Think Dyslexia’s Specialist Assessors are highly trained. Each holds a Level 7 qualification in assessing students with Specific Learning Difficulties and an Assessment Practicing Certificate (APC) with PATOSS. Their professional qualifications enable them to diagnose dyslexia and to comment on co-occurring difficulties. They have a wealth of knowledge on dyslexia and the impact this specific learning difficulty may have on literacy, numeracy and other aspects of a student’s life.

Formal assessment

Formal assessment provides a detailed picture of a pupil’s learning profile. It considers their general underlying ability, cognitive skills (eg. phonological awareness, short term and working memory, phonological processing speed, visual-motor processing etc.) and attainments in reading, spelling and writing, including handwriting skills.

Formal assessment is generally about 2 to 3 hours in length and a comprehensive report is written thereafter. A diagnosis of dyslexia is given if appropriate. Whilst this is undoubtedly valuable, the specific recommendations given in the report, stemming a pupil’s profile of strengths and weaknesses, are crucial. They suggest effective methods of support for the classroom, at home and, if needed, with a specialist teacher. Where necessary, the report also highlights relevant exam concessions (Access Arrangements) such as extra time, assistive technology etc.

Because we understand that teachers and other professionals are busy and may not have time to read an entire report, there is a concise summary of findings, diagnosis and selection of recommendations at the beginning of the report, which can be detached.

Think Dyslexia Assessments
Think Dyslexia Face-to-Face

Access Arrangements

Assessments for Access Arrangements are shorter than full assessments and do not usually assess a child’s general ability; they are not intended to diagnose Specific Learning Difficulties.

Tests are used to determine relevant access arrangements for exams, in consultation with the child’s school as required by the Joint Council of Qualifications (JCQ).

An assessor requires information from school (gathered via a School Questionnaire) because access arrangements must reflect the child’s history of need and normal way of working. Information from parents is also collected via a Family Questionnaire.

It is important to note that, while the assessor will report on appropriate access arrangements, it is solely the school’s responsibility to decide which to apply for, and to make that application.

A written report is produced which includes a summary, table of formal test results and any recommendations for access arrangements, should there be evidence for this. Where necessary, the assessor will complete the relevant sections of ‘Form 8’ as required by JCQ.

Informal assessment

Informal assessments are generally carried out in the younger age groups, for example, if a class teacher has noticed that a child finds difficulty in particular aspects of literacy. Lasting only about one hour and using informal techniques and activities, the assessor looks at reading, spelling and writing skills. Diagnosis of dyslexia is not made during informal assessment.

On the basis of the information gathered the assessor will report on the child’s strengths and weaknesses, making recommendations to help inform programmes of intervention.

Think Dyslexia Teaching
Think Dyslexia Face to Face Teaching

Handwriting assessment

Handwriting difficulties may impact on a child’s attainments, and assessment of handwriting speed and accuracy, as well as legibility, is often extremely useful.

Samples of handwriting from school are helpful. Both formal and informal tests are used in a handwriting assessment (it is usually about an hour in length), and a short report is produced which may contain referral to an occupational therapist if this is considered to be appropriate.

Assessments to qualify for support at university

We offer assessments by suitably qualified assessors experienced working with older students, in the format required for those with dyslexia or other Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD), to apply for support at university.

Students can seek an assessment for this purpose during A Levels and Pre-University courses or when they are already at university, or they can choose to be assessed earlier, for example during GCSE years, if they would like to understand their profile of strengths and weaknesses in order to develop study strategies to support their learning earlier.

Assessment includes recording history of need and background information, administration of standardised and informal tests and discussion of the nature of strengths and weaknesses, the impact on academic work, and suggested compensating strategies. There is plenty of time for students to ask questions and the Assessor will be sensitive to and adapt to students who may be anxious about assessment.

As well as being qualified to diagnose dyslexia, our assessors can diagnose SpLDs relating specifically to speed of processing, working memory or motor-coordination difficulties as they relate to academic work, all of which can also be used as evidence to apply for support at university. (Although they cannot provide a diagnosis of ADHD or Dyspraxia if this is needed, which would have to be done by a medical professional specialising in these.)

Think Dyslexia Adult Assessments

Adult dyslexia assessment

Adults may need dyslexia assessments for a number of reasons:

  • Adults in full time work who suspect that dyslexia makes their job more challenging than it should be
  • Adults re-entering education may need evidence of learning difficulties to receive support
  • Adults who may have missed out on a diagnosis as children but who have always wondered what made reading or writing more difficult for them

Assessment will involve discussion of education history and background information, short formal tests of reasoning ability, reading, spelling and writing, and different types of processing, on which these literacy skills depend. There will be opportunity for questions or explanations of areas of concern and recommendations will always be tailored to each person’s own situation.

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