What is a Cognitive / IQ Assessment?
A cognitive or IQ assessment involves a series of different activities to help identify a child’s specific learning style, strengths and areas of need. This knowledge helps to generate suitable recommendations for teachers, parents and other professionals that are used to meet those learning needs of school aged children.
The learning profile generated by an assessment conveys a great deal of information about a child, both educationally and behaviourally. Firstly, the assessment generates scores known as an IQ score. This can also be regarded as an estimate of the child’s general cognitive ability and can be used to help understand and predict how a child will function in a school context. Secondly, observations can increase understanding as to how a child approaches tasks, reacts to failure and praise, and their general attitude towards learning.
Cognitive assessments may be used to address a variety of questions commonly asked by parents such as:
Is my child exhibiting any particular cognitive difficulties or impairments?
Is my child gifted?
Does my child have problems with memory?
Does my child have processing difficulties?
Types of Cognitive Assessment Tools
The main assessment used to measure general cognitive abilities is the Wechsler Scales. The choice of scale is determined by the child’s age. For children who are between the ages of 2 years, 6 months to 7 years, 7 months, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence 4th Edition (WPPSI-IV) is used. For children/adolescents aged between 6-18 years, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) is used. Both tools provide information about a child’s general IQ (or ‘intelligence’) as well as specific areas of intellectual strength and needs. It is the particular areas of strength and needs (the learning profile) that reveals the most helpful information as opposed to just getting a general IQ score.
The assessment reports contain detailed and comprehensive information about the results of the assessment, your child’s background information, developmental history, previous assessments, prior interventions, observations and other relevant and applicable information, to provide a clear interpretation of your child’s current functioning. The report also includes a comprehensive summary and list of recommendations for home and school, as appropriate.
A feedback session is then held with parents to explain the results, go through the report and answer any additional questions that either parent may have. This session can also be used for planning of any further assessment or intervention that a parent may which to engage their child in.