Frequently Asked Questions

What is psychological testing?

Are there different types of testing?

What will the test sessions be like?

How many times will we meet?

Can a pediatrician or psychiatrist administer these tests?

What about time and costs?

What about insurance coverage?

What will be included in a report?

How do I know if my student should be tested?

What are the ages of the people you test?

What is psychological testing?

Psychological Testing uses paper and pencil tests to assess a student's cognitive, emotional, social and psychological development. These tests have been widely used for many years and are very reliable. Some of the test questions and items will feel like school work, while other parts will feel more like games. There are pictures to look at, things to draw and puzzles to complete. In addition to tests that use paper and pencil, a student will answer questions orally and discuss how they think about or feel about certain topics.

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Are there different types of testing?

Yes. Testing can look specifically at learning and academic issues. Cognitive (IQ) and academic tests are administered to rule out verbal or non-verbal learning disabilities, attention-deficit disorders and processing deficits. The associates at Educational Insight work closely with teachers and staff members at public and private schools throughout the Bay Area, and we routinely attend IEP and Student Study Team meetings. Testing can be targeted to evaluate social, emotional and behavioral functioning as well.

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What will the test sessions be like?

Your child will meet in a quiet office and be across a table from the testing associate. They sit in a comfortable chair and take breaks whenever needed. Most of what we do will be within a child’s ability, but there will always be some parts of the testing that stretch their capability. It is important to know where a student’s "ceiling" is, that is, the point where items become too hard to complete. Most every student reports that testing was "fun" or "not as bad as I imagined."

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How many times will we meet?

Most assessments involve two to three meetings with a student, usually ninety minutes to two hours in length. A meeting with parents to discuss findings and treatment implications will follow. Meetings can occur within in one or two weeks if there is an urgency to obtain results. Some assessments, due to situational factors or necessity, occur within one day.

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Can a pediatrician or psychiatrist administer these tests?

Neither a pediatrician nor a psychiatrist has sufficient training in the administration or interpretation of psychological tests. A pediatrician specializes in the physical health and well being of children, while a psychiatrist specializes in treating mental health problems with medicine. A psychologist is the individual best equipped to help with diagnosis because they are trained to administer and interpret psychological tests.

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What about time and costs?

The amount of time required to complete an evaluation may vary. Typically, an evaluation runs between two and six hours of face-to-face time. The clinician then needs additional time to score and interpret test data and review other documents provided by the family or other professionals. Finally, a report must be written. In this way, the costs for the psychological assessment process may appear excessive for a student who only spends three hours in the office. However, an additional four or five hours is spent "behind the scenes" to appropriately complete the process. Finally, there are costs for test booklets and scoring services that are part of the total charges a family is asked to assume.

The cost of a full psychological battery can be more than two thousand dollars, a considerable expense. However, compared to a MRI or PET Scan, which image the brain but do not provide information about functional ability, the cost is modest. Also, the commitment to a course of treatment without first establishing a clear diagnosis that informs treatment decisions is very costly and may be counter-productive. Treatment without diagnosis is like archery without a target. Professionals understand the need to begin with a functional assessment, a clear diagnosis and then can more effectively make informed decisions about treatment.

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What about insurance coverage?

A few insurance companies will pay for psychological testing; many will not. Insurance companies often utilize managed care companies to help control costs. Most managed care companies decline coverage for psychological testing. The associates at Educational Insight cannot negotiate with insurance or managed care companies.

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What will be included in a report?

A psychological report includes background information regarding school, prior treatment, family and health. It will include tables and charts that list and describe data from tests of intelligence and academic performance. If social and emotional questions have been raised, data regarding these areas will be presented and discussed. A diagnosis will be made and treatment implications and recommendations will be listed. A report is almost never released without first having a meeting where an Educational Insight associate presents the information orally and answers questions.

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How do I know if my student should be tested?

This is a very important question and should be discussed on the phone or in person. Not every child or adolescent should be tested. At Educational Insight we refer families to neuropsychologists, therapists, school psychologists or psychiatrists when appropriate. An associate would be happy to discuss your child's needs with you at no charge.

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What are the ages of the people you test?

Educational Insight specializes in the assessment of preschool age children through adulthood.

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