments on the market, and we will tailor our approach to your specific needs, for the purposes of working with schools we commonly use gold standard cognitive assessment tools such as the WISC, WPPSI and WIAT. The administration of such standardised psychometric tools can only be completed by accredited psychologists.

Wechsler Intelligence Scales for Children :

Fifth Edition (WISC-V, Australian Standard) for children aged 6 to 16 years.

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence

Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV, Australian Standard) for children aged 2 years and 6 months to 7 years and 7 months.

These tools can assess overall IQ, but also look at strengths across various domains and constructs of intelligence. These include:

Verbal Comprehension :

the ability to use a range of vocabulary to understand and express general knowledge and explain concepts

Perceptual Reasoning :

the ability to solve complex non-verbal problems

Working Memory :

the ability to learn, manipulate and retain information to complete new tasks

Processing Speed :

the ability to quickly process and make judgements about information

Common Characteristics of a Learning Difficulty

  • Average to above average general ability, but with under-achievement in some learning areas.
  • Difficulties with the development of literacy skills such as reading accuracy, comprehension, spelling, or written expression.
  • Difficulty with “multi-modal” tasks, such as listening to the teacher at the same time as copying from the board or making something.
  • Taking longer than other children to carry out and complete a task.
  • Trouble remembering ideas in sequence such as times tables or the words to a song.
  • Difficulty concentrating and paying attention, easily distracted.Memory problems, difficulty following instructions, problems remembering newly learned information such as Maths concepts.
  • Organisation difficulties e.g. a poor concept of time, or forgets to bring the right equipment to class.
  • May have a history of delayed developmental milestones e.g. speech and language, or motor skills.
  • May have a family history of learning difficulties.