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Elements of a Well-Rounded Evaluation

Overview

This resource from The PEAL Center gives information on the elements that a well-rounded initial evaluation should include. Elements include an intelligence assessment, academic achievement assessment, parent input, student input, teacher input, and formal observation.

Intelligence assessment

Either verbal or nonverbal assessment tools are used to establish a student’s level of cognitive function. A student with language impairment would be able to demonstrate his/her cognitive abilities by pointing to indicate their responses. Standard scores are reported; these have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points.

Academic achievement assessment

This assessment tool would be verbal and or nonverbal for a child at preschool to kindergarten level and verbal for kindergarten to high school level. All older students would participate in testing verbally and in writing. Standard scores are reported; these have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points. Some assessment tools provide grade level score and/or age level scores and/or stanine scores.

Parent Input

This is often informal but there may be reason to include formal behavior rating scales, if there are behavioral concerns, self-help skill concerns or concerns about specific handicapping conditions, such as autism. Some formal assessment tools provide Standard scores are reported; these have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points as well as age level scores.

Student Input

All students, capable of verbal communication, could be asked to respond to general questions to obtain their ideas and opinions. Older students could be asked to respond to formal self-rating scales. Older students responding to formal assessment tools would be informed that their responses would result in formal scores, such as Standard scores, which have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points as well as age level scores.

Teacher Input

This input should be objective, based on measurable academic criteria and specific to the areas of concern, e.g. concerns about reading or math would warrant explicit teacher input; teachers might able be asked to complete formal behavior rating scales similar to those asked of parents; these have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 points. Some assessment tools provide grade level score and/or age level scores and/or stanine scores.

Formal Observation

Observations should occur in multiple settings when possible but specifically in the area or subject of concern and conducted by a professional who is trained to accurately interpret observable behaviors across settings. Formal observations should reflect observable behaviors that can yield an understanding of a child’s achievement and/or behavior.

*Additional components may be included in an initial evaluation, however, these should be purposefully chosen and identified to parents/guardians as to the intent of such assessments. For example, if a psychiatric examination by a licensed provider is needed, the purpose of this evaluation should be discussed prior to the scheduling of this appointment and should be included to address a specific concern or need.

**Reevaluations are handled in various ways by school districts, ranging from a review of records of the prior school years all the way to formal re-testing of students. The parent/guardian and the district should be in agreement about which elements a reevaluation should include.

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This resource created by Peal Center