Psychoeducational and Learning Disorder Evaluations 

A psychoeducational assessment (also called a learning disorder or learning disability evaluation) examines both cognitive strengths and weaknesses as well as current academic skills.

The cognitive functioning aspect of this evaluation assesses:

  • verbal knowledge
  • visual-spatial skills
  • problem solving
  • verbal and nonverbal reasoning
  • working memory
  • speed of information processing

Which academic skills are examined varies, depending on the age of the client. Usually, however, the academic portion of the assessment includes:

  • basic reading skills
  • reading comprehension
  • spelling
  • compositional writing
  • mathematical reasoning
  • mathematical calculation
  • receptive and expressive language
  • speed of academic abilities

A psychoeducational or learning disorder evaluation is commonly done when a child or adolescent is exhibiting academic problems as a result of a suspected learning disability or attentional problem (ADHD). Adults may seek these evaluations if they are struggling in a learning or working environment and have a history of such difficulties.

Psychoeducational or learning disorder assessments can provide diagnoses or alternative explanations for academic difficulties, as well as guidance on learning styles and strategies. They can evaluate for potential learning disorder with impairment in reading (“dyslexia”), writing (“dysgraphia”), or math (“dyscalculia”), as well as language disorders and nonverbal learning disorder.

Results from psychoeducational testing can be used to request academic accommodations (e.g., Section 504, Individualized Education Plans (IEP), or special education services), workplace accommodations, and provide the documentation needed for extended time on standardized exams such as the SAT, GRE, MCAT, or LSAT.

Psychoeducational evaluations begin with an intake interview which takes about one hour. During this interview, I obtain relevant background information (for instance, developmental and academic history).

For younger children, the intake interview is often conducted with only the parents. Adolescents may be included in portions of the interview, and this tends to increase their interest in and motivation for testing. I usually request teacher reports because they provide greater insight into an individual’s academic strengths and challenges in the classroom.

Adults can choose to interview alone or with significant others who have insight into their difficulties (e.g., a spouse).

The testing itself is generally conducted over two appointments of 2–3 hours each, though this can vary depending on client age and needs. I always conduct these evaluations in person. (Virtual testing is not an option for psychoeducational evaluations.)

Common tests used include the WISC-V, WAIS-IV, WIAT-4, IVA-2-CPT, CTOPP, NDRT, FAM, FAR, FAW, and CELF-5, among others. These are comprised of puzzle-like and problem-solving activities, tasks requiring sustained focus and responding to target stimuli, and tests of reading, writing, mathematics, and language.

Clients’ responses are analyzed, producing test scores that compare their skills to others at their age or grade level. I integrate the results into a report that documents scores, summarizes their impact, and describes any diagnoses that may be present. The evaluation report also provides detailed recommendations for academics and/or treatment and any accommodations suggested.

Approximately one month following the completion of psychoeducational testing, I schedule a feedback session with the client in which I explain the report and give you a chance to ask questions. If warranted, separate feedback sessions can be scheduled for parents and children or adolescents. Clients can forward the report to their schools or places of work for the purpose of accommodation requests or to therapists or psychiatrists to guide therapy and treatment.

Psychoeducational and learning disorder evaluations are often combined with social-emotional evaluations, especially when an individual is struggling with emotional concerns that may impact learning or academic performance.

When academic problems are complex, or when clients desire a more thorough understanding of the processes underlying their difficulties, psychoeducational evaluations may also be combined with a neuropsychological evaluation.
Do I need a referral?

No referrals are required for psychoeducational or learning disorder evaluations, though they often result from the suggestion of teachers, therapists, and/or doctors.

I am not affiliated with any insurance networks. However, I can supply a superbill that you may submit to your insurance company for out-of-network benefits. If your policy includes these benefits, your insurance may partially reimburse you for the evaluation costs.

It’s important to note that while insurance providers commonly cover some expenses related to the cognitive aspects of psychoeducational testing, they often do not cover the academic testing portion. Insurance companies typically expect these academic assessments to be performed within the educational system.

Interested in a psychoeducational learning disorder assessment?