The purpose of an evaluation is to provide student, parents, teachers, school psychologists, and other professionals with information to assist them in making decisions regarding the identification, program, and placement of children eligible for special education.  When a child is being evaluated for services under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), multiple evaluations are to be completed in order to give a complete picture of the child’s development and achievement.  Those tests can be confusing so a local school district has contributed this list of evaluation tools and how they use them in determining eligibility for special education services.

ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENTS AND TECHNIQUES The evaluations listed below are examples of those typically used in the assessment of a child’s abilities. The list does not include every test that might be used nor may all those listed be used. The evaluator will choose tests that he/she thinks are best for the child’s age, grade, and physical abilities. Parents will be given specific information on the tests used at the time the results are reviewed and at any subsequent placement and IEP meetings.

VISION- A visual screening to determine the child’s visual activity through the use of a Snellen Chart or a Titmus machine. If additional testing is indicated the child may be referred to a medical eye specialist for further evaluation. If visual problems are indicated, other tests (achievement, psychological, etc.) will be selected to be non-discriminatory in terms of the visual impairment or these tests may be postponed until the visual problem can be corrected.

HEARING– An audiometric screening to determine the child’s hearing acuity. The screening may include puretone or impedance audiometry. If additional testing is indicated the child may be referred to an audiologist or medical specialist. If a hearing impairment is indicated, other tests (achievement, psychological, etc.) will be selected to be non-discriminatory in terms of the hearing impairment or these tests may be postponed until the hearing problem can be corrected.

ACHIEVEMENT- These tests may be group or individual tests to determine the child’s current level of academic functioning. Areas which may be included are: oral expression; listening comprehension; written expression; basic reading skill; reading comprehension; mathematics calculation and mathematics reasoning. Often used tests are: WECHSLER INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT TEST 2, DIAGNOSTIC ACHIEVEMENT BATTERY-4, KAUFMAN TEST OF EDUCATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT-II (KTEA-2), WOODCOCK JOHNSON TESTS OF ACHIEVEMENT-IV, TEST OF WORD READING EFFICIENCY (TOWRE 2), YOUNG CHILDREN’S ACHIEVEMENT TEST (YCAT), TEST OF READING COMPREHENSION-4, DIAGNOSTIC ACHIEVEMENT TEST FOR ADOLESCENTS-2.

MOTOR– These tests determine the overall ability of a child to perform basic tasks and activities that require fine and gross coordination. Testing may call for the child to walk, run, sit or perform other physical activities. In addition, the following tests may be given: BENDER VISUAL MOTOR GESTALT TEST-II, DEVELOPMENTAL TEST OF VISUAL MOTOR INTEGRATION-5TH EDITION.

PSYCHOLOGICAL– An individually administered test of general intelligence. These tests are used to measure different types of abilities such as comprehension, visual and auditory perception, visual and auditory memory, vocabulary, etc. A test of this kind is required for entry into certain programs in special education. Often used tests are the following: WECHSLER INTELLIGENCE SCALES (WISC-IV, WPPSI, WAIS-IV), STANFORD-BINET INTELLIGENCE SCALE-V Edition, KAUFMAN ASSESSMENT BATTERY FOR CHILDREN-II, UNIVERSAL NONVERBAL INTELLIGENCE TEST.

SPEECH/LANGUAGE- Testing includes assessment of the child’s articulation, language, fluency, voice and adequacy of the oral mechanism. For the non-verbal child, the assessment will explore alternative communication systems. For a child suspected of having a voice disorder, an evaluation by a laryngologist (a medical doctor) is also necessary. Tests used may include: GOLDMAN-FRISTOE TEST OF ARTICULATION, TEST OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT-3 (TOLD), STUTTERING SEVERITY INSTRUMENT, TEST OF ADOLESCENT AND ADULT LANGUAGE-3, ORAL AND WRITTEN LANGUAGE SCALES, JOLIET,  TEST OF PRAGMATIC LANGUAGE (TOPL), RECEPTIVE AND EXPRESSIVE ONE WORD PICTURE VOCABULARY TESTS. PLS-5 Preschool Language Scale, 5th Edition

BEHAVIORAL- Testing includes an assessment of the child’s ability to act and interpret appropriately in everyday situations within the family, the school and the community. Such tests may include checklists and parental and/or teacher interviews as well as paper/pencil tasks for the child and observation in the classroom. Such tests are: VINELAND ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR SCALES (a sample report can be found here), DRAW A PERSON TEST, ACHENBACH CHILD BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST, PERSONALITY INVENTORY FOR CHILDREN, ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER EVALUATION SCALE, BEHAVIOR ASSESSMENT SYSTEM FOR CHILDREN-2, NORMATIVE ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST-R, ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR ASSESSMENT SYSTEM- 2. OTHER- In the process of assessing a child’s strengths and weaknesses the evaluator may need to use additional tests in order to gain a more complete picture of the child.

SOCIAL/COMMUNICATION (SUSPECTED AUTISM) -Tests of social communication/behavior assess communication and social interactions, unusual responses to sensory experiences, impairments with patterns of behaviors, interests and/or activities that are restrictive, repetitive or stereotypic. Rating scales, direct interactions, interviews and observations may be used.  Some common tests of social communication/behavior include:  Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, (ADOS)Childhood Autism Rating Scale- (CARS)Childhood Autism Rating Scale— Questionnaire for Parents and/or Caregivers (CARS-QPC)Gilliam Asperger’s Disorder Scale (GADS)Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS) Social Responsiveness Scale, (SRS)


Every child is tested under state and federal testing guidelines.  However, if a child is referred for an evaluation specific to that child, and outside the scope of evaluations given to all children, parents must give permission (written notice) before any testing can begin. It is important for parents to understand why testing is requested, what areas of learning and development will be assessed by the testing, what types of tests will be given, and how the test results will be used to help determine eligibility and/or educational programming might be appropriate.  The results of the tests will be shared with parents once the evaluation is completed in either an eligibility meeting (if a child has not yet been determined eligible for special education services) or an IEP meeting (for a child who has already been determined eligible and whose team is planning for educational programming).

DISCLAIMER: This list is NOT exhaustive.  It was compiled from conversations with several school districts and does not reflect a complete list of tests used by any one system.  These are the most commonly used.  Additional or different evaluations and assessments may be used based on the needs of a particular child and based on the school system where your child is enrolled.  Please also keep in mind that editions of a test may change as new tests become available and some tests may go out of print as new research shows better success with other tests.   Many of the links here are to a sales site where the particular test is being marketed.  The reason that we have linked to that type of site is due to their description section that gives the ages, what different forms may be available (parent, teacher, etc.), and what skill areas are to be evaluated.  If you have any questions about your local school district’s assessment process, contact your local school system directly and ask for the names of tests to be used in your child’s evaluation.