What are educational or psychoeducational evaluations?
Psychoeducational evaluations are most often initiated due to school or parental concerns about a student’s academic performance or behavior at school. This type of evaluations assess how a student's cognitive (i.e., intellectual) abilities, academic achievement levels, emotional difficulties, and information processing abilities impact their academic success. Moreover, they inform eligibility for educational services, educational placement, instructional objectives, and help identify academic strengths and weaknesses.
Psychoeducational evaluations answer questions such as:
Does the student have a learning disorder, developmental disability, or attentional problem that impacts their functioning at school?
Based on a student’s unique cognitive and behavioral profile, how can caregivers and the school assist in educational planning?
While learning and academic achievement are the primary focus of these evaluations, behavioral, emotional, and medical issues may also need to be addressed. Referrals to other services are made as appropriate, such as to occupational therapy for fine motor concerns, speech and language pathology for communication difficulties, or therapy for behavioral concerns.
Why do families and individuals seek psychoeducational evaluations?
Individuals and families want to understand what is impacting their, or their child’s learning so they can access the appropriate services and interventions. If an evaluation concludes that a student meets the criteria for certain diagnoses, they may then able to access valuable resources that they could not have obtained otherwise.
Additionally, psychoeducational evaluations provide recommendations for classroom accommodations (i.e., how the material is taught, made accessible, or assessed), modifications (i.e., what a student is taught or expected to learn), and interventions (i.e., specific program or set of steps to help a child improve in an area of need). Families who are unhappy with findings from a school district’s evaluation often seek a private second opinion.
Do you conduct evaluations for admission test accommodations such as the SAT or ACT?
Yes. Students need to be formally evaluated to apply for accommodations on admissions tests. For example, the College Board's guidelines for application for accommodations on the SAT require a current diagnostic evaluation conducted by a qualified professional indicating the student has a learning disability. They also request a report detailing the comprehensive testing and techniques used to arrive at the diagnosis, including test results with subtest scores. The report must describe the student's limitations, explaining how the disability affects his or her ability to participate in the test. Recommendations must be specific, such as the amount of extended time required or the maximum amount of time your child can be tested in a day.
Visit the College Board website for additional information regarding accommodations for test takers. It is important to note that getting evaluated and receiving a diagnosis will not automatically qualify a student.
How are psychoeducational different from other types of evaluations?
While psychoeducational evaluations include many of the same measures as psychological and neuropsychological evaluations, they differ in that their primary goal is to understand a student’s ability to learn and to guide the development of educational accommodations, placement, and other supports from an educational perspective.
Psychoeducational evaluations require specialized knowledge about learning disabilities, state and federal laws regarding education, and the specific accommodations or services that support students with disabilities in school settings. Health insurance companies do not consider psychoeducational evaluations to be “medically necessary” and therefore do not cover the costs. They may provide partial or full reimbursement if the evaluation identifies that a client meets criteria for certain conditions that affect learning such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or autism spectrum disorder.
How much do evaluations cost? Do you take insurance?
Please see my fees page.
Note that while insurance companies do not cover psychoeducational evaluations or evaluations that only evaluate for learning disorders, they often provide reimbursement if a client is also being evaluating due to concerns about other diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc.