School diagnosticians are employed by school districts to administer psychoeducational tests. Diagnosticians work closely with teachers, administrators, parents and students to test and make recommendations to increase student performance. Diagnosticians must have a master's degree in psychology, counseling or a related field. Most states require that diagnosticians be licensed and will determine which degree is acceptable. School diagnosticians are also known as educational diagnosticians or school psychologists.
School diagnosticians spend time with students who are referred to them by teachers, administrators or parents to assess academic skills and cognitive needs. Diagnosticians administer tests to measure cognitive functioning, also known as IQ tests, to determine if students should be placed in advanced courses. Tests to measure for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are routinely administered when a child presents with disruptive behavior. Other tests include measurement of visual perception, motor skills, visual-motor integration and academic achievement. The goal of all testing is to determine the type of intervention that will help the student succeed.
After completing testing, diagnosticians analyze the results and compile a written report that includes these results. Using this information, recommendations are made as to modifications in the student's curriculum, social and behavioral interventions. It is important to write a report because the information must be analyzed and presented by a qualified person (the diagnostician), and the documentation of work with a student is required.
Using the report, diagnosticians hold meetings with staff who work directly with the student as well as administrators and parents. The goal of these meetings is to determine the appropriate course of action to ensure the student's success. Quite often, these meetings determine if the student qualifies for special accommodations according to statutes of the Americans with Disabilities Act wherein students with disabilities, such as ADHD, are guaranteed equal access to an education.
Teachers, administrators and parents often consult with diagnosticians if difficulties are experienced with the student. Diagnosticians possess knowledge of behavioral interventions that they can suggest. Diagnosticians operate as part of a multidisciplinary team, consisting of all professionals who interact with the student, including teachers, administrators and even external persons such as doctors.
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