The Psychological Assessment Clinic provides assessment services to the communities surrounding the University. Some common reasons for assessment include (but are by no means limited to)
Evaluations consist of three parts over two visits to the clinic
During the interview, the client is asked a number of questions regarding medical history, development as a child, educational history, and current problems and challenges. If the client is a child, the child’s caregivers may be the most important source of historical information, and depending on the child's age, both caregivers and child may need to be present during the interview. Getting a thorough history is essential to understanding current functioning.
For this reason, we ask that the client or caregiver bring any available medical records, educational transcripts, or results of previous testing, or that these be forwarded to the clinic.
Most clients enjoy the tests as interesting, challenging tasks. Almost always, testing includes:
Depending on the reason for the visit, the client may also be administered tests of attention and concentration, memory, or neuropsychological functioning. If the client is a child, we may ask the caregivers or the child’s teacher to complete some ratings of the child’s typical behavior.
Children often leave assessments with a boost in self-esteem, having been praised and encouraged for their hard work and persistence. Most children thrive on the completion of challenging tasks, which range from problems they can solve easily to more difficult activities. Children also enjoy the interaction with an attentive and encouraging adult. Many of the activities are game-like, and there are breaks for a snack, exercise, and checking in with caregivers if necessary.
The child's caregiver knows best how to tell the child what to expect of the visit so it will be pleasant and comfortable. Some children need reassurance, others do not. We suggest, however, that the caregiver neither tell the child that the object of the visit is to 'play'. Often, if they are told that the purpose is to 'take tests', it may set up unrealistic expectations or cause unnessary anxiety.
The child should expect to be working with a person who likes children and who has interesting activities to do (mostly at a table). He or she can also expect the caregiver to be nearby and available for a visit if needed. Older children and adolescents, particularly those with previous testing experience, can be approached with more straightforward information about the purpose of the evaluation.
We have specific Procedures for evaluating learning disabilities and attention disorders. Success in college work requires many skills and abilities:
Learning problems can arise from difficulty in one or more of these areas. Evaluations are correspondingly complex; they typically include the following procedures:
Interview: To get the most thorough understanding of a given learning problem we gather information about academic, developmental, and medical history; current adjustment to school life, including social support, and study habits. We also request copies of counseling and previous educational evaluations.
Ability Testing: Tests of ability give a good estimate of aptitude for the cognitive demands of work or school. They provide information on cognitive strengths and weaknesses. We usually standardized Intelligence Scales. Alternative tests are sometimes used, depending upon the student’s facility with English or prior experience with ability tests.
Achievement Testing: Achievement tests tell us what basic skills the client has acquired. At a minimum, we usually examine basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation and reasoning skills, and written expression. We commonly use the best standardized Tests of Achievement.
Memory Testing: Memory Problems sometimes account for learning difficulties. We may evaluate immediate and delayed memory for both visually and orally presented information using the Wechsler Memory Scales and the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, two widely applied tests for these purposes.
Attention and Concentration: Attentional deficits (characteristic of ADHD) can interfere with in-class learning, notetaking, sustained work, and study skills. Many of the tests listed above demand sustained attention. We sometimes administer supplemental tests to evaluate attention, such as the Continuous Performance Test.
Personality Testing: Personality testing can point to emotional difficulties that are interfering with academic or job performance. We often use one or more of : the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, the NEO Personality Inventory, or the Beck Depression Inventory-II.