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Psychoeducational Assessment, Neuropsychological Assessment and Educational Assessment

The witnessed assessment is the beginning of the Vancouver Learning Centre (VLC) experience. At every level of this experience we promote transparency and partnership with students and their families. With young children and youth to 16 years we ask one parent to ‘sit in’ on the assessment. With older students we invite parents to sit in with the agreement of the youth or young adult being tested. Parents are asked to take the ‘fly on the wall’ position where they can observe, and explanations can be provided, but they are asked not to intervene in the assessment or interrupt in any way.

At the end of the day an overview of the results is presented orally in the presence of the testee (when appropriate) and a preliminary action plan is discussed. Usually within 10 work days, a detailed report including a program of rehabilitation and educational recovery strategies, or an enrichment program or both, which emerges from this report, is provided. Appropriate and experienced teachers are then assigned so the student can begin his/her learning experience without delay.

We find this to be a positive experience because our purpose is to fully inform all parties and engage all the participants, including the student and the parent, to support the ongoing program with a full understanding of the reasons for each aspect of the program.

Whenever appropriate the report can be provided to the student’s school and a school visit arranged where this is possible or useful. Otherwise a telephone consultation is also a possibility. Wherever possible the program is integrated with ongoing school activities.

In other words … the process is smooth, respectful, transparent and time efficient from the moment of first contact to beginning the journey of learning in the VLC Community. Of course, an assessment may take place as a complete experience itself, without further VLC involvement.

However, if the client is from outside the Lower Mainland and wants to participate in the VLC experience, special arrangements can be made.

Description of the Assessment

The assessment combines both neuropsychological and educational features. It takes place in a calm, safe atmosphere at the VLC with the witness present and where the activity of the VLC can be seen through the interior glass window.

While standardized tests are used and are delivered by an experienced psychologist in a standardized fashion, the perspective is unique.

Four kinds of information are sought:

1. Brain Function

The brain processes information for learning through its visual (what is seen), auditory (what is heard) and motor kinesthetic (fine movement and touch) systems. When one or more of these systems is not efficient, that is, it is too slow, or does not hold as much information as others in the age cohort, the student will have difficulty processing information delivered in the classroom at the same level as his/her classmates. This produces difficulty in task accomplishment and in performance at age and grade appropriate levels.

If this is the case, specific exercises, called neurocognitive training, for enhancement of the weaker system are included in the program design, while the strength areas are developed and enhanced to provide greater overall support.

Paying attention to brain function as expressed in test performance reveals the student’s core strengths and weaknesses.

The program can then be designed to take advantage of strengths in teaching/learning delivery and to develop weaknesses to the degree possible. This means, for example, that learners whose best modality is visual can be taught by visual display to improve learning outcome while the auditory system is developing through other parts of the program.

2. Intellectual Potential

The learning destination (at the end of Grade Seven or Grade Twelve, or post-secondary graduation) is taken into consideration regardless of test scores produced by the initial assessment. Test performance reveals the potential range of intellectual ability in areas of strengths. When these are combined with the values and needs of the young person for personal achievement, a picture emerges that allows for both short term and long term planning. This process is very robust in determining the future scholastic performance of a student.

The intervention or program design or recommendations always takes a ‘personal best’ perspective into consideration in planning directions and outcomes.

3. Skill Levels

The tests also provide a picture of how skills have developed to the date of the initial assessment …

  1. in Reading – decoding/comprehension
  2. Mathematics – numeracy/reasoning/problem solving
  3. Written Expression – structure/content
  4. Spelling
  5. Vocabulary
  6. Abstract verbal thinking
  7. Visually-based conceptual thinking
  8. Aurally-based conceptual thinking
  9. Knowledge platform in science, social studies and humanities
  10. Etc.

Since these skills form the platform on which academic performance is built, once measured, the program design includes segments to enhance and develop skills to the degree possible, or to fill in gaps where they have occurred in math, phonics, vocabulary, etc.

The assessment becomes the beginning of a planned journey with a destination in mind that encourages the student to provide a personal best effort. Motivation is enhanced when the reward of reaching the desired destination is clear and when the journey itself is full of purpose and meaning.

4. Emotional Intelligence and Maturity

A picture of the testee’s emotional strengths and/or issues that form the underlying cohesion to all performance also emerges in the assessment, and development of strengths and weak areas are included in the overall program design.

Note: Wherever appropriate, school collaboration is often useful. To understand more fully how this can be an effective tool for success in the classroom, see the VLC signature week-ahead program.

Next Steps

  • If you would like to have answers as to what can be done, you can book a complimentary interview with Vancouver Learning Centre Director Andrew Taylor by telephone at 604-738-2277 or by e-mail.
  • If after you are fully informed through the interview and by reading this website you are interested in proceeding, Andrew will provide you with an assessment date to begin the process.
  • If you have further concerns or questions you can speak to VLC principal and senior psychologist, Dr. Geraldine Schwartz, either by telephone or by booking a further personal complimentary interview.
  • The assessment will provide a clear statement of the student’s cognitive and educational strengths and weaknesses along with a detailed program that is offered as a proposal. The program is delivered by the Vancouver Learning Centre’s highly qualified teaching faculty, one-to-one.


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