Schools and Colleges

Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic Assessment:


“A detailed assessment of need should ensure that the full range of an individual’s needs are identified, not simply the primary need.”
(SEND Code of Practice, 2015, 6.27)

The diagnostic assessment is a detailed 360-degree analysis of the pupil’s strengths and weaknesses. It investigates the holistic cognitive and psychometric profile of the pupil in order to determine how they learn best and identify any barriers to learning. All assessments use the most recent edition of fully standardised norm-referenced tests in line with current PATOSS guidance, in order to determine the level of difficulty when compared to the national population.

Additional assessments can be provided, where requested, including: an analysis of mathematical reasoning and development (which may be associated with dyscalculia), assessment of motor coordination and language development.

For older students, recommendations are additionally provided for the student themselves to improve their study skills and develop independence in their learning. Following the assessment, the findings will be discussed with you and a full written report will be provided within 2 weeks of the assessment.

The JCQ regulate applications for access arrangements in public exams and all assessments provided meet their rigorous requirements and standards.

More about the JCQ

Diagnostic assessments are also offered for parents.

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What is assessed?

Find out what is included in a diagnostic assessment.

Full assessments take approximately 3 hours and include assessment of:

Where a pupil is identified as experiencing difficulties which may be associated with dyspraxia, an assessment of visual-motor integration can be conducted. However, a referral for a clinical assessment may be required to make a formal diagnosis of DCD or dyspraxia.

Where a pupil is identified as experiencing difficulties associated with other complex needs, such as autism, ADHD/ADD or Aspergers Syndrome, recommendations for a relevant clinical assessment may be made.


What can you expect from the report?

The diagnostic report details the results from the assessment, explains the relevance of each skill assessed, and analyses the impact of any identified difficulty upon development and learning. They include the investigation of strengths and needs, and subsequently provide a number of recommendations for appropriate support and intervention.

The reports are detailed and thorough, based upon many years experience of assessment. They aim to uncover the root cause or causes for why your child may be experiencing the difficulties which concern you. As a result, recommendations for intervention and support are provided, alongside strategies to help at home and in school.

The reports comply with DfE Guidelines (2016), PATOSS Guidelines/Code of Practice and JCQ Regulations. They are able to be used for providing evidence for additional support as well as strategies to aid progress and development.

In some cases, it may be appropriate for your child to be referred for additional assessment and support in the form of other agencies such as Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy or a Specialist Clinician/Doctor.

If a further referral is recommended, a letter can be provided for the clinician to aid their assessment process.

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Access Arrangements:

The specialist assessment and report can be used as evidence of need when making an application for exam access arrangements in external examinations for: GCSE, A Level, BTEC Diploma, Functional Skills or beyond at university level.

All assessments and reports comply with JCQ Regulations, the regulatory body for access arrangements in public examinations, in addition to examination board and university requirements.

A Form 8 Section C will also be completed where access arrangements are identified. It is possible to complete the Form 8 Section A provided information regarding to the pupil’s normal way of working and evidence of need are provided prior to assessment.

Where a school or college commissions a diagnostic assessment, the specialist assessor will work closely with the school SENCO to ensure any recommendations are supported through evidence collected from the pupil’s teachers and SENCO.