This Week’s Episode: The SLP’s Checklist to Assessments 101
This month we are kicking off a series about all things assessment. 🎉
Today I’ll be discussing the ultimate checklist for SLPs on Assessments and share some high-level strategies on things that we can consider when we dive into our assessments while making that process a little bit easier.
Having a checklist helps streamline the Assessment process and helps us get organized! Are you excited? I know I am because I love checklists! 😍
We’re sharing general assessment strategies to help you “work smarter” this month, but we are going to dive into assessment strategies for specific areas over the next few months!
1. Review past reports/IEPs/session data.
Don’t reinvent the wheel and review the information you already have on hand.
2. Complete classroom observation.
This can be incredibly helpful to see how the student is performing in the classroom and if we can offer any support to the teacher.
3. Gather info from family/teacher.
The paperwork binder has forms you can use to send the teachers and family.
4. Formal Assessments
We’ll discuss in more detail in two weeks. Episode 135.
5. Informal Assessment
Listen in three weeks! Episode 136.
6. Language Sample
Join us next week for episode 137.
7. Identify strengths/challenges across assessment info.
Click here for our free template.
Check out this blog post for additional resources and reporting templates: 6 IEP Hacks for SLPs
Strategies to Manage the Workload
✓Make a checklist of the most important parts.
🗓 Schedule it out.
📝 Create templates.
We’re sharing general assessment strategies to help you “work smarter” this month, but we are going to dive into assessment strategies for specific areas over the next few months so stay tuned in! 🎧
Check out this blog post for additional resources and reporting templates: 6 IEP Hacks for SLPs
Next Up in this Pod Series
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Speaker 1: Hello there and welcome to The SLP Now Podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech-language pathologists. Grab your favorite beverage and sit back as we dive into this week's episode.
Speaker 1: Hello there. This month we are kicking off a series about all things assessment. So today we are going to go through a little bit of an assessment checklist and just kind of share some high-level strategies on things that we can consider when we dive into our assessments and making that process a little bit easier. We've got school-based SLPs, the workload is intense. There's a lot happening and a lot of information that we're expected to gather to make good, sound eligibility decisions. So this is a really important phase of the process. Like I said, today's going to be higher level. And then in the following weeks, we'll dive into more of the specific areas and really dive into this discussion a little bit more.
Speaker 1: We'll start with a nice overview. So the first thing on my assessment checklist is to review past evaluation reports, IEPs, session data. This is really important. When I am going through an assessment with a student, I just want to see what information I already have so that I don't reinvent the wheel unnecessarily and so that I have a really good idea of where we're starting from. If I've been working with this student, this is probably working knowledge for me already, but it can be nice to do a quick review. And then if it's a new student, any data that we have access to can be really helpful in helping us formulate the best possible assessment given our time of course. We're all about being practical and making sure that this is doable.
Speaker 1: The next thing on my checklist is to complete a classroom observation. This is a part that I often forgot to do and was scrambling to gather at the last minute, but it can be incredibly informational to be able to see how a student is performing in the classroom and to see what their language looks like, what their participation looks like, and if there's any strategies that we could potentially share with the teacher to support the student in the classroom. It's just really, really impactful and it can help us kind of draw connections with the other assessment data that we might be pulling together.
Speaker 1: And if you're wondering about how to do a review of the past reports and IEPs, like we just talked about, or what a classroom observation could look like, then I'd highly recommend signing up for a free trial of SLP Now. You can do that at slpnow.com/trial. It's totally free, no credit card required or anything like that. But we do have a really epic paperwork binder that will give you access to all of these templates and resources. So you could totally sign up for a free trial and just grab that binder and not do anything with it. But there's also a lot of other tools in the trial. So if you're looking for therapy, materials or tools to streamline your caseload management in general, that's a great resource as well. But definitely go access it just for the binder if that makes sense for you too.
Speaker 1: So, that's the second strategy is to grab that classroom observation. Then we want to gather information from the family, from the teacher, and the paperwork binder has some forms that we can use to send those out, so that's super helpful as well. And then the fourth thing on our checklist is to complete a formal assessment. So, we'll discuss this in a lot more detail in episode 135, so next week, but we'll share all of the considerations and strategies to streamline this process. So stay tuned for that episode. Then the fifth item on the checklist is to complete informal assessments and we'll have lots of details on that in episode 136, so in two weeks. So stay tuned for that. And then the sixth item on the checklist is to complete a language sample. So we'll dive into all of the details on collecting language samples and making that doable within our workload in episode 137, and spoiler alert, it's totally possible.
