Assessments can be undertaken at a weekend [Saturday or Sunday] during school term-time, on any day [weekday or weekend] during the school holidays, or – if necessary – on a weekday after school. An assessment normally takes around three and a half hours to complete – sometimes longer depending on individual requirements – so it is usually impractical to undertake it in full after a day at school when a child is likely to be tired. We often find it is more practical to divide an assessment into two shorter after-school sessions, as most children are able to cope with this without any adverse effects.
What will happen before/during the assessment?
We find assessment results to be more reliable when a child works independently with the assessor. This is a less inhibiting and stressful experience than being ‘on show’. We would respectfully ask a parent to return after the time allotted for an assessment.
After time spent putting the child at ease, a series of tests will be undertaken to look at specific skills and any potential weaknesses. These will be a mix of informal and formal standardised assessments. The assessor will be looking for a particular profile or pattern of results that suggest a dyslexic difficulty. If there are any other reasons for reading or spelling problems, we will also examine that. Answers to questionnaires completed by parents and teachers before the assessment will provide invaluable additional background information.
Will the assessment be difficult?
Most children will say that they have had fun doing the assessment! The tests used are not ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, and children will be continually reassured as they go through the assessment process.
How will my child feel about the assessment?
Please be reassured that children will not be made to feel inadequate in any way. Great care will be taken to maintain their confidence, boost their self-esteem and make the whole experience an enjoyable one!
What will happen after the assessment?
The assessor will briefly ask your child which test they enjoyed most and whether they found any particularly difficult. In gaining and giving feedback to a child, particular focus will be on what s/he did well in the assessment. At this point, the tests will not have been marked and analysed, so it will not be possible to give definitive results of the assessment. If the subsequent report confirms that a child does have a dyslexic difficulty, there can be a sense of relief and the whole assessment procedure can be very positive. Children, in particular, find it helpful to understand that their difficulties are not generalised, but specific, and that given the right help and support, they can learn strategies to improve skills.
Will I receive a written report?
Yes. You will receive a detailed report of the assessment results, what they mean and any recommendations for further help. The report will usually be around ten pages long, with a two page recommended teaching programme. There will be a summary table of standardised test scores, followed by details of the tests undertaken, with implications of test results. Some of these details can seem quite technical, but we strive at all times to minimise jargon and make the report as ‘user-friendly’ as possible!
Recommendations will be made as to the kinds of teaching programmes and resources that will help with a specific learning difficulty. This will include an overview of the approach that is required, as well as attachments and descriptions both in the body of the report and as appendices. You will be provided with both an electronic ‘PDF’ and a printed copy of the report. Additional printed copies of the report can be provided at a small extra charge.
Will there be any recommendations for Examination Access Arrangements?
Yes, if appropriate. There may be recommendations for extra time and/or other examination access arrangements. Please refer to the exam access arrangements section for further details.