Edit ModuleShow Tags

Should Your Child Have Educational Testing?



Worry over a child’s academic performance is one of the many concerns that parents carry with them. There are myriad reasons for a child to struggle in the classroom, ranging from temporary illness to a chronic learning disability.

However, when small concerns turn into big worries, what is a parent to do? Educational testing is one avenue that is used to help identify problems and work toward a solution.

What Does a Psychometrist Do?
Gina Kingsley, a Tulsa psychometrist, said that psych-educational evaluations can identify strengths and weaknesses in children as young as 2.6 years through adults. They can also help pinpoint problems such as learning disabilities, attention deficit, dyslexia and processing problems.

Kingsley says she views psychometry as a creative process. “I look at each child as kind of a tapestry, and I love the process of defining a child’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Carolyn Griffin, Ed.D, director of Yorktown Educational Services, says that she also tests children and adults to evaluate academic needs or learning problems. “I include an IQ test if there has been an inordinate amount of problems,” she says. “An IEP (Individual Education Plan) might be best for them, or we can identify possible potential.”

Should My Child Be Tested?
Sudden changes in behavior toward school may indicate an academic problem. If a child comes home and says, “I hate math,” Griffin suggests talking with the child’s teacher first to see what is going on in the classroom.

Kingsley says that on-going, persistent problems may also indicate a need for academic testing. “Testing can help identify a suspected learning disability or ability,” Kingsley says, “but it won’t identify emotional issues or lack of motivation or apathy.”

Vision and hearing tests also should be done in conjunction with psycho-educational evaluations.

Besides using educational testing to identify learning problems, parents sometimes are curious about their child’s IQ or whether or not a child is working up to potential in the classroom. Kingsley says that parents may be relieved to find that their child’s IQ is average and that the child is, in fact, working to his or her potential. Or they may find that their child has a very high IQ and his or her poor performance in school may be related to other issues.


Dr. Griffin warns that IQ tests can have diminishing returns. For example, parents’ expectations for a child in middle school may be based on an IQ test that was done when the child was much younger. “I’ve tested children at age 4 and tested them again at age 10,” Griffin says. “They tested extremely high at a young age, but were just on the high end of IQ at age 10. Some children are precocious when they’re young and it tapers off. IQ tests are usually not given until a child is 8 or 9,” Griffin adds.

How Does the Testing Work?
The types of testing that are done depend on the age of the child and what symptoms are exhibited, and the tests are developmentally appropriate. Tests for very young children are similar to playing games, not pencil and paper tests. Kingsley said that preschool children can be tested on cognitive, large and fine motor skills.
“For example, in preschool, parents may suspect the child has high intelligence, and a test may show high cognitive skills, but weak fine motor skills.” She added that a full scale IQ test is usually not done until age 6 and above.

What Kingsley does want parents to know is that children actually enjoy the testing. “They crave the one-on-one,” she says, “and they’ll share things with me they won’t share with their teachers or parents. I offer the children breaks, but they’re having so much fun that they don’t want to take them.”

She also points out that, as an independent tester, she provides pages of evaluation and individual observations as well as a quick turn-around. Kingsley also collaborates with Dr. Ann Taylor, a counseling psychologist on-site, which can be an added benefit for those children who may need a psychological evaluation in addition to an academic one.

What Now?
Once tests are complete, parents receive a full, individualized report and, when applicable, a plan to build up weak areas or provide skills to deal with learning disabilities.

As a mother and a former classroom teacher, Kingsley feels she has extra insight into providing realistic classroom strategies or modifications, if necessary. She says that parents may choose how they use the information they get about their child. Parents may want to share it with teachers, so classroom modifications can be made, or keep it to themselves.

“It’s never too late for testing,” Griffin says. “Early identification and intervention is better because you don’t have to substitute for bad habits. Some children come in with what they’ve been doing for five or six years, and it takes awhile to practice the skills we give them to turn things around. Our goal is to give children the toolkit they need and send them on their way.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Popular Articles

One Reason Why

There are not 13 reasons why a person commits suicide, there is one: mental illness.

Age Appropriate Books to Talk to Your Kids about Sex

Tulsa Birthday Parties for Kids

Free Events for Tulsa Families

Top Places to Play Indoors in Tulsa

Here are my top choices for where to go when you need to get the wiggles out in the middle of winter.

Homeschooling in Tulsa

Area families choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons-and mold options to fit their unique needs.

Anatomy of a Meltdown

Autism meltdowns can be terrifying both for the child experiencing them and those nearby; the best thing we can do is to love each other and reach out for available support.

You're Only as Old as You Feel

While my upcoming 60th birthday is still somewhat of a shock, I've realized that this season of life comes with plenty of perks.

Teachers Can't Find the Nurturer in TPS's Classroom Management System

No-Nonsense Nurturer has been criticized as being robotic, stifling and under-researched.

Ten Places to Volunteer With Your Family in Tulsa

For many Tulsans, charitable giving is a way of life; but it can be difficult to know where to start.