Looking Beyond the Scores - Assessment of HE and Adults: SASC Authorised

The course explores in depth the impact that qualitative information can have on diagnostic decisions when assessing adults. Areas that will be considered include: background information; observation of behaviours and strategies; analysis of responses; test design; and the effects of education and experience on cognitive processes, “intelligence” and language knowledge.

Course Description

When assessing adults, qualitative analysis of test results becomes extremely important because of the range of factors which can potentially mask or exaggerate the extent of an individual’s difficulties. The course will explore how assessors can identify and make use of vital “clues” to develop a deeper understanding of an individual’s profile. It will include a review of research on factors such as the Flynn Effect, Matthew Effect, rapid naming, and average working memory and consider how analysis of responses and behaviours in intelligence tests (with particular reference to WRIT) and cognitive processing tests can sometimes provide a very different picture from that being presented by the scores. It will also take an in depth look at how test design can affect outcomes in reading and writing tests, and how this can sometimes explain apparent contradictions between test scores and the individual’s own report of difficulties.  The day will aim to develop assessor’s skills in identifying and analysing qualitative clues, to enable them to be more confident in making and reporting their diagnoses.

  1. A review of research on the Flynn Effect, Matthew Effect and average working memory.  This will be followed by detailed examination of a range of typical response and error patterns in WRIT, digit span tests, rapid naming tests and symbol/digit modalities - what do these patterns reveal about an individual, what do they reveal about the tests used, and how do they link to strengths and weaknesses in everyday tasks?

  2. Exploration of the role that background information, observation, and error analysis can play in making a diagnosis. This will be done by considering 3 profiles, each with the same set of borderline scores, but with very different background information, patterns of error and behavioural/attitudinal responses. We will evaluate how this qualitative information might influence decisions about whether the individual has underlying cognitive weaknesses and/or difficulties with literacy skills.

  3. What is meant by “reading speed”, “reading comprehension” and “writing speed.” Estimates of reading and writing speeds vary enormously, and apparently similar tests may be measuring very different aspects of reading or writing. This can affect scores and diagnostic decisions (particularly in relation to adults in HE). Delegates will be provided with extracts from commonly used reading and writing tests and we will jointly  consider how the test designs can affect an individual’s performance.

Course Outcome

  • Understanding of some evolutionary changes and constants in human intelligence and cognitive processing. 
  • Enhanced knowledge of qualitative factors that affect test outcomes and how these can be analysed to provide a better understanding of the individual’s profile
  • Deeper understanding of the impact of test design upon outcomes


Delegates are expected to hold a relevant qualification in the diagnostic assessment of SpLD. [Level 7 or equivalent qualification]) and be working in HE or with adults


No pre-requisites in terms of resources needed


This training course is delivered as a full-day session beginning with coffee, and registration from 9.00am. The presentation starts at 10.00am prompt and closes at 4:15pm. Please note that lunch is provided on all full-day training courses.

Joining Instructions

Joining instructions will be sent by email one week before the event to the email address given by the course booker. However, all the information you need for the day is within this page.

Terms & Conditions

By submitting a booking you are agreeing to pay Patoss Ltd within 30 days. You are also agreeing to accept our Cancellation/Transfer Policy and Terms and Conditions which are shown at the bottom of the website page 


Sheila Rostill, Conference Administrator

E: srostill@patoss-dyslexia.org

T:   0330 135 7030

When & Where

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SASC Blue Block

5 Hours

For those professionals seeking to update an Assessment Practising Certificate, this event will contribute 5 hours to the core assessment practice CPD requirements.

What is SASC?

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This course is available as On-site Training. Click the 'On-line' button to find out more.

For the Stirling, Scotland event/s Patoss is working in collaboration with: