Formal Assessments for Dyslexia or Specific Learning Disabilities are the responsibility of educational psychologists. Currently, dyslexia, is listed under the umbrella of Specific Learning Disabilities in Nebraska. "Rule 51" which can be accessed through the Nebraska Department of Education explains the process of assessment, identification and services. Informal screening assessments can be provided by Orton-Gillingham trained individuals.
Screening assessments help to identify problem areas related to dyslexia so that appropriate instruction for prevention/remediation can follow. These informal assessments do NOT provide a dyslexia identification, but provide valuable information for teachers/tutors/parents. Some of the areas that are assessed include:
Phonological Awareness: Spoken language is made up of discrete sounds and the ability to manipulate the sound units smaller than words is the best predictor of the ease of early reading acquisition.
Verbal Language Scale: This provides an index of what a student has learned and how well equipped the student is for future learning. The score provided is an “approximate” vocabulary grade level.
Phonemic Awareness: The 44 phonemes—sounds--are represented by 26 letters of the alphabet individually and in combination. There are approximately 70 ways to spell these sounds; thus the sound/symbol system of the English language.
Word Recognition Skills: This measures the student's ability to apply phonic and structural analysis skills to the pronunciation of printed words. The test entails reading and pronouncing words in isolation from lists of increasing difficulty. Difficulties in this area reflect poor knowledge of spelling-sound correspondences. This test provides an “approximate” grade equivalent and age equivalent score.
Criterion Referenced Spelling Test: This test identifies early spelling difficulties. It provides the opportunity to observe the student's segmenting ability when spelling, knowledge of the sound/symbol correspondence in spelling, and the knowledge of basic spelling rules/generalizations.
Fluency/Accuracy: This test measures the ability to read connected text rapidly, smoothly, effortlessly, and automatically with little conscious attention to the mechanics of reading such as decoding. This determines accuracy in reading and the rate of accuracy in reading.
Comprehension: This test assesses the active and intentional thinking in which meaning is constructed through interactions between the text and the reader by asking general or specific questions.
Sentence Writing: Capitalization, overall appearance, punctuation, and spelling are observed in order to reflect the student's ability to construct meaningful sentences by writing a dictated sentence.