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Garga

How to prepare for psychoeducational testing?

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My 11th grade ds has ADHD and some processing issues and a few other odds and ends.  He hasn’t been officially tested yet, however.  This year, I realized he needed to be tested and I realized that he’ll probably need accommodations for the SAT that he’s taking later in the year.  I was originally thinking he needed testing for college accommodations and that I had time, but with the SAT coming up, I realized we need to get the testing done right away.  (The main accommodation I believe he needs is for extra time on tests.)

So, on Tuesday he is scheduled to have some testing done at the local public school with their school psychologist.  The school psychologist looked over the suggested tests from College Board and indicated that while they might not do the “exact” tests named on the College Board website, they’d be doing the equivalent.  She said, “Sounds like he needs a full workup.”  (Or something to that effect.)

I don’t have the exact names of the tests my son will have, and I’m not sure exactly what each of the tests on College Board tests for, so I’m asking: what should my son expect when he is having testing for academic accommodations?

Is there anything I should tell him to do to prepare?  My son is VERY non-talkative.  If you ask him something, he gives the shortest possible answer.  He’s like a cowboy that just says, “E-yup,” to everything and never expounds.  He’s a sweetie pie, but not verbal.  Should I tell him to try to talk a bit...or is it better to let him just give his simple answers?  Are the tests anything that require talking at all?  

I’m just nervous that he’ll have the testing done, and then we’ll realize, “Oh my goodness!  You should have been talking and expounding on X instead of just saying one-word answers and now the tests are all messed up.”  Or something like that.  I just don’t know.  (Obviously...I’m sure you can tell I don’t know what I’m talking about.)

Is there any prep you give a kid whose taking these kinds of tests, or do they just go in cold?  

 

Here’s what tests College Board says to have done:

Students with Learning Disorders or ADHD

When requesting testing accommodations for students with learning disorders or ADHD, include scores from both timed and extended time or untimed tests. The following tests are commonly used to measure a student's academic skills in timed settings (the edition current at time of testing should be used):

Wechsler Individual Achievement Test

Nelson-Denny Reading Test

Test of Written Language

Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests

Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement

Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults

Edited by Garga

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I don't know anything about SAT accommodations testing. Youngest DS (now 20) had a full psycho-educational evaluation done when he was around 17. His was done by a private practice psychologist. He's gifted and on the spectrum and is very much like your son--sweet and easygoing but usually sees no reason to use two words if one will do. But we didn't do anything to prepare him other than general encouragement to do his best, that we thought it would be interesting for him, etc. DH and I met with the psychologist in advance to go over our concerns, so we had the benefit of knowing that DS wouldn't be intimidated by her. He actually enjoyed the testing and did find it interesting. The school psychologist is no doubt used to working with all types, so hopefully she'll know how to get what she needs from him.

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It would be nice if they'd run some language testing to see if there's a reason why he's not so talkative.

And yes, I agree that the psych will have it under control. Your ds will just show up. You probably won't be in the room. The psych is watching how the dc responds just as much as he is gathering the info for the scores. He's able to compare that to how other kids would act in that setting and get information.

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9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

It would be nice if they'd run some language testing to see if there's a reason why he's not so talkative.

And yes, I agree that the psych will have it under control. Your ds will just show up. You probably won't be in the room. The psych is watching how the dc responds just as much as he is gathering the info for the scores. He's able to compare that to how other kids would act in that setting and get information.

Expanding on that (I wholeheartedly agree), here are my favorites (be sure to get the right age-range):

Test of Narrative Language
Test of Problem Solving

I would also want to consider some kind of adaptive behavior stuff too due to EF difficulties.

Be aware when you go through the school that you'll probably agree ahead of time what to test and how to test it--it's important to get that meeting right and to be sure you're getting all the testing you want. Some states have checklists in various categories, and you will want to be sure you understand how they categorize things--for instance, a lot of stuff is under speech that you might not realize would be, like social stuff.

You should be able to google your state's department of education and see all the applicable forms (blank versions), and also see the format of the IEP/504 documents.  You might try to google a John Doe version that's filled out--the IDEA website might have something generic for that. 

I would be prepared to share both concerns and examples of how those concerns affect his life and his schooling--connecting the dots for them. 

Edited by kbutton
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For the testing, don't worry about the short one-word answers affecting the test scores.

First, that might not be figured into whatever testing they are doing.

Secondly, if it is part of the test, the fact that he gives terse answers is an important factor and should be noted by the psychologist. Because the point of the testing is to explore his strengths and weaknesses, and if being able to answer questions with elaboration is a weakness, it is okay for that to show up on the tests.

Thirdly, DS14 gives one-word answers, and it is noted as a problem for him, and learning to elaborate on answers (both orally and written) is in his IEP, and he gets intervention for it. It is considered an important skill, not only for academics but for success in employment (for example, doing well in a job interview is essential for obtaining a job to begin with).

So it really may be something for you to work on, and if so, it's good for it to show up in the reports and for you to know to target that skill.

There are plenty of people who are not talkers who end up doing well in life and employment, so it depends on how extreme the problem is. For my son, it is intervention-level extreme. For your son, perhaps it just means he is on the quiet side but that he has the resources to talk when needed, as in an interview or other essential communication. If intervention is needed, it's really better for you to know now and still have some time to work on it. It is something that some speech therapists could address (DS's school SLP seems on top of it for him), if you need to seek some outside help.

But don't worry about how to prepare him for testing. Your part is explaining what is happening, and telling him he doesn't need to be nervous, and making sure he sleeps well.

It sounds like your school psych is planning to run a standard set of tests. It's okay if you don't have the names, as long as you expressed your full set of concerns and they agreed to test for all of them (hopefully they had you sign a form listing the areas they will test). Our psychs did not tell us all of the names of the tests they would run.

But once you know the names of the tests and the scores, if you want, you can post about the results here. Some people on the boards have insight into what results can mean, due to having experience with having their own kids tested.

Don't be shocked if you see some lower scores and ask, "What does this mean?" and find that the school psych can't give great answers. We've found that some school psychs are better at the explaining than others. Some can run the tests and tell you whether the scores are high or low but can't tell you what is causing the scores to be high or low. Others are better. I hope your psych is really great!

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Also, in case the psych didn't mention this, she will not give you scores on the same day. You will need a follow up meeting for that. Your son is old enough to go to the meeting and hear everything she has to say. You can verify whether she requests for him to be there, or whether it is his choice. Our school expects students in high school to attend those meetings along with the parents.

Also, it's a great idea for both you and your husband to go to hear about the results, if possible. Sometimes one person thinks of a question the other might not. And sometimes it helps to have two people listening, because one might remember something in a different way than the other.

DH and I always discuss things after meetings like this. We prefer to both be able to discuss the info that we heard first hand, instead of one of us explaining it to the other.

Edited by Storygirl
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