Assessment is not always the answer.
Review your child’s records with a school psychologist to determine whether you feel testing is in the best interest of your child. If you are considering evaluation for placement in a special program (such as the Gifted and Talented Program), check these things before you test:
Psychological Evaluation Tests:
Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Fifth Edition (SB5):
- What tests does the school district allow for placement?
- If your child was tested before, which test was used? What were the scores? What information do you have from teachers? Report cards?
- Listed below are some of the most commonly used assessment instruments I recommend.
This is an individual test for intelligence and cognitive abilities (IQ). It is appropriate for ages 2-85+ years. The SB:5 is my favorite test for intelligence because it:
Woodcock-Johnson (WJ III) Tests of Cognitive Abilities Battery:
- Has 5 factors (compared to the 4 factors on the SB-IV): Fluid Reasoning, Knowledge, Quantitative Reasoning, Visual-Spatial Processing, and Working Memory)
- Allows for superior overall diagnoses. It includes many high-end items to measure the highest levels of Gifted performance
- It has improved low-end items to better measure young children or low functioning older children
- Its scores can be used for placement in school systems.
- Does not heavily emphasize SPEED
This is the newest version of a series of tests commonly used in school districts to assess achievement and processing. Although the new test gives scores in General Intellectual Ability (IQ), school districts may require scores from a WISC-III or SB-IV in order to qualify a child for special services. I believe the WJ-III will be particularly useful in intervention planning because it:
Conners’ Rating Scales-Revised (CRS-R):
- Measures attention and working memory
- Assesses planning and mental control
- Selected subtests can be part of a comprehensive ADD/ADHD assessment
- Tests for flexible thinking and problem solving ability
- Can be interpreted with information from the Woodcock-Johnson Achievement battery for intra-individual comparisons.
This is completed by parents, teachers, and, in the case of adolescents, by the individual. The CRS-R has a short and a long form to assess problem behaviors. The CRS-R has standard norms and can be used with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). CRS-R includes subscales for oppositional behaviors, cognitive problems, hyperactivity/impulsivity as well as an ADHD Index.
Scores from rating scales should always be used with information gained from observations, interviews, and other sources.
BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory: Youth Version (BarOn EQ-i: YV) Emotional Intelligence pertains to the emotional, personal and social dimensions of intelligence. Abilities assessed are those relating to understanding oneself and others, relating to people, adapting to changing environmental demands, and managing emotions. This self-report can be used with children and adolescents aged 7-18 years. I use it as part of my Gifted Assessment to give parents and schools an added dimension of the child that can be used in program planning.
Internalized Shame Scale (ISS):
This scale provides an assessment of and adolescent or adult’s intense, self-directed negative messages. The scale measures the extent to which shame has become an internalized part of the person’s sense of self. This is useful both in labeling feelings and helping to focus therapy and interventions. This differs from other self-esteem and self-concept models because it emphasizes BOTH negative feelings and cognitive states
Gilliam Autism Rating Scales (GARS): I do not use this to make a diagnosis of Autism or Asprger’s Syndrome. I use this test as one way to tease Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome from Nonverbal Learning Disability. Nonverbal Learning Disability is often misdiagnosed as Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome due to some similarities in social and emotional functioning. This is part of a comprehensive assessment for SLD.
These observations are completed wherever the problem occurs. Observations typically include a story form (a description of everything that happened during the observation) and a mathematical tally of specific behavior (paid attention = 10% of the time).