Toronto Psychological Services in west Toronto offers Educational Assessments or Psychoeducational Assessments to students in elementary, high school, college, university and graduate school. You may wish to get a school assessment or education assessment if you are considering going back to school as an adult. An educational assessment can promote greater understanding of academic performance and achievement. As well, an educational assessment can identify the underlying issues such as a learning disability that may be preventing a person from achieving his or her academic potential. Similarly, a person who is excelling at school may require support and enrichment within the classroom.
An Educational Assessment at Toronto Psychological Services
A Psychoeducational Assessment (Educational Assessment) is considered the best means of gaining an indepth understanding a student’s learning style and better still, their potential to learn in future. Assessments by our psychologists, psychological associates and educational consultants are accepted by school boards and can provide diagnostic assessments for students presenting with the following:
- Learning Disabilities, aka LD
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Developmental Delay
- Social problems
- Organization, planning and self-monitoring problems
- Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorder)
Reading: Children who are struggling to learn the read may be having difficulty in one or more areas. For example, a child who is experiencing difficulty reading may have difficulty remembering what letters of the alphabet look like or the sounds that letters make). The truth is that there are many, many issues that might impact a child’s ability to learn to read.
Mathematics: Likewise, lags in developing math skill can be attributed to different causes. For example, a person may find it difficult to understand or name math terms, operations or concepts. By grade-3, language skills are needed to ‘decode’ written problems into math symbols or arithmetic signs.
Written Expression: Written production is one of the most complex and demanding of the academic skills. It requires language skill, organization and planning skills, good working memory, an ability to remember letter sequences in common words, graphomotor skill and a strong understanding of writing and spelling techniques. It is also strongly impacted by motivational and attitudinal components.
High School: Many young teens entering high school may have been diagnosed or identified as an exceptional learner during elementary school. An updated, comprehensive educational assessment in grade-7 or 8 could determine whether the child made significant academic progress after receiving additional support, what areas require increased focus before high school and, perhaps most importantly, what academic high school program is best for the young teen.
For a variety of reasons, there are some children who will not be diagnosed or identified as exceptional learners in elementary school. Often, in the first or second year of high school, these individuals may begin to struggle academically. A teen who has experienced manageable academic difficulties in elementary school may suddenly find they are having significant difficulty at high school. As a person progresses to higher grades there will be greater emphasis on lecture as a primary mode of instruction. Consequently, it can be anticipated that a person who requires more time processing what they hear will experience increasing difficulty coping with their studies in high school or later, in college.
Similarly, a student who requires significant support to plan, organize and monitor their performance on a project or essay in elementary school, may not receive the same support at the high school level.
University/College: A learning disability does not prohibit a student from applying to and successfully completing a university degree or college diploma. It is clear that a psychological assessment could be useful to update past educational assessments for a student. More and more often we see adults seeking a university or college education as mature students. Often, such individuals KNEW they were capable in their youth but couldn’t demonstrate their ability at that time. Sophisticated test materials combined with knowledgeable psychological expertise can determine an adult’s ability, level of achievement and potential to succeed in the right academic program. Importantly, a psychologist or psychological associate can guide a student by providing useful recommendations for course selection and improved study habits.
Graduate School Applicants: Students with a history of a learning disability will require a psychological assessment or educational assessment that has been completed within the 2-years prior to their application. For example, persons who intend to sit for the MCAT, GRE or LSAT may require more time to complete the examination in order to be able to demonstrate their actual abilities. They may need to sit in a separate room in order to limit ambient noise. Whatever, their need at the time of the examination, a recent comprehensive psychological assessment is generally required to establish that such need exists.
What are some Common Signs of Learning Disabilities?
If parents, teachers, and other professionals understand a child’s learning difficulties early, they can provide the right kind of help that could give a child a chance to develop skills needed to lead a more successful education and productive life.
It is generally parents who are the first to notice that “something doesn’t seem right”. If you are aware of the common signs of learning disabilities, you will be able to recognize potential problems early. The following is a checklist of some characteristics that may point to a learning disability. Most people, will from time to time, see one or more of these warning signs in their children. This is normal. If, however, you see several of these characteristics over a long period of time, consider the possibility of learning disability.
Common Signs in Preschool
- Speaks later than most children
- Pronunciation problems
- Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word
- Difficult rhyming words
- Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colours, shapes
- Extremely restless and easily distracted
- Trouble interacting with peers
- Difficulty following directions or routines
- Fine motor
- skills slow to develop
Common Signs in Grades K-4
- Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds
- Confuses basic words (run, eat, want)
- Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d); inversions (m/w); transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home)
- Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs (+, -, x,=)
- Slow to remember facts
- Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization
- Impulsive, difficulty planning
- Unstable pencil grip
- Trouble learning about time
- Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents
Common Signs in Grades 5-8
- Reverses letter sequences (soiled/solid; left/felt)
- Slow to learn prefixes, suffixes, root words, and other spelling strategies
- Avoids reading aloud
- Trouble with word problems
- Difficulty with handwriting
- Awkward, fist-like, or tight pencil grip
- Avoids writing compositions
- Does not develop math fluency
- Slow or poor recall of facts
- Difficulty making friends
- Trouble understanding body language and facial expressions
- Significant social misinterpretation
Common Signs in High School, College & University
- Continues to spell incorrectly, frequently spells the same word differently in a single piece of writing
- Avoids reading and writing tasks
- Trouble summarizing
- Trouble with open-ended questions on tests
- Weak memory skills
- Difficulty adjusting to new settings
- Works slowly
- Poor grasp of abstract concepts
- Either pays too little attention to details or focuses on them too much
- Misreads information