Professional Learning Opportunities: Assessment

Formal professional learning opportunities offered by the Diagnostic Center, Northern California (DCN). This is part of the 2024-25 Professional Development Catalog.

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Topic Areas: Assessment | Behavior | Dual Language Learners | Intervention & Instruction | Mental Health


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Best Practices in Assessment for Speech and Language Pathologists

Presenter(s)

  • Janet McLellan, Ph.D., MA, CCC-SLP-L

Intended Audience

  • Speech language pathologists
  • Administrators

Sessions

  • AS044: In-Person (3 hours)
  • AS024: Virtual (2 hours)

Assessments are the foundation for the Individual Education Plan (IEP) process. However, myths abound about speech language assessment. How are students eligible? Who gets services? Myths like writing a report isn't necessary for SLPs. It is fine to offer services without an assessment. A student needs to score below the 7th percentile for speech and language services. You can't serve students with a single articulation error. There is a "speech IEP." This seminar will tackle the requirements for assessment under IDEA and the California Education Code. What to assess, what to include in the report, and how students become eligible will be discussed. The content is appropriate for speech-language pathologists serving students at all grade levels and disabilities who are new to school practice or those who want a refresher.

Participants Will

  • Describe what to include in an assessment of speech and language skills
  • List what to include in the assessment report
  • Discuss eligibility under Speech Language Impairment and the speech-language pathologist's role as a related service provider

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Assistive Technology Consideration (New!)

Presenter(s)

  • Janet McLellan, Ph.D., M.A., CCC-SLP-L, Speech-Language Pathologist

Intended Audience

  • Administrators
  • General education teachers
  • Special education teachers
  • Speech language pathologists

Sessions

  • AS053: In-Person (3 hours)
  • AS052: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Assistive technology must be considered for all students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP). What does this mean for professionals supporting students in special education? What assistive technology should be considered? This training will describe the process of assistive technology consideration, examine commonly available assistive technology and explore how to effectively implement assistive technology.

Participants Will

  • Describe the process of assistive technology consideration
  • Recognize the role of IEP team members in considering assistive technology
  • Support implementation of assistive technology

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Math Disabilities and Assessments

Presenter(s)

  • Joey Chapman, M. Ed, Education Specialist

Intended Audience

  • Special education teachers (transitional kindergarten - high school)
  • School psychologists

Sessions

  • AS045: In-Person (2 hours)
  • AS025: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Do you find yourself creating the same one or two math goals on your Individualized Education Plans (IEPs)? If you do, you are not alone. Creating a goal to work on math word problems and a goal to work on skip counting are the two most common math goals found on IEPs. This training will go over how to take a deeper dive in math to determine exactly what aspect of math your student is struggling in so that we can create math goals that are more specific and relevant to their needs. In this training we will go over what dyscalculia is. We will also look at formal math assessments that are currently being used and how to take the standard scores from the assessments and turn them into IEP goals.

Participants Will

  • Discuss the term dyscalculia
  • Understand that a math disability can be broken down into various components
  • Learn various formal math assessments that are currently being used in districts
  • Practice how to break down the assessment results and create specific SMART math goals from the data

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Dyslexia Academy - Part 1: Dyslexia Screening

Presenter(s)

  • Daniel Silberstein M.Ed, Educational Specialist

Intended Audience

  • General education teachers
  • Education specialists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • School psychologists
  • Administrators
  • Para-educators
  • Any specialists who would like to gain a fundamental understanding of dyslexia and how it impacts student performance

Sessions

  • AS026: In-Person (2 hours)
  • AS034: Virtual (1.5 hours)

California passed SB114 in 2023 a bill that will require screenings for kindergarten - second grade students throughout the state of California. This training will clarify California's definition of dyslexia and provide screening materials to help school teams identify and support students who may be at risk for reading difficulties such as dyslexia.

