What Is a Psychoeducational Evaluation?

You were told to get a psychoeducational evaluation. After calling a bunch of psychologists’ offices around Miami, your head is still spinning from all the information. The prices you were quoted ranged from hourly to flat rates in the thousands of dollars. Some places take your insurance while others don’t.  You’re not sure what to do next.

Psychoeducational testing is a big investment you can’t afford to get wrong.

Don’t worry.  We’ve got answers to all your questions about psychoeducational evaluations so you get a better sense of what you need to consider before moving forward.  These are some of the most common questions we get asked.

Q: Why do I (or my child) need a psychoeducational evaluation?

A: Usually a psychoeducational evaluation is recommended when someone is struggling with academic subjects (e.g. reading, math, etc.) despite getting extra help from the teacher and/or private tutoring.  This evaluation can help determine if you (or your child) has a mental health condition that may be interfering with the learning process and can make recommendations to help make learning easier and/or level the field on standardized tests (e.g. FSA’s, EOC’s, AP/IB/Cambridge exams, ACT, SAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.).

Q: What does psychoeducational testing consist of?

A: Expect a clinical interview, test administration, and a feedback session to review the final report with the licensed psychologist.

As for the test administered, this is where things sometimes get confusing. There’s no universal set of tests that must be administered.  In fact, the tests used can vary from one psychologist to another, based on their preference, training, and availability. So listing the names of specific tests is pointless. Instead, it’s better to focus on areas or domains of functioning. A comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation will include:

  • Intellectual functioning – an IQ test
  • Academic functioning – an academic achievement test
  • Executive functioning – tests of attention, concentration, planning, judgment, and memory
  • Visual-motor functioning – tests of visual perception and fine motor skills
  • Behavioral and emotional functioning – tests for mood, anxiety, or conduct disorders
  • Adaptive functioning – a test of activities of daily living

Executive and adaptive functioning are optional domains in a psychoeducational evaluation and included when there’s a reason to believe there are attention deficits or intellectual/developmental delays, respectively.

Q: Does a psychoeducational evaluation also test for ADHD/ADD?

A: Yes, it can.  Tests that measure executive functioning can be added to detect the presence of ADHD/ADD.

Q: Can a psychoeducational evaluation be done on adults, too?

A: Absolutely.

Q: What can I expect during the interview?

A: You’ll be asked about your personal history as it related to family, birth, developmental milestones (e.g. walking, talking, etc.), medical history, history of mental health for yourself and immediate family members. You can also expect to be asked in-depth questions about academic history and performance and may be asked to provide copies of grade reports. In some cases, you may be asked to grant the evaluator permission to speak to teachers or professors.  

Try to be as open, honest, and accurate during the clinical interview because this is the information that will provide a context for understanding the results of the psychological tests that will follow.

Q: What can I expect during the test(s)?

A: On average, it takes between 6-8 hours to complete the test administration portion of psychoeducational evaluations. This depends on the number of areas of functioning are being assessed and the person’s speed of completion as some portions of the tests are untimed. In some cases, the person being tested may be tired easily and will require breaks and/or that testing be split into a few sessions.

As for the tests themselves, some are questionnaires of true/false or multiple choice questions while others involve reading, writing sentences, solving math problems, or working with puzzles.  

The evaluator will then score all the tests and write a report that combines these results and the information gathered during the clinical interview and any other interviews. The report will provide conclusions, diagnoses (if necessary), and recommendations to help facilitate learning.

Q: How much does a psychoeducational evaluation cost?

A: Cost mostly depends on the evaluator’s specialization and experience, and time to complete the psychoeducational evaluation. For example, you can expect to pay more for a child psychologist to do this evaluation than an independently practicing school psychologist.  A neuropsychologist will likely charge even more. Generally, hourly rates for testing in Miami range between $200 to $300 an hour, with most psychoeducational evaluations taking 14 to 16 hours total to complete.

Some psychologists charge a flat rate for a psychoeducational evaluation. At the time of writing this, the most common range is $2500 to $3500 in Miami.  Be sure to ask about any add-on costs (i.e. travel to and from school for observation, interviews or meetings with school staff, etc).

Q: Will my insurance cover psychoeducational testing?

A: Yes and no.  Insurance companies cover testing that is considered “medically necessary”.  This usually means that the ‘educational’ parts of psychoeducational evaluations are not covered because academic functioning isn’t considered “medically necessary” by most insurance companies. You’re probably wondering how the insurance company will ever know which tests are administered.  Well, usually a representative from your insurance company will ask to review a list of proposed tests, green-lighting some tests but not anything academic (which kind of defeats the point of testing). At this point, the psychologist will quote you on the cost of adding on the testing your healthcare plan won’t cover.  

You have another option if you have a PPO healthcare plan with out-of-network benefits. You pay for the psychoeducational evaluation out of pocket, and then the psychologist gives you a special receipt called a superbill. Then, you submit the superbill to your insurance company for them to process. The amount you paid will either: go towards meeting your annual deductible, or, you’ll get reimbursed a percentage of your cost if you’ve met your deductible. With this method, the insurance company’s representatives can’t pick and choose which tests to cover.

Q: What should I look for when selecting an evaluator?

A: Here are a few things to look for/ask about when you’re selecting an evaluator to perform your (or your child’s) psychoeducational evaluation.

  • Their qualifications – Look for a licensed psychologist or licensed school psychologist in the state of Florida.  You can verify their license with their name by clicking here.
  • Their training – Did they train as a child or developmental psychologist or pediatric neuropsychologist?
  • Their experience – Do they have experience doing psychoeducational testing? Are they familiar with the requirements of the local school district? How many of these evaluations do they currently complete per month? You’re looking for someone that does these frequently so their knowledge is current.  Testing measures and requirements, as well as learning disability criteria, are always evolving.

Hopefully, you have a better understanding about how you or your child can benefit from a psychoeducational evaluation after reading this.  If you have other questions that weren’t answered, call us at (305) 501-0133 or click here to schedule a free 15-minute Clarity Consult 

Envision Wellness is a private practice that offers psychotherapy, psychological testing, and life coaching in Miami, FL.  Our team has a passion for helping others achieve happy, fulfilling, and change-making lives that make the world a better place.  Each therapist has their areas of expertise.  Not sure who you’d like to work with?  Click here to schedule a free 20-minute phone consult to help you decide.

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