Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic assessment:


“I don't really know where to start saying thank you. I so wish we had done this a long time ago. You really have made a difference to us as a family, a huge weight has been lifted.”
(Ms Salisbury Jones, Devon)

You may be concerned that your child is falling behind in School, or perhaps they struggle to perform as well in exams as they do in class.

A diagnostic assessment is an assessment of a child or young person’s strengths and weaknesses performed by a Specialist Assessor. As the assessments are fully standardised they are designed to determine any areas of difficulty in relation to the national population.

Diagnostic Assessments are also offered for Schools and Colleges.

Learn more

Specialist Assessor:

What is a specialist assessor?

A Specialist Assessor is a fully qualified and experienced teacher who has undertaken additional qualifications and training as an assessor and specialist in specific learning difficulties. They are able to diagnose dyslexia, dyspraxia and other specific learning difficulties.

As a teacher, they are able to offer specific recommendations for teaching staff to be able to support your child more fully in class. They can also recommend the most appropriate strategies for intervention and additional support for your child.

A Specialist Assessor can also recommend specific access arrangements in external exams as a result of the assessment process.

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

More about the JCQ

A Specialist Assessor can identify a number of specific learning difficulties, such as:

  • - Dyslexia: difficulties with reading, writing and/or spelling
  • - Auditory processing difficulties: Difficulties surrounding the auditory processing of information
  • - Dyscalculia: difficulties with numeration and basic number sense
  • - Dyspraxia: movement and co-ordination needs
  • - Language and communication difficulties: receptive and expressive language difficulties
  • - Complex difficulties: such as working memory or processing difficulties

Following the assessment, the findings will be discussed with you and a full written report will be provided within 2 weeks of the assessment.

What to look out for:

Find out if your child needs a diagnostic assessment.

Does your child have any of the following?

What is assessed?

This section outlines the skills which are assessed.

As a detailed analysis of your child’s strengths and needs, the assessment aims to investigate the underlying cause or causes for your child’s presenting difficulties, along with the extent and severity of difficulties experienced.

The assessor conducts a battery of assessments which take between 2 ½ and 3 hours to assess the following areas:

  • - Auditory and visual memory
  • - Auditory sequential memory
  • - Auditory processing
  • - General ability: Verbal and nonverbal reasoning
  • - Reading comprehension, accuracy and efficiency
  • - Phonological awareness and processing
  • - Auditory and visual memory
  • - Visual and auditory processing speed
  • - Spelling
  • - Handwriting legibility, comprehensibility and speed
  • - Visual perception
  • - Vocabulary, expressive and receptive language development
  • - Maths ability (where requested)
  • - Visual motor integration (where necessary)
  • - Visual stress / Irlen's Syndrome (where necessary)


What can you expect from the report?

Our diagnostic reports are detailed and thorough based upon many years’ experience of assessment. They provide an account of the observations of the behaviour of the individual during the test itself, the test results, an explanation of the relevance of each skill being assessed, and subsequently analyses the impact of any identified difficulty upon development and learning. As an outcome of the investigation of strengths and needs, a number of recommendations for appropriate support and intervention are provided.

The aim of the report is to detail the root cause or causes for why your child may be experiencing the difficulties which concern you.

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, exam access arrangements 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.

Contact for further details

Exam Access Arrangements:

What are exam access arrangements?

Exam Access Arrangements are reasonable adjustments under Equality Act 2010 legislation and enable students who have SEND to access exams. Each arrangement has specific criteria for assessment and application and the evidence required as set out in the JCQ Regulations.

All diagnostic assessments comply with the most recent edition of the JCQ Regulations.

The most common exam access arrangements include:

Please note that it is important that your School SENCO is aware of your arranging the assessment before it is arranged, in order for them to work closely with the Specialist Assessor when recommending access arrangements. Access arrangements must reflect your child’s normal way of working and must be supported through evidence of need and use.

Overview of support