interpreting neuropsychological testing

A Guide To Understanding Neuropsychological Test Results

When a child comes in for a neuropsychological evaluation, it can provide an opportunity to gain a larger picture of how he learns and if support is needed in and outside of the classroom. The results from the evaluation can then help parents and teachers alike to better support the child’s learning. After a day of testing, there are a lot of numbers and verbiage that may seem overwhelming and difficult to understand… what does it all mean?! Here is a guide to understanding these sometimes complex neuropsychological test results.

Most psychological tests are reported with standard scores and percentiles. This number is representative of how the child scored in comparison to a representative sample of same-age peers. This group is the “norm” group.

Standard Scores

Standard Score: Based on scale with the average score of 100.interpreting neuropsychological tests

“Typical” limits of functioning:

  • Above Average: 110-119
  • Average is considered: 90-109
  • Low Average: 80-89

68% of the general population will perform within these limits

There are generally many small tests (subtests) that make up a larger area of functioning like Working Memory (aka short-term memory), for example. When the scores of all the subtests are combined you get a composite score, which is reported as a Standard Score. These composite scores tend to be a little more reliable than the individual scores on their own…

Why may you ask?  Attention, fine motor skills, alertness, distractibility, anxiety, etc.  can all play a role in a child’s performance.

All of these observations are taken into account when interpreting the child’s results.

 Percentiles

Percentiles: These often go hand in hand with the standard scores. If a child earned a standard score of 100, then they performed at the 50th percentile. If you took stats, this may ring a bell, if not, here’s another way to think about it..

-“Danny did as well or better than 50% of the his same-age peers”

Typical areas looked at during an evaluation:

Your child’s cognitive functioning =

  • Memory
  • Verbal Comprehension
  • Fluid Reasoning: ability to think logically & problem solve in new situations
  • Visual Spatial skills: ability to visualize things in your head
  • Processing Speed: how quickly a child can perform on an “easy” or over-learned activity

Your child’s academic functioning =

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math

If the child has attention, language, social or emotional concerns, different types of tests are administered to supplement the evaluation and is tailored to the parents’ concerns and child’s needs.


Neuropsychology testing IL
NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Megan Pearson

Megan Pearson

Megan Pearson is a member of the Neuropsychology team as the Lead Neuropsychology Technician at North Shore Pediatric Therapy. Over the past year, she has assessed over 200 children presenting with ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Autism, Dyslexia, social-emotional issues, and more. Megan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Illinois State University in 2007 and subsequently graduated from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2011. Megan is currently in the process of obtaining her LCPC credential. Megan also manages the neuropsychology blog team in developing and organizing blogs for NSPT. Over the years, she has had many wonderful experiences working with children in different capacities with a variety of backgrounds. She had the pleasure of conducting therapy and assessments with children and teens specializing in play therapy, anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, and ADHD.

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