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The Basics of Dyslexia Assessments

Jo Rees is the owner of Another Way Round and author of Don't Forget to... Smile. Another Way Round is a fantastic company that focuses on assessing and diagnosing dyslexia and understanding dyslexia. This past week, she talked to The Hive about why understanding your dyslexic assessment is essential and how to interpret it!

Jo's talk was 90 minutes long and full of really great information but way too much to cram into one blog post, so this week, we are giving 3 key takeaways; the difference between a dyslexic screening and a full assessment, what assessments measure, and the basics of how assessments are scored!

A Dyslexic Screen is:

  • Not standardized

  • 1 Test (with a small summary after)

  • Administered by computers and non-experts

  • Can't technically diagnose you

The dyslexic screen is useful as a first step if you think you might have dyslexia. These also tend to be geared toward academics and are not likely to show the soft skills (and challenges) that come with dyslexia.

A Full Dyslexia Assessment is:

  • Carried out by a qualified professional*

  • Lots of tests that measure different areas (these are not all yes or no questions)

  • Reports are typically between 12-15 pages

  • Can diagnose dyslexia

A full dyslexia assessment is a must for anyone needing workplace needs assessment; these are also helpful in determining the kind of accommodations you might need or if you are looking to get DSA funding.

A full diagnostic assessment will look at the following (regardless of the format):

  • Underlying Ability: Looks at verbal, non-verbal, visual, and spatial ability.

  • Attainment: Focus on word recall, spelling, reading comprehension, written ability, and sometimes maths

  • Processing/Cognition: Key areas are working, visual and verbal memory, writing, naming and reading speed (and fluency), and phonological awareness.


Understanding Assessment Scoring:

You are likely to encounter a few different scores on your assessment. Here's a quick breakdown of them.

  • Raw Score- this is like a grade on a test, how many questions you got right (doesn't mean a lot)

  • Standardized Score- will range between 55-135. We get these scores based on how hundreds of individuals in the same age range do on a standardized test. The average score is found, and the dyslexic person is compared against the "standard" score.

  • Confidence Intervals- gives a range that acknowledges that an assessment is only a snapshot of one day, and your performance can vary daily.

  • Scaled Score- primarily used in America. These in the UK have been converted to the above-standardized score (you might have one if your assessment was done a long time ago).

  • Percentiles- Another older score (no longer used) that measures a person's attainment against 100 people (similar to a standardized but less accurate).

A note about assessments, assessors MUST use standardized tests, but some assessments are only standardized for individuals older than 24 years and 11 months. Assessors can use these tests for individuals above the age range but only qualitatively (based on anecdotal information) and have to note this on their assessment.


If you are a member of The Hive, you can access the full masterclass (and all past ones) in the Guest Expert Masterclass Vault! If you have not joined The Hive yet, what are you waiting on?! Learn more about what is included and how it can help you HERE.

*Qualified Professionals for the UK would be educational psychologists or specialist teachers with a level 7 qualification.


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