Educational assessments measure a child’s academic ability level in a range of areas including oral language, basic reading, reading comprehension and fluency, written expression, mathematics and maths fluency. An objective measurement tool is used to identify areas of academic strength and weakness. Results acquired through the assessment process provide an indicator of a child’s skill in a particular academic area compared to a normative age- or grade-matched sample.
Educational assessments with children are often considered necessary following cognitive assessments to determine whether a child is gifted in a learning area or may have a learning difficulty or disability.
Educational assessment tools are useful in the following areas:
- Identifying the level of academic skill in a particular area: Assessments can assist parents, teachers and children to better understand how their academic performance in the classroom setting affects their learning. The results can also help guide a teacher’s decision to provide extension activities or acceleration in particular subjects.
- Diagnosing specific learning disorders such as a reading or writing disability: Assessments can provide evidence for special provisions such as a scribe in formal school examination settings. It can also help identify which learning skills can be developed based on the individual's abilities and strengths while providing strategies to compensate for areas of difficulty.
- Assisting teachers and school counsellors to provide Individualised Education Plans (IEPs): Assessments can help teachers meet children’s specific learning needs during curriculum planning, special educational placements or clinical appraisals for children.
Educational assessments with children require the administration of standardised psychometric tools by experienced and accredited psychologists. These tools can assess various areas of academic skill, including:
- Reading: the ability to identify letters and sounds, reading comprehension and phonemic awareness
- Mathematics: the ability to answer arithmetic equations, solve mathematical problems and complete maths equations in a given time period
- Writing: the ability to spell and use written expression including sentence structure and idea formation
- Oral language: the ability to listen for details, reflect meaning and express oneself.
We commonly use the following educational assessment tool for a variety of purposes and age groups:
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test - Second Edition (WIAT-III, Australian Standard) for children who are aged 4 to 19 years, 11 months.
- This is commonly conducted in conjunction with the WISC-V for a comprehensive academic and cognitive assessment.