Participants Will

  • Learn components of phonological processing
  • Learn how to screen a student's phonological processing and early reading skills.
  • Learn how their screening data can inform components of a reading intervention program.
  • Learn academic interventions for students at-risk for dyslexia

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Dyslexia Academy - Part 2: Dyslexia Assessment

Presenter(s)

  • Daniel Silberstein M.Ed, Educational Specialist

Intended Audience

  • School psychologists
  • Administrators
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Education specialists
  • Any specialists who would like to gain a fundamental understanding of dyslexia and how it impacts student performance

Sessions

  • AS039: In-Person (2 hours)
  • AS038: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Feifer, Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP), and Test of Auditory Processing Skills (TAPS) oh my! What is orthographic processing anyway? How do I rule out exclusionary factors? This training will support educational teams in using their clinical judgment to make specific learning disability (SLD) dyslexia determinations.

Participants Will

  • Learn the components of phonological processing and orthographic processing.
  • Learn formal assessment tools to identify Specific Learning Disability (SLD) dyslexia.
  • Learn through case studies how to use their clinical judgment to decide if the student meets psychoeducational criteria for dyslexia.
  • Learn how to talk to families and educational stakeholders about a student with a dyslexic profile.

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Understanding Specific Learning Disability (SLD) and Psychoeducational Evaluations for Teachers

Presenter(s)

  • Daniel Silberstein M.Ed, Educational Specialist

Intended Audience

  • Education specialists
  • General education teachers
  • Reading specialists
  • Administrators
  • Any specialists who would like to gain a fundamental understanding of a psychoeducational report

Sessions

  • AS023: In-Person (2 hours)
  • AS032: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Teachers receive psychoeducational evaluations about each of their students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). What do all those standard scores really mean? This training will discuss how the information in a psychoeducational report can support teachers with planning effective academic interventions and quality educational programs.

Participants Will

  • Learn the cognitive processing areas a psychoeducational report evaluates and how they are assessed.
  • Learn how information from a psychoeducational evaluation can inform educational strategies.
  • Learn the basics of federal handicapping disability qualification for Specific Learning Disability (SLD).
  • Learn the difference between a discrepancy model and the Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) model and how educators can support the educational team in creating an assessment battery.

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In a Galaxy FAR FAR Away - Using the Feifer Assessment of Reading (New!)

Presenter(s)

  • Daniel Silberstein M.Ed, Educational Specialist

Intended Audience

  • Education specialists
  • Speech language pathologists
  • School psychologists
  • Administrators
  • Any specialists who would like to gain a fundamental understanding of how to administer and use the Feifer Assessments.

Sessions

  • AS055: In Person (2 hours)
  • AS054: Virtual (1.5 hours)

The Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR), provides school teams with cognitive clues to why a student is struggling academically especially in reading. How do we use these assessments to inform our teaching and support academic development.

Participants Will

  • Review how to administer the FAR
  • Learn what indexes in the Feifer assessments indicate specific cognitive weakness.
  • Learn through case studies how to identify students with dyslexia.
  • Learn how to write up a quality academic report based on the FAR assessment.

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Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Concussions - Part 1: Identification

Presenter(s)

  • Natalie Jocic, M.S., LEP, ABSNP, School Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • 504 coordinators
  • School nurses
  • Physical education coaches and athletic directors
  • School psychologists and counselors
  • Administrators

Sessions

  • AS030: Virtual (1.5 hours) (May be pre-recorded)

This introductory session focuses on defining TBI and concussions. Participants will consider neurobiological and neurochemical factors that influence neurological resilience. Participants will also distinguish between educational and medical TBI, their severity levels, and criteria to meet educational eligibility for TBI. Finally, participants will collect a list of screeners to use at the time of and following a head injury.

