Typically, the school psychologist will select a battery of tests to measure various areas of a child’s functioning. Additional specialists will administer tests that are outside the realm of academics and behavior. A speech pathologist will use speech and language tests. A nurse will screen for vision and hearing deficits. An occupational therapist will assess fine and gross motor functioning.
Behavioral functioning is assessed by standardized questionnaires completed by parents and the teacher. Academic achievement is assessed by a standardized test administered face-to-face to measure the grade level achieved by your child in a wide variety of academic skills.
In order to evaluate for a specific learning disorder, a child’s intellectual/cognitive ability must be measured. Some schools achieve this by administering an IQ test. However, decades ago, a court ruling found that IQ tests discriminated against African American children and resulted in too many African American students being inappropriately placed in special education based solely on IQ, causing most schools to abandon IQ tests. While nothing legally prohibits schools from using IQ tests to determine intelligence, most schools opt to use alternative tests to estimate cognitive ability.
School psychologists do not use test data to make a diagnosis of any disorder or disability. Results are used solely to determine eligibility, placement, and goals.