If your child is having academic, emotional or behavioural difficulties at school a Learning Assessment can be helpful because:
- It helps determine what the problem is and why it is happening.
- It allows us to find the most effective way of helping them.
- The report from the assessment can be used to apply for exam accommodations such as extra time.
Is it an IQ test?
The assessments tools we use are sometimes called ‘IQ tests’. We don’t like this term because a single number such as an ‘IQ score’ rarely tells us enough about a child. What’s more useful is understanding the pattern of their strengths and difficulties. If we know their learning profile we can help the child use their strengths to compensate for their difficulties.
Psychologists usually call the assessments a ‘Cognitive Assessment’, a ‘Neuro-psychological assessment’ or a ‘Learning Assessment’.
What happens in a ‘Learning Assessment’?
This depends very much on what is causing concern but we tend to divide assessments into two main types.
- Assessments where the primary concern is that your child is not performing as well as they should academically.
- Assessments where behaviour, attention or emotional difficulties are also a concern.
All assessments will include the following:
- An interview with you as the parents or carers. We’ll ask questions to help understand what the problem is and gather relevant background information.
- A discussion between us and your child to get their opinion of the problem
- An assessment with your child using specialist psychometric tools only available to registered practitioner psychologists. This usually takes between two and four hours. It may be done over several sessions if it is difficult for your child to concentrate or if it takes time for them to relax.
- A feedback meeting with parents or carers to explain the findings of the assessment. During this session we will explain why we think your child is having difficulty and give specific recommendations to help them.
- Feedback to your child (if agreed to by parents) to explain the assessment findings.
- A written report which is valid internationally and can be used to apply for exam accommodations where appropriate.
- A written report which describes:
- the child’s history and a summary of the problems that they are facing
- what happened in the assessment
- the findings and an explanation of what they mean
- clear recommendations.
Assessments in which behaviour, attention or emotional difficulties are also a concern may also include the following:
- Longer more detailed discussions with parents and carers.
- A discussion with teachers (if agreed to by parents) to understand their observations of your child.
- Observations of your child at school and other relevant situations.
- Additional psychometric assessments in order to understand them more clearly.
- Feedback to teachers (if agreed to by parents) to explain why your child might have difficulty and to discuss with them how they might be able to help your child.
- A more in-depth report exploring different options for supporting them.
How will my child feel about doing an ‘Assessment’?
The words ‘assessment’ or ‘test’ tend to make children nervous. Instead of using these words we explain that we’ll be doing some tasks to help understand how they learn. Most children will still feel anxious at the beginning of an assessment. They’ll usually be meeting me for the first time and it may still seem like a ‘test’ situation to them.
Our aim is to get the very best performance out of a child. So we won’t continue an assessment if we think a child is too anxious. We usually spend time helping them relax before we start.
The advantage of the assessment tools that we use is that they are designed in such a way that a child experiences much more success than failure (we end a task when the child finds it too difficult). Many of the tasks are quite different from what they do at school. We may be moving blocks around to match a pattern or looking at patterns to decide which comes next.
What happens after an ‘Assessment’?
It is our aim to help you develop a plan that will help you help your child. We will look at all the data we have gathered; including the test scores,
Sometimes we will be able to guide you to implement these changes yourself. On other occasions we will refer you to the appropriate specialists who will be able to help you implement those changes. On rarer occasions we may suggest that we need to assist in devising and supporting the plan for your child. We always aim to do this collaboratively with you.
We will send you a full report that explains the assessment and describes each of the recommendations that we have made. The formal way of writing a Psychological Report means that they are often 8 to 12 pages long. We know that it might be difficult to get teachers or tutors to read such a long report so we always include a one page summary of the main issues.
If you are studying at an International School or International University you can use our report to apply for Exam Access Arrangements. If the assessment results supports a recommendation it is possible to apply for accommodations such as extra time, a laptop, scribe or a separate room.
Where can I get an Assessment?
We conduct assessments for school age children, university students and adults.
We do have tests for children as young as three years old but we tend to find them too unreliable in Malaysia. If your child is yet to attend school we can meet to talk through their problems and decide on some strategies that you can use to support them.
Unfortunately, the assessment tools that psychologists use have not been adapted to Malaysia. It is, therefore, necessary to use assessments from overseas. We use British versions of the assessment tools.
Our assessments are most appropriate for children who prefer speaking in English or children who are attending schools where they are required to learn in English.
How much does a Learning Assessment Cost?
Assessments can be quite costly due to:
- the length of time it takes to do the assessment
- the cost of the assessment tools (the company that makes them requires that you pay for each assessment) and
- the time it takes to write a proper report.
The fee for an assessment with Athena is RM2,800.
Universiti Kembangsaan Malaysia (UKM) in Kuala Lumpur, has a Health Psychology Clinic which does a briefer version of the learning assessment for a much more affordable rate. You can find out more information via their website.
Please contact Vivian to arrange an appointment. You can call or send a WhatsApp message to 012 5089910. You can also email Vivian at firstname.lastname@example.org.