General Questions about our Program
Q: How much does individual cognitive or achievement assessment cost?
A : Fees are $400 for most assessments. Students with documented eligibility for a free or reduced price lunch from any public school system may be eligible for a fee reduction/waiver.
Q: How do I pay for my child’s testing?
A : We now take credit card payment through an online portal through GMU’s Marketplace. Instructions on payment will be provided in your confirmation email. We also accept checks written to George Mason University, or money orders as needed.
Q: How often may I have my child tested?
A : Your child may not take the same test more than once a year. However, you may be able to schedule an additional testing session with another test within that year.
Q: How do I schedule an appointment for my child to be individually tested?
A : Please call our office at 703-993-4200. Our phones are not staffed all day, so please leave a voicemail and we will return your call.
Q: After I schedule testing, what comes next?
A : Your examiner will connect with you a few days prior to testing. A 20-30 minute virtual parent intake appointment will be scheduled to gain in order learn more about your child, review consent forms, and answer questions about the process. Some examiners opt to schedule these intakes in person on the day of testing.
Q: Who are the test examiners, and how are they trained?
A : Our intelligence test examiners are primarily graduate students in GMU programs in clinical or school psychology. All examiners have received formal training and supervision in psychological testing. A licensed psychologist supervises every case.
Q: What is your appointment cancellation policy?
A : We request as much notice as possible if you need to cancel or reschedule. Our examiners are independent contractors, so they very much appreciate notice to adjust their schedules. If you cancel after your virtual intake appointment with your examiner or within 24 hours of testing, you are subject to a $50 cancellation charge.
Q: What is an interpretive feedback session?
A : An interpretive feedback session is a meeting with your examiner in which you can receive information on the results of your child’s assessment and gain an understanding of their meaning in context. This is scheduled by the individual examiner rather than our office.
Q: When will I receive the psychological report and interpretive feedback session?
A : A psychological report detailing your child’s performance will be given to you during the interpretive feedback session no more than 30 days from the date that testing is completed. We work to complete the entire evaluation process within your published deadlines when possible.
Q: I think my child may have a learning problem. Can a learning disability be diagnosed from a cognitive test, like the WISC-V, alone?
A : No. No single testing instrument, in isolation, is insufficient for diagnosing a learning or other developmental disorder. The tests we offer are often used as part of a comprehensive assessment for a learning disorder, in conjunction with tests of educational achievement, tests of cognitive processing, teacher and parent reports, etc. We do not conduct comprehensive or diagnostic evaluations, but if you are interested in obtaining a more comprehensive assessment, you may contact you may contact our intake office for referrals (703) 993-4200 to include our sister office (GMU Center for Psychological Services.
Q: I received my child’s WISC-V results, and I saw a great deal of variability among the WISC-V index scores. Should I be concerned?
A : Not necessarily. Significant variation among the cognitive skill areas assessed by the WISC-V is not uncommon, particularly among children identified with significant cognitive strengths. For example, research studies have reported substantial discrepancies between WISC-V indices (> 23 points) in 74 – 79% of gifted samples (Rimm, Gilman, and Silverman, 2008). Thus, nontypical profiles appear to be “typical” for gifted students (Rowe, Miller, Ebenstein, and Thompson, 2012). If a child’s scores are within normal expectations and no educational concerns are present, there is usually little reason for concern. Please feel free to discuss any specific concerns you may have with your evaluator.
Q: I received my cognitive test results, and the scores are much lower than I expected. I don’t think the scores are consistent with my child’s academic performance and/or the advanced abilities I have noticed at home. What happened?
A : Though the correlation between cognitive test scores and academic success is generally strong, it is not perfect. Any standardized test provides information on only a limited sample of a child’s knowledge and skills. In general, we are inferring an abstract concept (i.e., ability) from a small sample of behavior (i.e., the ability to solve or answer a particular set of problems) on one day. For some children, the testing items may not fully tap the abilities they have demonstrated in other areas. For example, a young child’s grasp of advanced mathematics or interest in science may not be reflected in the scores of a standardized test with little science or advanced mathematical content. In addition, transient factors (i.e., fatigue, test anxiety, inattention) may impact a child’s performance on any given occasion. Finally, a cognitive test does not measure characteristics such as motivation, determination and grit; all of these also predict academic achievement and success (Duckworth and Seligman, 2013). As a result of the inherent limitations of standardized testing, GMU supports a holistic approach to assessing a child’s abilities and appropriateness for particular schools or programs. No single measure of ability (such as an IQ score) can provide a complete summation of any individual child’s ability in all settings, or across domains.
Questions for FCPS Advanced Academic Program Applicants
Q: How do I submit an application for my child to enroll in FCPS AAP center program?
A : Your most important source of information is staff at the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), and you may ask your school’s advanced academics resource teacher, counselor, or administrator for guidance. You should FCPS AAP website for more information.
Q: Will GMU submit my child’s scores to FCPS?
A : No, you as a parent are responsible for delivering test scores to FCPS as a part of the completed AAP application file.
Q: Do I need to have my child tested at GMU?
A : No. Additional formal testing may not be needed. FCPS recommends GMU as a provider of assessments for students seeking admission to their Advanced Academic Programs, but you can chose other qualified providers or not seek formal testing at all.
Q: What quality assurance is offered in the GMU Cognitive Assessment Program?
A : We double-check each test protocol for accuracy and conduct a multi-point quality assurance review. When the psychological report is completed, we conduct another quality assurance review. Only after a thorough review is completed will the report be made available to the parent or guardian at a meeting to be arranged at a mutually convenient time for all parties.
Q: What influence does GMU have in determining my child’s eligibility for the FCPS AAP program?
A : None. GMU conducts the testing, but we do not make any eligibility or placement decisions. The FCPS AAP central selection committee makes all decisions based on a holistic review of the student.