Some tests for learning and attention issues evaluate basic skills like math and reading. Others take a closer look at issues that can affect basic skills kids used in learning.
For example, some kids may struggle with remembering and making sense of information. These are called processing skills. Others may have trouble holding a pencil or running. These are called motor skills. And others might have trouble forming words and communicating. These are called language skills.
The tests below are commonly used to evaluate these abilities. But there are many others. Your evaluator will work with you to figure out which ones your child needs.
Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Drawing
What it measures: Perception of geometric objects, figures and their relationship to each other in space and memory.
How it works: Kids are given cards with pictures on them. They are first asked to copy the figure they are looking at and then to draw it from memory.
What the scores mean: The scores reflect how kids perceive objects in space. They may also suggest challenges with memory, attention and planning. These “visuospatial skills” can affect the ability to identify shapes. They may also affect athletics and how easily kids can find their way around.
Beery-Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration
What it measures: Visual and motor skills.
How it works: Kids are asked to copy geometric designs.
What the scores mean: Low scores suggest problems with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Children’s Memory Scale
What it measures: Thinking and memory skills.
How it works: Kids are given a range of memory-related challenges, such as remembering what’s been read aloud to them.
What the scores mean: Poor memory skills may point to learning or attention issues. Identifying specific memory problems can help with the creation of interventions at school.
NEPSY Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment–II
What it measures: A broad range of thinking and problem-solving skills.
How it works: Kids are tested in seven general areas that affect learning. These include attention, language, sensory/motor, spatial, learning and memory. The assessment also looks at how kids make sense of social situations.
What the scores mean: Low-scoring sections of the test can point to specific areas where kids may need help.
Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–IV
What it measures: Ability to understand what is being said.
How it works: Kids are shown a series of four pictures. The examiner says a word that describes one of the pictures. Kids are then asked to point to the matching picture.
What the scores mean: The scores reflect how well kids understand spoken language, and if problems at school are related.
Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-5)
What it measures: Ability to understand language and to express feelings and thoughts out loud.
How it works: Kids are shown pictures and asked to respond to them verbally.
What the scores mean: Scores that vary from the norm for a child’s age can point to problems with language comprehension and expression.
Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test and Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test
What they measure:Ability to understand language and communicate verbally.
How they work: In the expressive test, kids are asked use one word to name a variety of objects, actions and concepts. In the receptive test, kids hear words and are asked to select pictures that best depict them.
What the scores mean: Kids with low expressive scores show difficulty getting their message across to others. Kids with low receptive scores show difficulty grasping what others are saying.
Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS-2)
What it measures: Motor skills of kids up to 7 years old.
How it works: Kids are asked to complete a series of activities that test their motor abilities, such as drawing.
What the scores mean: Low scores for certain motor skills may point to issues such as dyspraxia or dysgraphia.
These tests can provide valuable information about what may be at the root of a child’s learning challenges. The professional evaluating your child should discuss the testing process with you and your child separately. Both the professional and parents can prepare kids so that the evaluation is a good experience. It also helps to learn about other types of tests that are used to evaluate learning and attention issues.