What exactly is a psychoeducational evaluation?
The name “psychoeducational evaluation” pretty well defines what this type of exam is. The prefix psych refers to the mind, while the suffix educational refers to the context in which the mind is being examined. And that is exactly what psychologist do that is different than what a teacher may do. Specifically, teachers undoubtedly evaluate children and do so on a regular basis. However, their evaluations are purely academic in nature. When children struggle academically and teachers (or parents) do not know why the child is making appropriate growth, that is where psychologists are called upon to exam the reason why they are struggling academically. Generally speaking the reason why the child is struggling typically relates to either a cognitive deficit (e.g., short term memory, long term retrieval, acquired knowledge, problem solving, etc.) or a social-emotional/behavior difficulty. Or sometimes it is a combination of a cognitive deficit and a social-emotional/behavior problem. For instance, a child may have significant difficulty comprehending spoken language. Over time this may become very frustrating for the child, so they begin acting out or feeling sad. Whatever the case, a well-trained examiner can detect the reason why a child is struggling based on their evaluation profile. And in addition, psychoeducational evaluations do an in-depth analysis of a child’s academic skills. For instance, if a child is having difficulty reading, that could relate to a phonological awareness or an orthographic processing problem. And the phonological awareness difficulty may relate to an auditory process, while an orthographic processing deficit may relate to a visuospatial problem. This further demonstrates how academic problems stem from cognitive problems as auditory processing and visuospatial skills are cognitive processes. Therefore, psychoeducational evaluations typically assess one’s cognitive skills, academic achievement, and social-emotional/behavior in order to understand what is going on and how to help remediate any problems.