School Evaluations: How do I interpret these results?
Parents can request school evaluations at any time. If your child is on an IEP, the school is required to evaluate your child every three years. This is called a Three-Year Evaluation. Often, schools will do testing in all areas, Psychological, Educational, Speech and Language, Behavior, OT, and PT. However, some schools will only test in the areas your child is receiving services. Parents have the right to ask for additional testing and request a full evaluation in all areas.
Now that you have these reports, how do you interpret them? Often times in your child’s meeting, the examiner will explain the results in Layman terms and will explain how the scores can explain your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and families are left wondering what the scores really mean. What do you do?
First, look at the tables that are provided and the range of scores. Each assessment has its own range of scores and the examiner should list those in their report. For Example, for the WISC-V, the range of scores are, Very High = 120-129, High Average = 110-119, Average = 90-109, Low Average = 80-89. Highlight any score that is in the Low Average or Below as your child is performing below average than their peers. But what happens if your child scores a 90? It still is considered average, however, it is at that low end of average. What should you look at next?
Compare the scores. A child without a disability will score relatively the same throughout all areas. A child with a disability will have a discrepancy in scores. That means that if a child scores in the average range for math, however, scores in the low average range in reading, there is a possibility that child has a reading disability. I say possibility because all children have strengths and weaknesses. To determine a reading disability, more information is needed. At this point, the team should be advising you as the parent to give these reports to your child's pediatrician because they cannot diagnose a disability. They should also attempt at additional testing to pinpoint what if any the child’s struggles are. In most cases, this does not happen and a child will receive an IEP, 504, or nothing. What can you do next?
Ask questions! Mark up your child’s evaluations and ask away at the meeting. If you still do not understand or feel something is not right, you can ask the school for an outside evaluation at the district’s expense. In addition, give all the reports to your child's pediatrician as they may advise you to seek additional specialist. If you still are unsure hire an advocate or an educational consultant to help.