A psychoeducational (or “psych-ed”) assessment is designed to identify a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, evaluate achievement levels, identify learning disabilities, and make recommendations for academic supports and accommodations that will allow the child to do his or her best in school. Conducted by a Registered Psychologist, the psychoeducational assessment is the basis for developing an individualized educational plan (IEP), in which the school lays out modified learning expectations, accommodations, and standards for monitoring academic progress.
How can a Registered Psychologist help?
Within the field of education, only a Registered Psychologist is qualified to administer and interpret the standardized tests of a psych-ed assessment, which require many years of education and training to master. Schools and universities will only recognize a psychoeducational assessment conducted by a Registered Psychologist.
A common reason for academic underperformance is an undiagnosed learning disorder or some other condition such as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Academic underperformance can lead to frustration, low self-esteem and behavioural issues with long-term implications, which is why timely diagnosis and interventions are necessary. A psychoeducational assessment can identify a learning disorder through the use of standardized measures and a controlled process free of external variables, such as auditory and visual distractions, which can impact performance. The standardization of measures is a crucial factor as this allows the student’s performance to be statistically compared to his or her age and/or grade cohort to reveal limitations and strengths across different areas of intellectual functioning and academic performance. Because of test standardization and the controlled nature of testing, a psychoeducational evaluation is capable of yielding a far more accurate picture of a child’s actual abilities and unique learning challenges. The findings of the assessment can then be translated into specific recommendations for learning strategies, supports, and accommodations to assist the student in reaching his or her academic potential.
What does a Psychoeducational Assessment involve?
The psychoeducational assessment involves a combination of interviews, standardized individual testing, and behavioural ratings and observations to identify a student’s strengths and weaknesses across many areas of functioning. It involves assessment of intellectual functioning, academic achievement, information processing, and various domains of emotional and behavioural functioning such as inattention, impulsivity, and anxiety. Other areas may be tested based on suspected deficits in a specific area, such as visual perception and motor coordination.
Actual testing requires 8-10 hours of face-to-face time, which will be spread out over several sessions to help a child to maintain consistency of attention and effort.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the psychoeducational assessment is approximately $1,900 to 2,000 with the actual cost varying somewhat more or less depending on case complexity. The cost includes a comprehensive report detailing assessment results, conclusions, and recommendations, as well as a 1-hour feedback session. If attendance at an IEP meeting is requested, this is billed separately at an hourly rate of $149.
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