Let’s Talk About Some Best Practices for Online Assessments
Can it be done effectively? Research continues to be conducted in the areas related to assessments in telepractice. There are many areas to consider when addressing the issue of effectively assessing a child’s individual educational needs. State regulations and policies should be strictly adhered to. A competent and qualified therapist familiar with this delivery model is also essential.
Adding telepractice to the assessment adds another layer, but one that is not insurmountable. Paramount to these issues is connectivity including high-quality audio and video quality, the environment in both locations, appropriate assessment materials, and onsite support. The link to Pearson Education, Clinical Psychology Community, added to this blog gives specific factors recommended to address the issues of assessment in telepractice.
When conducting Speech and Language assessment, particularly an articulation assessment, it is best practice that both the clinician and the student wear an appropriate headset. This helps to eliminate any errors with background noise or other distractors for the student and therapist. During my online assessments, with parent consent, I have also recorded the assessment for review when reporting my findings to verify my initial impressions. This has been extremely helpful in getting an accurate and appropriate inventory of the student’s speech sound production.
In a study I have linked here, researchers indicated, “The findings support the use of telehealth in the language assessment of school-aged children using a web application and commercially available computer equipment. This reliable and innovative service delivery model has the potential to be used by speech pathologists to provide assessments to children in remote communities.” (Sutherland et al., 2016)
Telehealth language assessments using consumer grade equipment in rural and urban settings: Feasible, reliable and well tolerated
What is telepractice (a.k.a. telemedicine or telehealth)? (Pearson Education, Inc.)
Telepractice: An Overview and Best Practices by Jana Cason and Ellen R. Cohn..pp.4–17