Why are educational assessments important?

November 8, 2023

Navigating the educational journey for your child can be challenging when you find yourself confronted with more questions than answers. As children engage with the demands of the classroom, they are called upon to employ a set of foundational skills, primarily revolving around literacy, math, and language. 

Literacy: encompasses the ability to process written language, whether it’s the act of deciphering words from a page or effectively expressing one’s thoughts in writing. The extent to which this occurs varies greatly with age, as the capabilities of a five-year-old differ significantly from those of a sixteen-year-old. 

Math: Math is a multifaceted area that becomes increasingly intricate as students progress through their education. While early grades may involve straightforward mathematical concepts, the older a student gets, the more intertwined math becomes with literacy and language skills. In many cases, mathematical challenges extend beyond mere numerical computations, as students must read, comprehend, and translate word problems into equations for resolution. 

Language: Stripped of the mechanical aspects of reading and writing, as well as the quantitative aspect of math, what remains are core language skills. These encompass not only reading and spelling but also understanding and expressing ideas coherently. It involves the ability to follow multi-step oral instructions, retain spoken information long enough to derive meaning, and develop a rich vocabulary for effective communication. 

In addition to these fundamental areas, a range of other factors must also be considered when a child is facing difficulties in their educational journey. These factors include vision and hearing capabilities, fine motor skills for tasks like writing or keyboard use, processing speed, working memory, and attention span. It is important to acknowledge that the struggles a child experiences may be rooted in any combination of these factors, making it essential to take a holistic approach to understand and address the challenges they are facing. 

There’s no need for these issues to remain shrouded in mystery. We can break down literacy, math, receptive and expressive language processing into their components and assess each of them individually. 

For instance, if your child is struggling with reading, we can look deeper into the root causes. Is it a matter of limited fluency, where they struggle with rapid word recognition, or is it a more fundamental challenge, such as an inability to process the individual phonemes within words, which can lead to misreading similar-looking words like “was” and “saw,” “on” and “no,” “thought” and “through,” and so forth. 

Similarly, if your child is encountering difficulties in math, we can dissect the issue. Is their foundational math knowledge solid, but they’re struggling to retain the necessary math facts or the problem-solving processes? Alternatively, perhaps they haven’t internalized a comprehensive understanding of the foundational principles of the number system upon which mathematics is built. This might result in them attempting to memorize mathematical content without truly grasping the underlying concepts.

Beyond this, we can assess their comprehension. Do they read reasonably well, but upon reaching the end of a page or chapter, retain very little of what they’ve read? Are they only able to answer basic questions when the answers are explicitly stated in the text? These are questions that can be explored to gain a better understanding of your child’s unique educational needs and how to address them effectively. 

Novaread provides an assessment that offers precise insights into the reasons behind your child’s struggles in specific areas. This assessment not only reveals their areas of proficiency but also pinpoints their limitations. It empowers you to set realistic expectations based on their current capabilities rather than imposing demands that surpass their current abilities. 

Furthermore, the assessment provides guidance on the type of solutions required if you decide to explore interventions aimed at improving the areas causing these challenges. It serves as a valuable tool to tailor support and resources to address your child’s unique educational needs effectively. By understanding the root causes of their difficulties, you can make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to help them succeed in their learning journey.