Educational Consulting & Advocacy
"Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb
Dr. Nielsen is well versed in complex statistics and test scores, as well as how these translate into classroom life for a child. She is similarly experienced in Response To Intervention techniques for all students and is available for special education consultation, 504 meetings, and parent advocacy with your child’s school system.
She can also be of great help in observing classroom and playground behavior.
As a school psychologist for ten years, Dr. Nielsen administered and interpreted a wealth of neuropsychological and cognitive tests as well as projective/ personality tests, educational tools and behavior rating scales. She was also the leader of multidisciplinary teams.
What Does It All Mean?
Test scores and school reports can be confusing and frustrating, leaving more questions than answers sometimes. With the experienced support of Dr. Nielsen, together parents can begin to make sense of it all. Such tests can include:
A cognitive assessment provides information about a student’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses. The test gives general information about a student’s abilities compared to others his or her age in several areas. The tests are intended to be a predictor of how well and in what ways a child will learn new information. Other factors must ALWAYS be considered as no one tool or testing situation is appropriate for a complete assessment and picture of a child’s abilities. Other factors include opportunities for learning, environment and maturation. It is important to remember that even the common cold, hunger, or a conflict with a family member can affect a student’s score.
Some of the more commonly used cognitive assessments in schools are the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV) and the Woodcock Johnson, Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ-IV).
Academic achievement tests measure specific academic skills compared to other children at the same grade. They focus on Broad Reading, Writing, Math, and Oral Language skills and also different aspects of the broad areas. Within the Reading domain, there will typically be a task measuring comprehension, a task measuring reading fluency, a task measuring site word recognition, and a task measuring decoding (i.e., “sounding out” a word). Math is typically broken down into computations, fluency, and a task measuring mathematical reasoning. Within the Writing domain, there will be a task measuring spelling, writing fluency, and the ability to express oneself through writing.
Some of the most common tests of academic achievement include the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Second Edition (WIAT-II), Woodcock Johnson, Tests of Achievement, Fourth Edition (WJ-IV), and the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Third Edition (KTEA-III).
Behavior Rating Scales
Behavior rating scales provide information about particular aspects of a student’s behavior compared to other children of the same age. The rating scales may be global and focus on several areas or look more in depth at a specific behavior, emotional issue, or social issue. They have been standardized by giving the scale to thousands of respondents. From those responses, ranges of scores are often developed that reflect various levels of functioning, for example "normal/ average," “at-risk,” or “clinically significant.”