Frequently Asked Questions

 

What types of students do school psychologists assess?     

Do school psychologists diagnoses ADHD?

What do the scores in the psychoeducational report mean?    

Do school psychologists provide counseling services in the schools?    

How do I refer my child for testing?

Where can I obtain additional information regarding my child's disability?

 

WHAT TYPES OF STUDENTS DO SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS ASSESS?

School psychologists evaluate children between the of ages 2 through 21 years of age for potential special education services in the areas of autism, deaf-blindness, developmental delay, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment/deafness, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, severe disabilities, traumatic brain injury, and visual impairment. In order to qualify for special education services, an Eligibility Committee must determine that a student has an educational disability AND that the disability impairs school functioning.Back to top 
 

DO SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS DIAGNOSE ADHD?

School psychologists observe behaviors and collect data from parents and teachers that may suggest ADHD symptomotology. School psychologists DO NOT diagnose ADHD.  Portsmouth Public Schools requires a medical diagnosis of ADHD in order to consider classification.  You may wish to contact your family physician to obtain additional information regarding ADHD diagnosis .Back to top
 

WHAT DO SCORES IN THE PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL REPORT MEAN?

Most of the instruments used by school psychologists are norm-referenced. That means that an individuals' performance is compared to that of his or her peers. Scores on norm-referenced tests indicate the student’s ranking relative to a national group of same-age peers. Typical scores used with norm-referenced tests include:

Standard Scores - Standard scores indicate how far above or below the average an individual score falls. Standard scores can be used to compare individuals from different grades or age groups because all scores are converted to the same numerical scale.  Standard scores typically have a mean (average) of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. Therefore, most individuals score within the range of 85 to 115  (A T-score is a standard score that has an average of 50 and a standard deviation of ten. A Scaled score is a standard score that has an average of 10 and a standard deviation of 3).  Most intelligence tests and many achievement tests use some type of standard score.

In summary, Standard Scores between 85 and 115 are considered Average, T-Scores between 40 and 60 are considered Average and Scaled Scores between 7 and 13 are Average.

Percentiles  - A percentile is a score that indicates the rank of the student compared to others (same age or same grade), using a hypothetical group of 100 students. A percentile of 50, for example, indicates that a student’s test performance equals or exceeds 50 out of 100 students on the same measure.  A percentile rank of 50 can also be described as a child scoring equal to or better than 50% of his peers. Percentile ranks are not the same as percentages. In fact, a percentile rank of 50 is considered average.

Age/Grade Equivalents - Age and grade equivalents indicate that the student has attained the same score (NOT skill level) as an average student of that age or grade. For example, if a student obtained a grade equivalent of 3.8 on a reading comprehension test, this means that he/she obtained the same score as the typical student in the eighth month of the third grade. The student may or may not have acquired the same skills as a typical third grader. For example, Student A may obtain 15 correct responses on a subtest but get only lower skill items correct. Student B may obtain 15 correct responses on a subtest but may have answered 5 of those items on a more difficult level. However, both students would receive the same grade equivalent. Therefore, the grade equivalent does not tell us about the level of difficulty of the items. It would be unfair to say that both Student A and Student B were achieving equally because Student B obtained correct answers on more difficult items and Student A did not. Because they mean different things on different tests and because they often exaggerate small differences in performance, age and grade equivalents are easily misunderstood. Back to top
 

DO SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS PROVIDE COUNSELING SERVICES IN THE SCHOOLS?

Counseling services may be provided by a variety of sources within the school system. School Psychologists are only one of those sources. School counseling services are provided to both general education and special education students, on a short-term basis, with the goal of helping children meet the demands of the learning environment. Some School Psychologists conduct counseling groups in areas such as divorce, bereavement, anger management, and social skills. School psychologists may also provide individual counseling to students requiring assistance in their special education placement. School Psychologists can also provide information regarding resources in the community if your child requires more intensive therapy.
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HOW DO I REFER MY CHILD FOR TESTING?

Contact the Child Study Chairperson at the school your child attends. A meeting regarding your child’s strengths and weaknesses may be conducted to discuss issues pertaining to your child’s education. The goal of Child Study is to determine additional interventions that will help your child succeed in the general education classroom so that he/she can have equal access to the general education curriculum. If however, a disability is suspected and regular interventions are not successful, the Committee will refer your child for testing to determine if he/she is eligible for Special Education Services.  Back to top
 

WHERE CAN I OBTAIN ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING MY CHILD'S DISABILITY?

Please visit the PPS Special Education/Parent Resource Center at (757) 393-8791 or contact the PPS Special Education Department at (757) 393-8658 or (757) 393-5093. You may also wish to visit our suggested Useful Links to obtain information regarding specific topics.  Back to top  

I nformation was taken from the Gloucester County Public Schools, Psychological Services   webpage. Additional information was added by the Page Manager.