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The difference between screening and formal assessment for dyslexia

Updated: Dec 7, 2022




Screening tests are designed to give an indication of possible dyslexic difficulties. They are not a diagnosis but are sometimes useful as a starting point in investigating a learners needs. There are a number of paper based or online dyslexia screeners that are available. Quite often schools screen students to determine dyslexia risk levels. However, it is important to note that these are not completely accurate and learners can be falsely identified as being at risk and also incorrectly identified as not being at risk at all.


The British Dyslexia Association has a number of checklists and produced this guide on dyslexia and a number of other learning difficulties:



Where any screening test indicates a moderate probability of dyslexic difficulties, the best course of action is to follow up with a full diagnostic assessment. This would determine the precise nature of dyslexia and identify any related difficulties. The assessment provides a clear picture of the person’s strengths and weaknesses and their individual cognitive profile. This method of diagnostic assessment can only be undertaken by a psychologist or a level 7 trained specialist teacher/assessor of dyslexia. It involves assessing an individual's underlying abilities and identifying patterns of strengths and difficulties. Areas covered in the assessments are visual and verbal abilities, phonological awareness, working memory, processing speed, reading, writing, spelling and handwriting.


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