Participants Will

  • Identify features of the brain's complex integrated system
  • Describe symptoms of concussions, mild TBI, moderate TBI, and severe TBI
  • Distinguish between educational and medical definitions of TBI
  • Collect a list of screeners and resources to use at the time of and following a head injury

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Dynamic Assessment: A guide for Speech-Language Pathologists

Presenter(s)

  • Liz Arenas, M.S., CCC-SLP-L, Speech-Language Pathologist

Intended Audience

  • Speech-Language Pathologists

Sessions

  • AS046: In-Person (2 hours)
  • AS028: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Dynamic assessment, you have heard about it but want to learn how to implement it in your practice This training will provide participants with guidelines for how to conduct dynamic assessment.

Participants Will

  • Become familiar with the assessment framework of dynamic assessment.
  • Learn about guidelines and necessary components for designing and conducting dynamic assessment
  • Learn about tools that can be used to score your mediated learning experience
  • Learn how to integrate results into a written report

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Interdisciplinary Assessment of Girls with Suspected Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Reframing our Thinking

Presenter(s)

  • Janet McLellan, Ph.D., M.A., CCC-SLP-L, Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Natalie Corona, M.S., L.E.P., School Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • Speech language pathologists
  • School psychologists

Sessions

  • AS027: In-Person (3 hours)
  • AS035: Virtual (2 hours)

Far more boys than girls are diagnosed with autism, but that might not be because more boys have autism. Often, autism in girls looks different from the stereotype of autistic behavior, which makes it more difficult to diagnose and easier for professionals to miss. When girls with autism are not accurately identified, they miss out on support that can help them understand their challenges, build skills, and excel in school. In this training, school psychologists and speech-language pathologists will learn how to work together to better assess and identify girls on the spectrum.

Participants Will

  • Learn how girls with autism differ in their presentation
  • Learn about assessment tools and methods to identify ASD in girls
  • Learn how to work as an interdisciplinary team when conducting these assessments

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Executive Functioning Academy - Part 1: The Fundamentals

Presenter(s)

  • Natalie Corona, M.S., L.E.P., School Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • General education teachers
  • Education specialists
  • Intern and early career school psychologists
  • School counselors
  • Administrators
  • Para-educators
  • Any specialists who would like to gain a fundamental understanding of the executive functioning domains and how they impact student performance

Sessions

  • AS041: In-Person (3 hours)
  • AS040: Virtual (2 hours)

Executive Functioning (EF) refers to a set of processes that have to do with managing oneself and one's resources to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for neurologically based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. It is now commonly believed that executive functions are essential for purposeful, goal directed behaviors and actions, and there is substantial evidence that academic achievement and appropriate executive function skills are correlated.
In this beginning level training, educators will gain a fundamental understanding of executive functioning and its impact on student learning and development.

Participants Will

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of executive functioning skills and how EF skills develop.
  • Learn about the executive functioning domains, and how they impact student learning and behavior.
  • Develop foundational skills needed to plan effective executive functioning accommodations and interventions.

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Executive Functioning Academy - Part 2: Assessment & Analysis

Presenter(s)

  • Natalie Corona, M.S., L.E.P., School Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • School Psychologists

Sessions

  • AS043: In-Person (3 hours)
  • AS042: Virtual (2 hours)

Executive Functioning (EF) refers to a set of processes that have to do with managing oneself and one's resources to achieve a goal. It is an umbrella term for neurologically based skills involving mental control and self-regulation. It is now commonly believed that executive functions are essential for purposeful, goal directed behaviors and actions, and there is substantial evidence that academic achievement and appropriate executive function skills are correlated.
In this intermediate level training, educators will learn about the assessment and analysis of executive functioning skills.

It is recommended that participants have a fundamental understanding of EF to participate in this training. Participants are encouraged to take EF Academy Part 1 if they are early career practitioners, or if their understanding of executive functioning is at a beginner level.

Participants Will

  • Learn how to assess EF skills through formal and informal measures, rating scales, interviews, and observations.
  • Develop an efficient EF testing battery.
  • Learn about common EF profiles and assessment patterns.
  • Discuss educational impact and decision making for Individual Education Plans (IEP) and 504 eligibilities.

