SLD Screening Assessments
Full diagnostic assessments for Specific Learning Disorders (SLDs) such as dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia are time-consuming, typically taking two half days, and also reasonably costly (refer to Assessment Fees). In contrast, screening tools are comparatively quick and easy to administer, and will indicate the likelihood of the presence of an SLD. A screening assessment can act as a standalone appraisal, providing valuable knowledge in its own right, or as a precursor to a more in-depth analysis if desired.
A screening test will evaluate the likelihood of the presence of dyslexia. Opportunity Knocks uses GL Assessment's Dyslexia Portfolio for this purpose, a tool explicitly designed to identify children who are experiencing difficulties known to be associated with dyslexia.
The Portfolio measures literacy, memory and processing skills. It is administered together with tests of general cognitive ability, in the form of Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices Plus and the Mill Hill Vocabulary Scale. The Matrices assessment tool is a nonverbal measure of cognitive ability, while the Vocabulary Scale measures verbal knowledge.
Testing takes approximately two hours and yields a 'discrepancy index' score, ranging from 'no signs of dyslexia' to 'severe dyslexia'. The index score is calculated by comparing results to those obtained from students with an existing diagnosis of dyslexia. The summary report also highlights any strengths and weaknesses, important for developing a learning plan.
A screening test is often sufficient on its own to identify reasons for difficulty with reading, however it can be followed by a full assessment if that seems warranted. Generally it is recommended that the student first undergo a period of targeted intervention to see if performance improves.
To screen for dyscalculia, Opportunity Knocks uses diagnostic tests created by Steve Chinn, an expert in this field. Included are tests of short-term working memory and a non-verbal measure of reasoning ability. The tests give an estimation of number sense, general maths knowledge, and highlight cognitive factors that may be contributing to the disorder. Testing takes approximately two hours.
While a screening test is often sufficient on its own to identify reasons for difficulty with maths, it can be followed by a full assessment of cognitive profile and analysis of specific knowledge gaps, if that seems warranted.