Academic Assessment

Academic Assessment at Equilibria

There are times when a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation is not indicated, but rather a specific question is asked regarding school, learning or vocational functioning. Specific assessment services include evaluation for the following:

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Academic achievement tests are generally used to determine where your child/adolescent ranks among people his/her age. Achievement tests are often provided in conjunction with IQ testing (intelligence testing).

ENTRANCE INTO ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS

Many enrichment programs offer increased engagement for advanced students. Academic assessment sometimes is required to ensure students can handle increased academic engagement provided by enrichment programs

APPROPRIATE ACADEMIC SETTINGS

Psychological assessment and testing can be extremely beneficial in determining if a child has specific needs that a specific setting can provide.

SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS

Our psychologists are often asked to assess and determine whether children, teens or college aged students’ meet specific school based criteria for modifications related to test taking and learning. Some of these modifications may be allowing for extra time during testing, being given more breaks throughout the school day or being able to use special devices in the classroom.

SCHOOL READINESS

Through the use of a school readiness assessment, our psychologists can evaluate whether or not your child is emotionally, as well as academically, prepared for school. If there is evidence of delay, a treatment plan with specific recommendations geared toward the child’s needs is developed

SCHOOL ADMISSION

Sometimes schools will ask for specific testing prior to being admitted into a special program. We offer this type of testing based on the specific requirements asked of the school.

INTELLECTUAL FUNCTIONING

IQ scores are often requested by private schools in preparation for admission.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING

Diagnostic testing can be extremely beneficial in determining if the child/adolescent has a disability that may impede on academic achievement. This type of testing is usually done within the context of a more comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation. This can be extremely important particularly if a child/adolescent may need or already has, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

CAREER OR COLLEGE GUIDANCE

Our psychologists can help assess and guide the individual to determine what college or career may be most suitable based on his/her interests.

VOCATIONAL TESTING

Vocational testing is a collection of questions designed to measure the person’s personality traits, IQ, as well as what his/her primary interest may be.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

We provide comprehensive psychoeducational assessment to diagnose autism spectrum disorders and provide clear recommendations for a child/teen’s school based and home based functioning and success.

School Psychologists Conducting Academic Assessments

DR. GAIL REICHMAN-MANCINI, PSY.D

Dr. Mancini completed her doctorate in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where her research included a specialty in the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder. She has been conducting comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations as well as overall treatment of children since 1987. In addition to providing school psychology, Dr. Mancini contributed to the standardization of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scales-III and the Wechsler Memory Scales-III.

KAREN TARATUSKI, PSY.D.

Following Dr. Taratuski’s undergraduate work, she began her career as a Music Therapist, which led to her returning to graduate school to pursue her doctorate in clinical psychology. Dr. Taratuksi has always focused primarily on children, adolescent, and families. She spent many years working in public school as both a school psychologist as well as a special services administrator and she wholeheartedly values the importance of testing in order to get a better understanding of the child’s needs.

XIAOLU JIAN, PSY.D

Dr. Jiang completed her graduate work at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. She has extensive experience working with adults, families, couples and children and has extensive experience working with individuals who have faced significant trauma in their lives. Dr. Jiang is a highly trained and experienced evaluator.

Academic Assessment Process

Although all evaluations are tailored to meet our client’s needs, there are some standard processes that occur during a psychoeducational evaluation. Some of the steps include:

SCHEDULING

If you are calling to schedule an appointment for psychoeducational testing, we will be asking you questions to discern the purpose of the testing to ensure we are helping to set you up with the appropriate psychologist in our office who has expertise in the area you are looking to assess. At times, we may have the psychologist speak directly with you to gather more information and ensure that you are comfortable with the person doing the testing.

COMPREHENSIVE CLINICAL INTERVIEW

Incredibly valuable information is gathered during a comprehensive clinical interview including:

  • Personal and childhood history
  • Family history and current functioning
  • Medical history and current functioning
  • Developmental history
  • Mental health history and current functioning
  • Educational and work history and current functioning
  • Relationship/social history and current functioning
  • Substance use history and current functioning
  • Legal history and current functioning
  • Recent experiences that are impacting current functioning
  • Other pertinent information related to psychological testing

When the testing is for a child, interviews are conducted not only with the child but with the child’s caregivers and sometimes with other individuals important to the child’s current functioning (e.g., teachers, other caretakers).

Often the psychologist who is doing the testing will ask that the client bring in any relevant documents that they feel would be helpful for the psychologist to see to have a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand (e.g., work records, school records, medical records, legal records).

In general, clinical interviews are more open and less structured than formal testing because this part of the evaluation allows for the client to convey information and experiences in their own words. The clinical interview usually occurs at the beginning of the psychological assessment or testing in order to establish a good understanding of a person’s history and recent experiences that are bringing them in for the evaluation.

PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL TESTING

There are a number of different psychological tests that can be administered during the course of an evaluation. Psychological tests are designed to assess an aspect of a person’s knowledge, skill, personality, intelligence, learning style, achievement, or a certain behavior.

Some tests are norm-referenced and some tests are non-norm referenced.

Normed-Referenced Psychological Tests

These psychological tests provide information for how the person being tested measures compared to other individuals who have taken the test before and are included in the norming sample. This provides, as much as possible, a comparison between test takers. Some examples of normed tests include:

  • IQ tests
  • Achievement tests
  • Personality tests (e.g., MMPI, MCMI)
  • Attention and concentration tests
  • Neuropsychological tests

Non-Norm-Referenced Psychological Tests

In addition to the standardized, norm-referenced tests, psychologists may choose to administer one or more non-normed referenced tests, which are designed to measure a person’s level of functioning in the areas covered by the test. These tests can provide a wealth of information to the psychologist doing the evaluation. Some examples may include:

  • Behavioral checklists
  • Symptom checklists
  • Some projective tests

OBSERVATIONS

Sometimes, especially with young children, a psychologist will request to observe the individual being tested in a natural setting like a classroom. This observation can be incredibly valuable to the psychologist because it allows them to understand the person in different contexts. For example, when evaluating a child, the psychologist may want to see if the child behaves differently at school than at home, or assess how the child behaves around his/her peers, or find out if the child is treated differently than other students in the classroom.

This kind of information can enrich the assessment and help the evaluator get a well-rounded picture of the person being assessed and allow for very targeted treatment recommendations.

REPORT AND FEEDBACK

Once all the information is gathered, the psychologist creates a comprehensive and integrated assessment of the individual, usually creating a thorough report with recommendations. Some of these recommendations will be home-based recommendations and others will be academic or vocational based. This information is also communicated via a feedback session with the client. With permission from the client (or guardian), feedback may also be given to a school, college (for a college-aged student) or vocational setting (if it is for an adult).

A psychoeducational assessment is never focused on a single test score or number. Every person has a range of competencies that can be evaluated through a number of methods. A psychologist is there to evaluate the competencies as well as the limitations of the person, and report on them in an objective but helpful manner.

Schedule An Academic Assessment

If you would like to meet or talk with one of our child psychologists in Philadelphia about academic assessments call us at (267) 861-3685, option 1. Or fill out our secure online form.