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How to Conduct Meaningful Assessments for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID)

Presenter(s)

  • Natalie Corona, M.S., L.E.P., School Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • School psychologists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Special education teachers

Sessions

  • AS029: In-Person (4 hours)
  • AS036: Virtual 1 of 2 (2 hours)
  • AS037: Virtual 2 of 2 (2 hours)

Comprehensive psycho-educational assessments are the cornerstone of any well-developed Individual Education Plans (IEP) and are essential for program planning. However, conducting assessments that are legally defensible and meaningful for students with significant needs can be especially challenging. Often, students with significant needs have difficulty participating in formal assessment measures and may even be deemed "untestable". This training will include strategies for how to gain relevant and meaningful information through a combination of formal and informal measures and the use of dynamic assessment.

Participants Will

  • Discuss the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and special education eligibility criteria for Intellectual Disability.
  • Learn how to conduct legally defensible assessments for students with ID that yield useful, meaningful information for goal writing and program planning.
  • Discuss formal and informal assessment measures to help providers develop a well-rounded assessment battery.
  • Learn strategies for dynamic assessment.
  • Learn how to explain ID and the implications to parents.

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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): What it is, What it isn't, and What to do About it

Presenter(s)

  • Kristin N. Moore, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • School psychologists
  • General education and special education teachers, especially those working with students who are hyperactive and/or inattentive
  • Mental health counselors

Sessions

  • AS022: In-Person (2 hours)
  • AS031: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Results from the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) from 2022 indicate that approximately 9.8% of children ages 3-17 have received a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This statistic suggests that 6.2 million children grapple with ADHD symptoms and the number is on the rise. This training highlights the historical implications of the current increase in this diagnosis, and offers information on how to accurately identify and assess for ADHD. This training also reviews best practice and evidence-based interventions to support students with an ADHD diagnosis in an academic setting.

Participants Will

  • Gain a better understanding of the historical implications of the current rise in ADHD diagnoses
  • Learn strategies to assess for ADHD
  • Learn evidence-based strategies and treatment interventions for working with students who have an ADHD diagnosis

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Projective Assessment: Diving Deeper

Presenter(s)

  • Kristin N. Moore, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • School psychologists
  • Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) assessors (This is an advanced training for individuals who already have a foundational skillset in social-emotional projective measures)

Sessions

  • SP004: In-Person (2 hours)
  • SP001: Virtual (1.5 hours)

Projective assessment measures can provide invaluable information regarding the social-emotional wellbeing of our students. These testing techniques offer youth an outlet to provide their own responses and additional information related to their internal processes. The measures go beyond "forced choice" responses on self-rating scales and that which can typically be obtained through behavioral observations. This training will review some of the more commonly used projective measures, and serve as a "refresher and update" for those who have had more exposure to these techniques during their graduate studies. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions pertaining to theory, research, and interpretation. Participants are encouraged to bring their own data, and case studies will be utilized to support skill acquisition.

Participants Will

  • Learn theory relevant to the utilization of projective measures
  • Identify projective measures they can add to their social-emotional or ERMHS assessments
  • Refresh their skill set as it relates to projective assessment measures

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Strengthening Autism Assessments Through Behavioral Observations

Presenter(s)

  • Amy Allen, Ph.D., NCSP, LMFT School Psychologist

Intended Audience

  • Intermediate to advanced practitioners
  • School psychologists
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) assessors

Sessions

  • AS050: In-Person (4 hours)
  • AS049: Virtual (3 hours)

This training is intended for intermediate to advanced school-based practitioners who conduct autism assessments. The primary focus is to sharpen and expand assessors' ability to operationalize and collect observational data as part of a comprehensive assessment. This training will build capacity to identify and document obvious and subtle social and behavioral features of autism.

Participants Will

  • Understand the value of diagnostic criteria to determine autism educational eligibility
  • Anchor behavioral observations with key indicators of autism
  • Identify varying degrees of autism-related behaviors

Visit our Special Training Events web page for additional training opportunities!

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