The Assessment Program at the California School for the Blind (CSB) is a statewide resource of professionals who have specific expertise in the education of children and young adults who are blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind. We provide the following services:
- Parent and Staff Consultation
- Student Assessment
- Professional Development
There are two models of student assessment:
- Center Assessment
- Field Observation/Consultation
Referral questions and a careful consideration of the characteristics and needs of the individual student determine which model is appropriate. The evaluations conducted by the CSB Assessment Center team do not take the place of initial or triennial Individualized Education Program (IEP) evaluations or Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs). Our assessments are not a part of the IEP process, and our team does not participate in IEP meetings. Our recommendations are made for IEP teams, including families, to consider for IEPs.
- Has a visual impairment which, even with best correction, adversely affects educational performance.
- Has unresolved educational concerns following thorough district assessment.
Areas of the Core and Expanded Core Curriculum form the basis for our service. This may include:
- Functional vision
- Speech and Language
- Cognitive Development
- Academic achievement
- Learning/reading media
- Assistive technology/Augmentative alternative communication
- Technology needs
- Orientation and Mobility
- Recreation and leisure skills
- Independent Living Skills
- Social-emotional functioning
- Self-determination and advocacy
Referral questions are addressed over three to five days through direct assessment, observations, and parent interviews. Results and recommendations are discussed in a collaborative conference with parents and district professionals. A comprehensive written report completes the process.
This format is appropriate for students who can respond to formal testing on the CSB campus. An apartment is available for family use.
Referral questions are addressed during one to two days of direct observation, a parent meeting in the home setting, and discussion with educational team members. A collaborative conference with parents and educational professionals is followed by a written report.
This format is appropriate for students whose strengths and needs are best demonstrated through interactions within their familiar home and school environments.
Consultation and Professional Development
Our staff is available for consultation, group workshops, or trainings to support district efforts and required assessments to provide the best possible education for students who are blind or visually impaired in California. Please review the Consulation FAQ (linked above) where we have strived to answer many common questions regarding comprehensive student assessment.
If you still have specific questions after reading the Consultation FAQ or are requesting professional development, please fill out the Consult/Training Request and Information
(Google Form) form, and we will contact you shortly.
Assessment Center Links & Resources
Workshops and Presentations
Workshop and presentation handouts are linked in their respective YouTube description boxes. If you have challenges accessing the handouts, please email May Nguyen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Beginning Braille
A 6 part webinar series developed by Stephanie Herlich, MA (CSB Assessment Center Coordinator; Teacher of the Visually Impaired/Orientation & Mobility Specialist) and provided by California School for the Blind. Beginning Braille is designed to introduce parents, caregivers, and paraprofessionals to the Unified English Braille Code. Participants in this course will learn alphabetic braille, numbers, basic punctuation, alphabetic word signs, and some of the most common short form words and initial letter contractions. Each lesson includes a description, examples, and independent practices with answers.
- Importance of Aligning VI & O&M Goals with Common Core State Standards | Tuesday Tea (Video; 56:43)
- More Than Meets The Eye: Working With Students With Visual Impairments (Video; 42:34)
Created by the California School for the Blind to help educators who are new to the needs of students with visual impairments.
- Psychoeducational Assessments Breakout Room | Tuesday Tea (Video; 46:37)
- Psychoeducational Evaluations of Students with Visual Impairments
Have you ever wondered how school psychologists conduct evaluations of students with visual impairments? Should school psychologists administer tests with their Teachers for the Visually Impaired (TVIs)? What do TVIs evaluate? Should school psychologists administer standardized tests to students with visual impairments? School psychologists may have minimal experience working with students who have visual impairments and often have many questions when they receive an evaluation referral for a student with visual impairment. Learn best practices that are essential for psychoeducational evaluations of students with visual impairments.
- Standard Scores, What Do They Mean?! | Tuesday Tea (Video; 57:17)
- The Testing Psychologist Podcast Episode 258
The Testing Psychologist Podcast Episode 258 features an Assessment with Visually Impaired Kids Part 1 with Dr. Carol Evans, Marnee Loftin, Dr. Terese Pawletko, May Nguyen, and Stephanie Herlich.
- The Testing Psychologist Podcast Episode 260
The Testing Psychologist Podcast Episode 260 features an Assessment with Visually Impaired Kids Part 2 with Dr. Carol Evans, Marnee Loftin, Dr. Terese Pawletko, May Nguyen, and Stephanie Herlich
- What's in Your Assessment Toolbox | Presentation (Video; 36:04)
These courses are offered free to anyone who wants to learn more. Our very own staff contributed to these courses.
- Cerebral/Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI)
A free Google Classroom course put together by our very own CSB Assessment Center team! This course is self-paced and will provide an abundance of information about CVI.
- Psycho-educational Assessments in Children with Visual Impairments
This course is designed for psychologists with expertise in psycho-educational assessment of children and adolescents. In this course, you will learn to apply your skills to assessing students with visual impairments. This course may also be helpful for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments who are collaborating with psychologists. You will need to register for a free account to access the content.
A listserv is a great way for interest groups to connect with others and stay current on new information. Consider recommending or joining our new listserv.
BVIPsych is an interactive listserv for school psychologists serving students who are blind or visually impaired. This forum offers a space to share resources and support one another, as we strive to strengthen our clinical skills and practices to assure quality assessments, interventions and support services.
- Resources for Families Supporting Students who are Visually Impaired
The California School for the Blind's Assessment Center team is committed to keeping families and students connected to the visual impairments community and up-to-date with related learning opportunities. This communication will provide links and resources such as webinars, trainings, tips, courses, events, and latest best-practices geared specifically for VI students and their families.
Please contact the center for an application packet at email@example.com. (If you are only seeking a low vision exam or an Assistive Technology Assessment please contact those departments.) If IEP team members, including families, would like to request an assessment, we require that families and Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) provide access to the relevant records (including Functional Vision Assessment/Learning Media Assessment (FVA/LMA) and triennial evaluation from within the last 3 years), current learning environment, and staff for potential reviews, observations, and dynamic assessments. We require all IEP team members, including a district representative, to attend a collaborative conference to review the evaluation results and recommendations. The collaborative conference is not a IEP meeting.