Our assessment for school age children includes tests of intellectual skills (usually the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - WISC III, or the British Ability Scales - BAS II) and assessments of academic achievement in literacy and numeracy. The results are analysed and a full formal report is prepared that includes the main findings and recommendations for meeting educational needs. Where appropriate, the report will include an action plan to give parents and teachers guidance on what special arrangements should be included in the child's education program.
Formal assessment by a competent professional is important at this stage of a child's education as the evaluation is used by a number of other professionals, including teachers, doctors and the social services, to produce a single, agreed overview of the child's capabilities and developmental progress. It is also referred to in the development of future plans, IEP's, IBP's and interventions, and needs to be in a format clearly understood by all parties.
Part of the reason that such assessments can take more time than expected is due to the comprehensive nature of the approaches used in the assessment. Family factors, teaching practices, peer groups and other factors all need to be considered. Also, assessment is likely to be an ongoing process rather than a single snapshot at one point in time, and we usually recommend observations over an agreed minimum period.