For Parents: The evaluation process

So you are considering an evaluation for your child. There are a lot of questions that naturally arise about the process and what to expect.

To begin the evaluation process, either you or your school will contact Cairn Educational Solutions and request an evaluation. First, I will want to collect information from you and the school about the specific concerns. Ideally, this information will be collected through conversation (either face-to-face or by phone) that will provide opportunity for you to help me learn to know your child. I will also talk to the school to gain information from them, but I want you, as the parent, to realize that your input is crucial to this process, for you know your child better than anyone else. Throughout the process, the goal is to work as a team to utilize our collective experience and wisdom to help your child.

Once I understand the concerns, I will spend some time observing your child in the classroom before I work with him or her. This will give me a glimpse into how he or she functions in typical settings when unaware of being observed. After the observation, I will do individualized assessment with your child. The goal of individualized assessment is to gain a better understanding of what the child is capable of doing in a best-case scenario—a distraction-free, one-on-one guided setting—and how these skills compare to other students of the same age or grade. Depending on the concerns you expressed, this may include intelligence testing for verbal, nonverbal, memory, reasoning, and/or other cognitive areas; individualized achievement testing for academic skills like reading, writing, and math; and other assessment tools as needed.

At any point in the process, I may collect additional information from you and/or the school through questionnaires or rating scales. Next, I will write a report combining all the information you and the school have provided with the data I have collected from the observations and individualized assessments. There will then be a meeting with you, the pertinent school personnel, and myself. I will explain the report, and then we as a team will brainstorm the next steps that (1) work best for your family and school and (2) meet the goals that you have for your child. Ultimately, you are the one who is responsible for your child’s education, and the purpose of the school and Cairn is to join you as a team in helping your son or daughter develop according to God’s plan for his or her life.


You know your child better than anyone else, and because of that, the assessment might not reveal any startling, new information. The best evaluuations result in everyone who knows the child best—you and the school—saying, “Yes, that makes perfect sense. That is the child we know and love.” At the same time, hearing the information summarized often brings clarity for formulating solutions. The final goal of the evaluation process is to provide hope and direction in formulating the best educational path for your child.