Testing remains to be such a mystery for most people. It's a challenging process, especially if one is unaware of what will happen during testing or assessment. But that's reasonable considering that not all parents are statisticians or educated about it.
Today, we'll shed light on that mystery as we talk about what our kid's testing means and how you can use it to help them improve their behaviors and school and social performance.
What does testing mean, and how does it help?
Data plays a crucial role in your kid's progress. First, it shows whether or not there is progress in your kid's education.
The primary purpose of a good evaluation is not just limited to helping you understand what's going on but also guiding you on what remediation, support, or accommodations they need.
There are two kinds of evaluations that we are going to talk about today – private evaluation and school evaluation. A private evaluation tells you whether your kid is eligible for services. It identifies different strengths and weaknesses.
On the other hand, some schools use evaluations to determine if you need accommodations. They use it to determine whether or not your kid is learning. The school is not obligated to tell you if your child can qualify for services and why they can give you highlights on strengths and needs.
Don't let a school talk about the program first.
Here's a big tip for everyone – don't let a school talk about the program first. Instead, define what the needs are and then design the program. For some reason, they would always try to push your kid into doing the program.
It would be best if you had a good basic understanding of what your kid's strengths and weaknesses are to educate them. That's why it helps to get tested – whether through mastery tests, group-administered IQ tests, IQ tests, or even academic tests – because you'll understand what the numbers mean and the stats.
What do evaluations tell you?
Although anyone can give your kid a test, it takes a skilled person to interpret it. Evaluations tell you how disabilities affect your kid, how they fall on the continuum, and give you a learning profile.
Visualizing the variability in percentile rank scores.
A school professional will say that percentile rank is where your child is among a hypothetical group of 100 people. However, schools love to use standardized scores, and not percentile ranks. The reason for that is that percentile ranks show a lot more data.
Schools talk about great equivalence infrequently and usually leave parents curious. To better visualize it, an example situation is where everything is at least average, and you have such variability. There are even superior scores, but their percentile ranks range from 25th to the 99th percentile.
It is important data as it shows that someone is at a certain rank for their cognitive efficiency. In addition, it gives us a window into a lot of variability in our kids' processing.
You can also ask for more testing if you need more than the previous one. For example, more comprehensive tests provide better and more sufficient data components.
Usually, for percentile ranking, the ranks are considered as the basis for standard scores. When your kid falls outside the percentile ranks, this is where remediation can come into play. Standard deviation is essential because it helps us understand where they fall relative to the average.
How do we use these tests to make educational decisions?
We use these tests to measure our kids' abilities objectively to help us understand their strengths and weaknesses for program placement. The biggest tip I can give you in terms of helping you is for you to organize the data. Be careful about what data is presented to you since that's important in getting your kid the right kind of programming.
When we look at one test as a standalone and not in comparison to other similar tests, we won't be able to show the lack of progress. And we all know we need to use data to show progress or the lack thereof to get program changes.
Don't be afraid of the data. Instead, own it, learn more about it, and understand your kids' difficulties.
If you're interested and serious about creating positive change for your kids and your family, you can check out our programs and join our small community.
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