We’ve been flooded with emails about Mindprint over the last few weeks How is this different from academic testing? Is my school doing this or should I be doing this at home? What are the benefits? We greatly appreciate your interest and decided to write a new “Dr. Fauci-inspired” Q & A to answer the most common questions about cognitive testing and provide what we expect is a relatable analogy.
How is Cognitive Testing similar to Corona Testing?
Think of your current achievement tests (e.g. MAP, STARR, iREADY, PARCC, state assessments) as the swab test. The swab test confirms if you have corona at a single point in time. Similarly, achievement tests confirms what a student knows (or doesn’t) at a moment in time. And just as the swab test won’t tell you whether you could contract corona in the future, an achievement test won’t tell what your child is capable of learning in the future or what will happen if she stops putting in as much effort.
Cognitive tests are more similar to antibody tests. Antibody tests confirm if you’re susceptible to catching the virus or if you can go back to your pre-corona lifestyle without concern. Similarly, cognitive tests will indicate if you’re child might have school challenges down the road. And while a negative antibody test doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house, it does mean you should adopt extra precautionary strategies to avoid the virus. Similarly, cognitive tests will tell you if there are strategies you can put in place now to close existing achievement gaps and potentially avoid future difficulties.
Finally, just as the antibody tests are [relatively] quick and painless with near-immediate results, most students actually enjoy the Mindprint assessment and are curious to see their results when they come back in a few days (I know it sounds too good to be true but it really is. Watch for yourself.)
If my child has a challenge wouldn’t my teacher have told me?
Just as the virus is the “hidden enemy’, many learning challenges can’t be seen by teachers or parents. Just as with corona, we must have scalable, reliable testing for every student if we want accurate data on what they need.
If cognitive testing is so valuable, why isn’t my school doing it?
Your school is giving cognitive tests, it’s actually required by IDEA, a federal law. However, just as not everyone has been able to get corona testing because of scalability issues, schools have historically limited cognitive testing to specific students who have exhibited the highest academic need. But just as Dr. Fauci has been actively working to make sure that everyone can get antibody testing, Mindprint and the neuroscientists at University of Pennsylvania, have been working to make sure that every student who wants or needs a cognitive test can have one. Mindprint is now available online at home. The results from the one hour test are typically available in 1-3 business days.
How can I get a test for my child?
If you’re a parent, click here and sign-up today. Or forward this information to your school and ask them to contact us. If you’re a school administrator or teacher, please email us here so we can ensure that all your students who need testing can get testing either while they are learning from home or when they return to school in the Fall. And yes, it’s affordable for every student who needs a test to get a test now and in the future.
If cognitive testing shows my child has a challenge, what do I do?
In many cases the preventative strategies will be simple and straight-forward activities you can do at home. In some cases we will recommend follow-up testing or consultation. You can share the results with your school to help you get the supports you need, or you can reach out to one of our providers.
What do you mean by simple and straight-forward strategies?
There will be links in your child’s Mindprint to specific strategies, but below are a few examples. Keep in mind, just as you don’t want to use strategies for corona if you don’t need them, you don’t want to use strategies for challenges if you don’t need them. Strategies can take time and practice. And as all parents (especially those with teenagers) know, we never want to make our kids do something that takes effort if they don’t need to. That said, if they need to, the benefits can be life changing. Here are just a few examples by type of challenge
- Attention: Take regularly scheduled breaks, Have a homework routine
- Organization (Working Memory): Have a reliable organizational system
- Memory (pictures): Describe what you see
- Memory (text): Space out your studying
- Visual Reasoning: Annotate word problems
- Verbal Reasoning: Draw a picture
What about giftedness? Strengths? You say you use a “strength-based approach”.
We all need good news these days, and here’s great news. Cognitive testing will also identify your child’s strengths. Mindprint will guide you on how to use strengths to make learning easier and offset any challenges. Perhaps more importantly, you can use strengths to pick the best college majors, career choices and discover new passions. Here are some examples:
- Visual Memory: Great for subjects that require a lot of visual retention like medicine, art history and marketing design
- Verbal Memory: Great for subjects that require a lot of knowledge like the social sciences
- Abstract Reasoning: Great for engineering, medicine and computer science
- Spatial Perception: Great for visual design, architecture, interior design
- Verbal Reasoning: Great for writing, teaching and the humanities
- Working Memory: Great for product and project management
- Attention: Great for long, multi-faceted projects
- Visual Motor Speed: Great for hands-on tasks include lab work, sports, and building
- Flexible Thinking: Great for managing or working with people, or any careers that involve a lot of change
Thank you to Dr. Fauci and the scientific community for your clear and steady guidance through this most challenging time for all of us.