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Best Practices in Dyslexia Assessment

Best Practices in Dyslexia Assessment

Dyslexia affects people in myriad ways, so professional evaluators must engage deeply with the growing body of literacy research and educational opportunities throughout their careers. Based on the recommendations of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the American Psychological Association, and the International Dyslexia Association, we’ve developed Tests of Dyslexia (TOD™).

Engage in Ongoing Professional Development

The increasing pace of evidence-based changes in assessments and best practices necessitates that educators and evaluators participate in ongoing professional development activities. First and foremost, seek out opportunities for specific training, particularly partnerships or mentorships with veteran evaluators. Connecting with more veteran colleagues allows for conversations and training in the administration and purposes of assessments in your particular evaluatory context, from the courtroom and the classroom to the assessment clinic.

Additionally, attend to the research on the assessments you select. Researchers are constantly reviewing the most popular assessments available, seeking new studies on the validity, reliability, and suitability of your evaluations for your population.  Similarly, investigate technological advancements in evaluation and assessment, such as telehealth options and best practices for technology integration in your practice.

Use Comprehensive Assessment Methodologies

Dyslexia is an incredibly complex learning disability, although often oversimplified in popular culture. As a result, best practices demand that evaluators use multiple sources of information for a valid diagnosis and effective intervention plan. Assessors should gather this data from several measures in a range of settings. Additionally, pay particular attention to the child’s developmental level and the predictive capabilities of the assessments. The categories for a complete dyslexia screening should include the following:

  • Oral language
  • Orthographic and phonological awareness
  • Memory
  • Processing speed
  • Word reading
  • Automaticity, or Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN)
  • Reading fluency
  • Spelling and writing
  • Listening and reading comprehension

Pay Attention to Fairness and Diversity

Your students and their families have come to you for help, so work to improve your cultural awareness and practice self-reflection. Before administering an assessment, identify your biases and seek to reduce them and their impact on your work so your results are more valid and your interventions more effective.

Next, collaborate with your colleagues to rework organizational processes and policies that may disadvantage minority populations. Then, take action to connect with your students and clients: Seek out knowledge of their cultures, and then adapt your assessment choices and methodologies to meet their needs.

Communicate With All Stakeholders

As the expert, you are responsible for communicating clearly and consistently with everyone involved in the assessment process. Before you begin, educate individuals, families, and other professionals about the assessment process, then keep them apprised of results, interpretations, and recommendations in a timely fashion. Write these details in accessible language with your audience in mind.

According to the Health Insurance Portability Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, you must ensure that all student and client data and personal information remain protected by appropriate security measures. Relay your security measures to all stakeholders to ensure privacy and professional integrity.

WPS offers individual and group training opportunities through webinars, workshops, and our online learning management system. Learn more about how to help kids in school using our dyslexia screening tools today.

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