Speaker 1: And then once we have all of that information, we want to identify the strengths and challenges across all of these measures. So what did we notice in reviewing our past data, especially session data? If it's an ongoing student, what do we see them struggling with in session? What do we see in the classroom? What do we see in the family report, in the teacher report, in the formal assessment results, the informal assessment results? I'll add a free template in the show notes, which you can find at slpnow.com/134. So again, that's slpnow.com/134. I like to use a little template where I jot down the strengths that I'm seeing and where they're showing up. And then I can use that to establish priorities and to kind of inform goal writing and to really just structure the conversation with the team to make sense of all of the different pieces of data that we're collecting. So that's super helpful. And then that'll help us make really well-informed eligibility decisions. It'll help inform our goal writing, all of that good stuff.
Speaker 1: So that's the checklist, but there's an awful lot of work involved in that checklist. So I want to take just a few minutes to chat about some strategies that we can use to manage this because we're not just doing one assessment at a time, we're managing a lot of these, so there's a lot happening. So the first strategy is to schedule it out. So, if we have 30 evaluations that we know we're going to have to complete over the school year...
Speaker 1: And actually first, we just want to identify how many evaluations or assessments we'll be completing. And of course, this isn't always perfect because we'll have students who transfer in, or we'll have referrals and all of that so it won't be a perfect number, but we can at least look at the ones that we know are going to happen in terms of the students who are currently on our caseload and who are up for re-eval, and just mapping out, okay, I have three in August, three in September, five in October. So if I know that's the trend, then I might try and work on 4 each month instead of 3, 3, 5, just to make the workload a little bit more manageable. And that is a pretty even workload, but you get the idea.
Speaker 1: If we have a month coming up with a lot of evaluations, we might do our future selves a favor just by working ahead a little bit, but just having an overview of what's coming and then we can reverse engineer on whatever we need to do to make that happen. And then we can also factor in, okay, we know that we can expect to get this many referrals so that means that I'll be doing this many. And you can look at past district data or whatever to inform that decision as well.
Speaker 1: So schedule it out, kind of look at the workload, and come up with a game plan to attack the assessments that you have done. And if you're not at the beginning of the school year, and I know some districts do them all in March, or a certain month of the year all of the assessments are due at the same time. So if that's the case or you don't have a lot of wiggle room to work ahead, come up with a game plan to get through that increased workload. It might be possible to advocate for support, so you can always try that. But if it doesn't seem like there's a way out of it, you can only pour so much. Your bucket can only handle so much. So find a way to make it manageable.
Speaker 1: The world needs you to be able to take care of yourself so you can show up for your students, and yeah, just make your life feel livable, really. So think of ways that can make it more manageable. So maybe you decide that you're going to come into work an hour early every day to kind of start knocking out the assessments. And maybe to make that feel a little bit more fun, you get yourself a coffee on your way to work, or you pack a fun beverage that you can drink. I used to bring homemade chai lattes to work with me. Then maybe put on some good music or something. Try and make the most of it. If you're having to do that time, try and make it cozy, get some good music or a fun drink, and just kind of plan it out and know that's what that'll look like for the time being.
Speaker 1: Another strategy that I've heard of SLPs using, and it's pretty affordable for the most part, but there's meal delivery services that you can use. So if you're having a chaotic evaluation month or whatever it may be, consider getting some support or asking a family member if they can help with meals potentially, or if you can do some meal delivery so there's just one less thing to think about. And giving yourself healthy food can also help fuel this crazy time at work. But just consider some of those strategies to support yourself, whether it's a short-term crazy month, or just managing the workload kind of over the school year.
Speaker 1: A couple more practical strategies are to make a checklist. So I went through a checklist of the parts that I've seen most often in the district. It's probably not comprehensive for your district. The paperwork binder has some details and it has suggestions for specific areas as well, which can be really helpful, but this can be a good activity to go through with your... if you have another SLP or multiple SLPs in your district, kind of coming up with a checklist, if it doesn't already exist for what's required. And then what I like to do is I kind of laminate a handful of copies of that checklist and I attach it to the front of every evaluation packet. I make a little folder with all of the pending documents for an evaluation, and then I just clip that checklist to the front and I check it off as I complete the steps.
Speaker 1: Another option is to do this digitally. That's what I ended up transitioning to, and it's really epic because you can have it auto-assign due dates and help you prioritize what you need to do next and so nothing falls through the crack, which is really epic. And then another strategy, which I won't dive into a bunch, I'll link some resources in the show notes, but create some templates for your reports to significantly decrease your time there. So I'll link to some resources for templates as well as a tool that I really like to use to make it easy to plug those templates into my reports.
Speaker 1: So that is a wrap for this checklist episode and then stay tuned in the next few weeks to hear all about the specific strategies for formal, informal assessments, and language samples. So hope you have a fabulous week and we'll see you soon. Thanks for listening to The SLP Now Podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends, and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episode sent directly to you. See you next time.
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