What is an evaluation?
An evaluation is the detailed gathering of information about a person's performance and/or suspected disabilities. An educational evaluation is completed utilizing assessment tools in order to identify a student who is in need of special education services and to determine the strengths and needs of the child.
Prior to an evaluation, the school district must provide information about vision and hearing acuity. A screening conducted in your child's school will eliminate problems of acuity as a factor for concerns noted by your school.
An assessment is needed in order to:
The assessments performed by professionals are called formal assessments. The individuals who perform them (school psychological examiner, school psychologist, speech/language pathologist, etc.) have a license or are certified to give these tests.
- Identify the need for special education
- Determine eligibility for special education according to state criteria
- Evaluate a student's performance level
- Identify interventions to help the child to be more successful in general education
- Make recommendations for the student's educational program
- Determine if the student can continue to receive special education services
Informal assessments, such as checklists, can be completed by those who have knowledge of the child’s performance and behavior, but should be interpreted by a professional examiner or school psychologist. These can be completed at home or within the school setting. There are many informal assessments that examine areas ranging from interpersonal behaviors to specific skills.
Parents and/or caregivers are vital in the process of gathering information for both formal and informal assessments. No one spends more time with a child and knows him better than the parent or caregiver. Interviews with parents are essential tools that school psychologists and other examiners use to gather information.