An assessment is vital to gathering information about your child to make decisions on how best to assist him or her on their areas of weakness. As a result, they are a crucial part of the IEP process. Some of your children will soon have a triennial IEP or an IEP where you have requested a current assessment. Either way, it’s time to pull out the prior assessments and review the Standard Scores before your child’s next IEP. I bring this up now because it’s important to review where your child’s abilities were one year ago or three years ago, in order to see if they’ve improved or declined in their areas of weakness. In addition to that, you also have to look out for new areas of weakness; for example, they might have been in the average range for reading fluency 3 years ago, but currently they might be in the low average range.
In order to understand how to read assessment results, I will briefly review Standard Scores.
Standard Scores are based on a mean (average) of 100 and a standard deviation of 15 + or -
<69 Well below average
80-89 Low Average
90-109 Average Range
110-119 High Average
>130 Very Superior
Once you have your child’s numbers, you will have to apply them to the bell curve. For example, if your child’s Standard Score for reading fluency was 100 three years ago, but now it’s an 85, your child fell 1 Standard Deviation. Remember, 1 Standard Deviation can be + or – 15 points. As you see from the previous ranges I listed, your child fell into the low average range for that particular assessment. The decline in Standard Scores should be a red flag to you that your child is not accessing curriculum, therefore, changes need to made to their IEP. You might have to alter the existing goals, add new ones or change the methodology used to teach your child. Especially if your child’s Standard Scores were previously in the Low Average to Borderline range!
So dust off those previous assessments and start highlighting those areas where your child was already struggling in and be an active participate in the IEP process. Don’t forget needs drive goals and goals drive services, so if your adding goals to your child’s IEP, make sure there are enough services to help your child achieve all the new goals.