How to Evaluate a Child

Q. For an evaluation, it says the child must show progress. Since my special needs child is behind in several subjects, will that affect her evidence of progress?

A. Being behind in some subjects would be more evident on a standardized achievement test than on an evaluation.

When doing an evaluation, there are several ways an evaluator can determine if a child is “achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.” The evaluator, a licensed teacher in any state or person with a master’s degree in an academic discipline, can look at samples of the child’s work or develop a criterion referenced test.

Some evaluators will look at samples of the child’s work from the beginning of the year to the time of the evaluation. From the samples, he will be able to see if the child can do more now than at the beginning of the year. If so, progress has been made. The child is not compared to other students with greater or lesser abilities–only to himself.

Other evaluators could decide to give a test they create based on the level of work the child has completed, not necessarily the grade level. This is called a criterion referenced test. It’s developed by the evaluator specifically for your child.

It would be good to have a conference or phone interview with potential evaluators to determine the best method of evaluation.

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