NC School District Story
A school district increases efficiency by using digital clinical assessments
These days, more and more demands are being placed on school psychologists. According to Suzanne M., a school psychologist for a large school district in North Carolina, “the extent of the disabilities seems to be more complicated. You used to just get reading problems. But now, we’re seeing more—psychiatric problems, behavioral problems, and neurological problems.”
School psychologists rely on a portfolio of clinical assessments to help identify and diagnose these problems. Suzanne’s school district decided to test a digital system for administering and scoring clinical assessments to help her and the other school psychologists in the district improve their efficiency and manage their workload. In the fall of 2014, it piloted Pearson’s Q-interactive, an iPad®-based system that includes a variety of commonly used clinical assessments.
Participants in the pilot found their efficiency improved by using the digital system. “It’s quicker,” Suzanne observed. “I think you make fewer scoring errors, because it’s right there in front of you as you swipe through. You can just touch the responses. And you can score it very quickly. A lot of times, teachers want to know immediately how a child has done. And with this, you can just push the button. You don’t have to do the calculations.”
Suzanne estimates that by administering and scoring the clinical assessment digitally, she saves approximately thirty to forty-five minutes per child. Since she administers sixty to seventy WISC-V clinical assessments per year, she could save up to fifty-two hours a year by going digital.
Estimated Time Saved by Administering and Scoring the WISC-V Digitally vs Paper & Pencil
Suzanne also observed that the iPad-based system increased student engagement. Because the assessment is on the iPad, it looks less like a test, and students, especially the younger ones, like using the iPads. The digital system allows Suzanne to spend more time interacting with and observing students rather than taking notes.
When asked what advice she would give a colleague who is considering transitioning from paper-and-pencil to digital clinical assessments, Suzanne replied, “Do it. If I had a choice, I would not go back to paper-and-pencil assessments.”
Based on Suzanne’s feedback and that of the other pilot participants, the school district plans to expand its digital implementation in 2015.
To learn more about the district’s digital clinical assessment trial program, read the full success story.