A Sample Assessment and Psychological Report
After completing a psychological assessment, a school psychologist will write a report that summarizes the test scores. This report may be mailed to the student's home so that parents can see the results before the meeting that will be held to discuss the test results. This meeting gives parents and teachers the opportunity to learn about a child's strengths and weaknesses and what can be done to help maximize his learning.
Psychological reports vary widely. They may be as short as three pages or as long as twenty pages or even more. Many reports include tables of scores, which may be integrated in the report or attached at the end. Despite the many variations in psychologists' reports, most of them include the following essential information:
- Assessment procedures
- Referral and background information
- General observations and impressions
- Test results and interpretations
- Summary and recommendations
In most psychological reports, there is a section in which the school psychologist lists the tests and other assessment measures that were used in the evaluation, which may include cognitive, processing, or achievement tests; behavioral rating scales completed by parents, teachers, or the child; or classroom observations. The section might look like this:
Woodcock-Johnson III NU Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ III NU Cog.)
Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS)
Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration, Fifth Edition (VMI-5)
Woodcock-Johnson III NU Tests of Achievement (WJ III Ach. NU)
Test of Written Language, Fourth Edition (TOWL-4)
Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition: Teacher Rating Scales (BASC-2: TRS)
Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition: Parent Rating Scales (BASC-2: PRS)
Children's Depression Inventory (CDI)
Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale, Second Edition (Piers-Harris 2)
Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale, Second Edition (RCMAS-2)
Referral and Background Information
A psychological report includes a section that describes the reasons for the referral and relevant background information. If a child is having behavior problems and her parents have recently divorced, for example, this information will be included. It is important to know about any environmental factors that might explain a child's unusual behaviors or sudden drop in grades. A school will list the number of absences, tardies, office referrals, and days suspended, if applicable, as well as current grades.
School districts may use their own background information form to collect data on developmental milestones, behavior at home, hobbies, others who live in the home, and so on. Often, this form does not provide a comprehensive assessment of a child's background, so a school psychologist may supplement it with a form such as the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition: Structured Developmental History (BASC-2: SDH). The BASC-2: SDH is a twelve-page history and background questionnaire that is completed by parents or other caregivers. It provides a thorough review of a child's developmental, educational, medical, psychological, and social history. While it may take parents some time to fill it out, it is an excellent source of information. On many occasions, by including this questionnaire, we have obtained helpful information that parents forgot to provide in other paperwork or even in an interview. Some parents do not wish to share certain information; we understand that. We offer parents the opportunity to share personal information via telephone rather than including it on a form that many people may see.
Here is an example of how background information might be presented in a psychological report:
Mary was referred for a psychological evaluation because she made little academic progress during this past school year. She also appears sad at times and does not interact much with her friends at school.
Information concerning Mary's developmental progress, birth history, school history, and behavior at home was provided by her parents on the Student Support Team's background form. No problems during Mary's birth were reported. Major developmental milestones were reported to have been reached within normal time ranges. Her parents indicated that she broke her femur at age four and had to wear a body cast for fourteen weeks. They also indicated on a brief behavior checklist that Mary can be trusted, acts younger than other children her age, is overly dependent on others, is restless, and is easily frustrated.
School records indicate that Mary had two excused absences because of illnesses this school year, as well as two unexcused tardies. She has no office referrals or suspensions. Mary attended preschool and repeated kindergarten. Her grades for the last marking period were all C's except for a B in art. Mary's written work is poorly developed, and she has difficulty with sequencing a story. When Mary works with her teacher and is prompted, her story is quite a bit better and more consistent with appropriate grade-level work.
Mary passed her vision and hearing screenings on 05/04/10. The screenings were completed by the school nurse.