School and Academic Testing
Learning problems and learning disabilities are fairly common. About 5% of all children in school have problems with learning beyond what would be expected for their age, grade, and general intelligence. Problems linked to reading and language are the most common. Difficulties with certain kinds of math are the second most common. Depending on how these problems present for the child, they may have formal names like dyslexia (trouble reading) and dyscalculia (problems with mathematics). These conditions are often grouped under the generic category of Specific Learning Disability in schools.
Students can also have problems in school because of medical conditions that cause them to miss a lot of school days. Highly anxious children often have a hard time paying attention to the most important parts of teaching as they get stuck on minor details important to them. It is hard to find the motivation to get get work done when a student is depressed.
In other cases, a child may be extremely bright and in need of accelerated instruction and enrichment in the regular classroom. These children can be extra chatty and may get into trouble since the assigned work is boring or they are able to finish it before most of their fellow students. Private schools with high academic standards may require a student demonstrate the ability to work at the expected level before they will be admitted.
Testing for learning problems, gifted status, or academic readiness can provide important information about your child's individual learning. While public schools are not mandated to accept the results of outside testing, I am a certified school psychologist in NJ and PA. Schools must at least respond to the testing results provided. They can choose to accept the results and move forward with appropriate plans or conduct their own testing in advance of taking action.
What are some signs of learning disabilities in students?
Extreme challenges with reading or core math concepts despite good effort and attendance at school.
"Reteaching" every night during homework. You are back to square one the next day almost like the prior night didn't happen.
Big problems with "sounding out" unfamiliar words when reading.
Time and math concepts like distance, amount, and step-by-step procedures just don't make sense to your child. Even with demonstrations and multiple explanations.
Not speaking at the level of other children their age and grade.