Testing vs. Assessments


Types and Purposes of Reading Tests

Achievement Tests: Usually Given by a School

These are referred to as “Norm­‐Referenced” tests, which mean that student’s scores are compared to a large, pre-defined, sample population. Thus, the student’s performance on these tests is compared to that of other student’s scores and tells how a student compares to others who are the same age/grade.

Descriptive Tests: Given by Licensed Psychologists

These are tests given by Clinical Psychologists, Educational or School Psychologists, or other individuals who have been licensed by the State of Utah. If these tests are given by individuals who have not been licensed by the state to administer these tests, they should be considered invalid, as the individuals giving them are not authorized. These tests may measure I.Q., rapid memory, phonemic awareness, ability to blend words, etc. These tests are used to diagnose and or to measure progress following treatment. Some commonly used tests include the CTOPP, The Woodcock Oral Reading Test, The Gray Oral Reading Test, The WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), and the Woodcock Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities.

Note: Unless you have a compelling reason, it is not recommended that you have these tests administered to your student. These tests can be expensive and a diagnosis does not automatically qualify a child for an IEP or for 504 status. Schools have their own testing protocols for determining if a child qualifies for such status.

Prescriptive Tests: Given by a Trained Tutor or Instructor

Prescriptive tests are considered informal tests as they have not been norm-­referenced, that is the results are not comparable to other students or groups of students; hence, they do not provide information on grade level. These tests are designed to help identify specifically what a child knows or does not know about reading. They include tests on specific phonemes, spelling rules, knowledge about syllabication, sight word knowledge, and fluency. Such tests give tutors and teachers information about what needs to be taught so that the child can reach his or her appropriate level of achievement.

Dyslexia Center of Utah- Assessment

The Assessment DOES NOT diagnose Dyslexia, the purpose of the assessment is to let us know the weaknesses and strengths of the student. It also lets us know where to place the student in the multi sensory reading, writing, and spelling program we use.

The Assessment is not intended to be used to get 504 accommodations or to qualify your child for special education services.

The cost of the assessment is $100.00 (required before starting tutoring)

The Dyslexia Center of Utah ONLY provides prescriptive, screening assessments. We administer an assessment primarily to help us determine where to place students in the SPIRE reading and spelling program, and which additional concepts need to be taught. We include informal testing on the following:

  1. Letter Knowledge
  2. Sound-­Letter Relationships
  3. Phonemic Awareness: Phonemic Awareness is the student’s ability to recognize initial, medial, and final phonemes in words.
  4. Spelling: Our spelling tests measure the student’s knowledge of and ability to apply spelling rules.
  5. Sight Word Recognition (SPIRE)
  6. Decoding: Decoding tests measure the student’s ability to read nonsense words (use knowledge of phoneme/grapheme relationships as well as knowledge of syllabication and spelling rules to decode unfamiliar words)
  7. Fluency: Fluency tests measure the student’s ability to read smoothly with expression and comprehension.

Dyslexia Testing Resources:

DCU does not recommend or endorse any individual, business, school or program. We provide these contacts to help you network with those involved in the issues of dyslexia.

Edward A. Martinelli, Jr., PH.D

Licensed Psychologist, Utah LLC.

Ed is the Director of the disability office at UVU making it possible for him to do the evaluations in the evenings and on Saturdays. Ed currently charges $600. for each evaluation.

Depending on where the results are headed (ACT, College, or post college tests), Ed structures the testing to meet those requirements.

Generally speaking, Ed uses the WAIS-IV for the cognitive ability battery, and the Woodcock-Johnson III Achievement Battery for the achievement measure. Ed gives the full standard battery, and then if the results show difficulty in a particular area, then he will give the supplemental subtests in that area. Ed includes a look at ADD/ADHD through a couple of self-reports. For some end-users, he will also give the Nelson-Denny Reading Test.

Ed does the testing out of his office at UVU (Lossee Center rm. 312).

The testing tends to take 6-8 hours to do the intake, cognitive ability testing, achievement testing, other measures, and then he will schedule a meeting to go over the results.  He typically gives 3-4 copies so that there are enough to go where people need to.. He can work with people pretty quickly once he knows their situation. It typically takes about 2-3 meetings to get the testing done, depending on the client’s ability to meet with him.  Ed has done lots of work with ACT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and the GMAT evaluations and tries to keep up with their requirements, deadlines, and processes.

Ed cannot do evaluations for individuals looking to come to UVU, as doing the evaluation and then determining their status at UVU would present a conflict of interest for him and the school.


Julien T. Smith, PhD

Pediatric Neuropsychologist

Wasatch Pediatric Neuropsychology, Inc.
Clinical Associate Professor

University of Utah
231 East 400 South, Ste 335
Salt Lake City, UT 84111


Jenise Jensen, Ph.D.

Child Development & Neuropsychology Center
Pediatric Neuropsychologist Specializing in Diagnosing Dyslexia


160 S 1000 E, Ste 330
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

David S. Wood, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist
ADHD and Learning Disability evaluations for adolescents and adults suitable for disability accommodations in high school and college.

$500 for a standard evaluation.