Often, we hear from parents and educators who are seeing the signs that children aren’t being challenged, and they’re looking for a way to assess their current level of knowledge so they can make appropriate curricular adjustments.
The Belin-Blank Center offers two major kinds of assessment: above-level testing, and individualized educational assessment.
Above-level testing means giving a test designed for older students to younger students. For instance, I-Excel consists of 8th grade content, but we administer it to high-ability 4th-6th graders. Some reasons to consider above-level testing:
- Parents and/or teachers suspect that the student isn’t being challenged.
- Parents and/or teachers are looking to understand what level of content the student is ready to learn.
- The student would like to participate in programs (IOAPA, some summer programs) that require the scores.
And the student should meet the following criteria:
- Scoring at the 95th percentile or higher on any main subject of a standardized grade-level test.
- Able to sit still and concentrate for 2 1/2 hours with a short break halfway through.
Learn more about above-level testing through the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS).
Individualized educational assessments are conducted to assist with academic planning. They involve individual assessment of intellectual and academic skills, including above-level skills, as well as a screening of psychosocial factors that may be relevant in academic planning decisions. These assessments are not diagnostic in nature; therefore, they cannot be submitted to insurance for reimbursement. The results are more detailed than above-level testing, and the cost to complete them is higher. Some initial reasons to consider an individualized educational assessment include:
- You’re considering whole grade acceleration and would like to get the bulk of the information needed all at once.
- The student is in 3rd grade or younger, and therefore too young for the grade-level assessments or I-Excel.
- The student has behavioral/cognitive factors that result in individualized assessment being more accurate than group-administered (e.g., 2e students who don’t “test” as well as expected based on knowledge).