Performing psychological and educational assessments is a delicate task by itself. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it far more difficult than before. Conducting tele-assessments can be harrowing for many reasons, mainly that its inherent distance could create incorrect results. Fortunately, there are some methods for getting the most out of remote administration. For anyone in this situation, here are five tips for completing effective psychological and educational assessments during quarantine.

Evaluate the Test’s Necessity

Before conducting the assessment, it’s vital to consider whether now is the right time to do it. After all, the pandemic has greatly affected practically everyone’s behavior, so there’s an increased chance that the outcome won’t be accurate. Unfortunately, some tests are difficult to put off, and these are often the ones that require the most accuracy. For instance, a substantial diagnoses like autism could cause harm if incorrectly handled. However, holding off on assessing symptomatic behavior is also problematic. If you do decide to go through with such a test, consider speaking with an assessment consultant and be incredibly thorough. You’ll need to use your best judgement in this case.

Consider Your Client’s Abilities

Even if you’re able to undertake remote administration, your client may not be similarly inclined. There are several factors to take into account in this regard. One is disabilities. Clients with disabilities, especially physical ones, will likely be difficult to assess with tele-conferencing. You may not be able to see the client’s entire body, and the behavior of the individual might be difficult to contain. Another factor to consider is age. Younger clients, as many parents will tell you, are more reticent to attend video conferences. You may not be able to capture the attention of a child for the necessary amount of time. Take the time to think about how well your client would be suited to this new format.

Use Stable Equipment

You may not be an expert in technology, but using the right equipment is important in remote administration. If your equipment fails, it may end up botching the entire assessment. For instance, consider a performance test. Losing internet connection during one could greatly affect the results. It’s also vital to remember that owning the right technology isn’t enough. You need to know how to use it correctly. Run through the tests you intend to give several times. After all, any new medium of work requires training.

Look for New Behaviors

Chances are that your client is acting differently than normal. Clients that have been greatly affected by COVID-19 are, rightly, a concern for those currently offering telepractice services. These new behaviors could skew a test and produce a false and potentially harmful result. In order to avoid this, keep an eye out for perceivable differences, especially if the referral was given before the pandemic. If there are palpable discrepancies, think back to the client’s previous behaviors. It will be helpful if you have the results from any tests conducted pre-quarantine.

You may be reluctant to conduct assessments during quarantine, but some can’t be avoided. If you stay empathetic and understanding of your client’s situation, you may be able to achieve a successful test.

See the Remote Assessment Guidelines and other telepractice information at WPS.