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Types of Tests Should I Ask for?
am an advocate, not a psychologist. Therefore, I try to avoid suggesting
specific testing instruments to parents or their independent evaluators.
It is much more important that parents have faith that the evaluator
the parent has contracted with knows which testing instruments to
use with the child and that the parent understands the importance
of providing the proper information to the evaluator so that all of
the proper tests can be administered.
is not to say that parents and advocates should not try to understand
something about testing materials in general. It is helpful to understand
the difference between criterion-referenced
versus norm-referenced tests. It is also important for advocates
and parents to understand that testing instruments must have high
validity and be highly reliable. Last, it is important that parents
know that the validity of testing instruments is also dependent upon
the use of standardized representative samples. In other words, the
sample used to determine the norms for the test is made up of individuals
similar to those for whom the test is to be used. It is also best
for parents and advocates to know how to interpret test results using
parent or advocate can understand all of the above items, but they
must also understand their state's rules and laws that set the requirements
for testing special
example, Indiana requires that children who are being tested to determine
eligibility for a specific learning disability be tested in at least
the following areas:
Ability testing, i.e., IQ
511 I.A.C. 7-26-8 (b) (1), (2), and (3)
Please refer to 511 I.A.C. 7-26-8 (b) for other requirements.
advocates must advise parents that the independent evaluator is required
to assess all of these areas, as well. The last thing
an advocate should want is to have a parents' expensive independent
testing thrown out because it didn't meet all of the components required
by law, when the parent relied on the advocate's advice.
a student who is suspected of having some degree of mental retardation,
I must remember to tell the parent that for this category, Indiana
law does not require a classroom observation. However, I strongly
suggest that the parent request an observation anyway, because he
or she can obtain valuable information about how the child performs
in the classroom situation. Indiana requires at a minimum, the following
testing be administered for a child who is suspected of having mental
Ability testing, i.e., IQ
511 I.A.C. 7-26-9 (b) (1), (2), and (3).
Please refer to 511 I.A.C. 7-26-9 (b) for other requirements.
advocates take on the responsibility of representing to parents what
"types" of tests are required, then they also assume the
duty to ensure that the parent understands all of the requirements
under Indiana law.
the parent trusts the independent evaluator, he or she must trust
the evaluator's ability to determine the appropriate testing instrument
for the child. However, parents and advocates should not assume that
all independent evaluators understand each and every requirement under
Indiana law. Being able to provide parents with this type of knowledge
is part of what makes advocates such an important resource for parents
of special needs children. (That, as well as knowing which of the
independent evaluators is reputable and which are on the school's
"Changing the World -- One Child at at Time."
© 2005 Pat Howey