Educational Psychologists gather and analyse assessment information through Consultation and make decisions about the need for any additional assessment information in order to inform interventions. Assessment is a continuous process and involves gathering information beyond the level of the child. It may include direct work, such as:
For assessment to be of value it requires the following:
According to the ecological theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), everything within a child and his/her environment, affects the way they grow and develop. As such, assessment needs to consider the different systems around a child in order to provide support at the right time and in the right place. Educational Psychologists support single and multi-agency assessments in line with GIRFEC principles and practices.
Dynamic Assessment considers how the child solves problems and the learning processes they use. It focuses on what the child can do independently and with adult support (mediation) by exploring the underlying cognitive skills. The process can also identify which cognitive strategies require strengthening and what form of assistance works best. Consideration of learning behaviours is also possible.
Example of CAT-M assessment tool
Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP)
The CAP draws upon developmental psychology concepts, such as Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development as well as the work of Feuerstein and Lidz in the field of Dynamic Assessment. It is essentially a consultation/observation framework which is jointly completed by the people who know the pupil best and explores 3 elements: the student, the mediator (helper) and the task. The Educational Psychologist, along with input from teachers and parents/carers, analyse aspects of curriculum tasks and a pupil’s approach to these tasks, without necessarily directly assessing the pupil. Each section of the CAP is designed to assess one of these components:
- Section A – Cognitive abilities of the learner
- Section B – Response to teaching and mediation
- Section C – Analysis of the task
These sections are then analysed to produce a ‘Learning Plan’ with identified strategies for promoting success and defining clear cognitive targets which are evaluated over time.