During this period of Covid-19, psychologists are having to consider how to adapt and continue to support children and adults with their additional learning needs. After extensive training, I feel confident that telepractice or remote assessment using a Zoom platform is a reliable and valid alternative to face-to-face assessments.
Test publishers have made their materials avaialbe for remote administration and various regulartory bodies have now accepted that this method of assessment is a good alternative to a face-to-face assessment. All of the usual tests can be administered and most children, young people and adults have become used to and comfortable with this way of working, having engaged in home learning or home working. They are ‘digitally native’ and familiar with using screens as a tool for learning. Many people are more comfortable having the assessment in their familiar home environment.
However, this way of working may not be suitable for all children/young people or adults due to perhaps their age or attention span or the IT equipment required at home and this will need to be considered carefully before deciding whether a remote assessment is appropriate. Prior to the assessment, as always, the history of the child/young person or adult's learning will be looked at and information from the parents, school or adult will be gathered to make sure this is a suitable method of assessment.
My professional associations and insurance company have issued guidance for this way of working, which I am respecting.
The decision to go ahead with a remote assessmet has to be made jointly by the parents, school, child/young person, adult and the psychologist to make sure this is an appropriate way to move forward with the assessment. Further details about remote assessments are available upon request.
Even under normal conditions it is worth highlighting that tests are tools and not magic wands. Their usefulness is always dependent on the skills of those employing and interpreting them. That is why a number of the tests are restricted according to the testers qualifications. It is always expected that the psychologist will use their clinical expertise to evaluate test performances and not simply take scores at face value; this is not unique to remote assessments.