Why choose ‘Spot-Your-Potential’?
How does it work?
Screening Vs. assessment
Are 'Spot-Your-Potential' results accepted by schools and colleges?
Are 'Spot-Your-Potential' results accepted by univeristies?
How accurate?How accurate is Spot-Your-Potential at identifying dyslexia?
The dyslexia tests in ‘Spot-Your-Potential’ are drawn from LADS Plus, a computer-based screening system created by Lucid and which is widely used by colleges, universities, business and many other organisations. These tests were developed to the highest psychometric criteria and have been scientifically validated against groups of adults who had been assessed by chartered psychologists and diagnosed either dyslexic or not dyslexic. The ‘Spot Your Potential’ tests showed a high degree of agreement with the psychologist’s assessments and therefore it can be conclude that ‘Spot Your Potential’ has a high level of screening accuracy. These findings have gone through independent scrutiny and were published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals, and other independent published evaluations have also shown that the tests in ‘Spot Your Potential’ are more accurate than other methods of screening for dyslexia. See references
However, as is the case with all screening tests, accuracy is not 100% – in fact, it is about 95% – hence there will inevitably be a small proportion (on average, about 5%) of individuals whose screening results may differ from results of diagnostic assessment.
How does it work?
The dyslexia tests in ‘Spot-Your-Potential’ involve reading and spelling, but they are not conventional tests of reading and spelling – they are more efficient and effective than these at identifying dyslexia. This is because they are specially developed tests that identify the underlying cognitive patterns which typically characterise dyslexia. This is based on the phonological deficit theory of dyslexia, which is currently the most widely accepted scientific view. According to this theory, which is supported by a large amount of scientific evidence, the principal difficulty in dyslexia is dealing with the way that language sounds are processed, organised and learned. However, as well as identifying phonological difficulties, ‘Spot-Your-Potential’ also picks up memory problems and speed-of-processing deficits, which research indicates are additional important factors in dyslexia. For further information, see ‘What is dyslexia?'
'Spot-Your-Potential’ also automatically adjusts to the general ability level of the person, so the tests are largely free of effects by intelligence, education or social and ethnic background. This makes ‘Spot-Your-Potential’ the most reliable online test of its kind. The accuracy of other screeners can be confounded by levels of intelligence and/or education, and by different social or ethnic backgrounds.
The vast majority of dyslexics have the most common phonological form of the condition or a mixed form in which phonological difficulties are found alongside other problems. However, a small proportion of dyslexics have difficulties that are predominantly visual rather than phonological and therefore ‘Spot-Your-Potential’ is less likely to pick up those rare individuals, who are advised to consult a an experienced and appropriately qualified professional for assessment. The British Dyslexia Association can advise on this.
Screening Vs. Assessment
Screening is a quick process that categorises people into groups – dyslexic or not dyslexic – and will give a reasonably good indication of whether the person is likely to have dyslexia. Screening can be computerised and performance based, requiring no involvement of human judgement, and therefore is comparatively low-cost. However, dyslexia is not a true categorical condition (i.e. it is not simply ‘black or white’). Dyslexia is actually a continuum and there are wide variations in the extent to which different people show the effects of dyslexia. In addition, definitions of dyslexia can vary, even between experts. Consequently, no dyslexia screening test can ever be 100% accurate – there will always be a ‘grey’ area where categorisation can never be completely certain. Screening should not be regarded as a substitute for more comprehensive assessment. For further information on the accuracy of ‘Spot-Your-Potential’ see ‘How accurate?’
Assessment is a much lengthier, complex process by which a diagnosis of dyslexia is reached. This requires use of several tests, usually takes several hours and requires the judgment of an experienced and appropriately qualified professional. For these reasons, assessment is usually very expensive. However, there is no definitive or universally accepted method of diagnosing dyslexia nor a generally agreed set of tests for dyslexia. This means that even amongst qualified professionals, opinions sometimes differ not only regarding what are the best or most appropriate tests to use, but also what results genuinely indicate dyslexia.
Are ‘Spot Your Potential’ results accepted by schools and colleges?In general, it depends on what the results are being used for.
Most colleges carry out dyslexia screening and a great many use a program called ‘LADS Plus’ (Lucid Adult Dyslexia Screening), on which ‘Spot Your Potential’ is based. Schools usually try to identify and address the problems of dyslexia at an earlier stage, so they generally employ tests such as ‘LASS’ (Lucid Assessment System for Schools) and ‘Lucid Rapid’ (Lucid Rapid Dyslexia Screening) that can be used with younger students. However, many schools also use LADS Plus for testing students aged 15+. (For further details about these other assessment products visit www.lucid-research.com).
Consequently, most colleges and schools will accept the result of a ‘Spot Your Potential’ screening as indicating a
probability of dyslexia. BUT establishing that a student probably has dyslexia does not guarantee that they will get extra time or other special arrangements in examinations (known as ‘access arrangements’). National examinations such as GSCE and ‘A’ level come under the auspices of JCQ (Joint Council for Qualifications), which has detailed regulations regarding which students may be allowed to have access arrangements. Essentially, eligibility for access arrangements depends not on whether the candidate is dyslexic, but on how poor their literacy skills are, and this has to be assessed personally by either a psychologist or a specialist teacher (for information about these regulations visit www.jcq.org.uk). However, wider information about a student’s difficulties (e.g. if these are due to dyslexia) is relevant and should be included when applying for access arrangements. Note that it is possible for a student to be diagnosed with dyslexia but if their literacy skills are not sufficiently impaired they may still not be eligible for access arrangements. This can happen in cases of mild dyslexia. College students who are taking courses at degree level or equivalent do not come under JCQ regulations. For information regarding the acceptability of ‘Spot Your Potential’ results in this context see Are ‘Spot Your Potential’ results accepted by universities?
Are ‘Spot Your Potential’ results accepted by universities?Most universities carry out dyslexia screening and a great many use a program called ‘LADS Plus’ (Lucid Adult Dyslexia Screening), on which ‘Spot Your Potential’ is based. Some universities use ‘Spot Your Potential’ instead of LADS Plus. Consequently, most universities accept the result of a ‘Spot Your Potential’ screening as indicating a probability of dyslexia. BUT establishing that a student probably has dyslexia does not guarantee that they will get extra time or other special arrangements in examinations (known as ‘access arrangements’).
Unlike schools, universities can set their own rules regarding provision of access arrangements. Generally, however, universities require evidence from a full professional assessment (by either a psychologist or a qualified and registered dyslexia assessor) before they will grant access arrangements. A screening test (such as ‘LADS Plus’ or ‘Spot Your Potential’) is often used to determine whether it is worth the time and expense of carrying out a full assessment. If university students who have dyslexia wish to apply for Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) they must definitely have evidence from a full assessment by either a psychologist or a specialist teacher because the DSA is not administered by the universities themselves (for more information on DSA visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/index.htm).
The reasons for this are that screening tests (which typically take 15-30 minutes) cannot be expected to be as accurate as a full assessment (which usually takes 2-4 hours). Screening tests give a pretty good indication but none are infallible. There is an inevitable margin of error in all screening, but in ‘Spot Your Potential’ this is quite low – about 1 in 10 cases – which is better than any comparable screening system. If you want to be sure that a university will accept that a person has dyslexia the best solution is to obtain a full assessment. Unfortunately, this is expensive (currently around £350 - £500) and therefore when considering whether to obtain a full assessment it is recommended that you take into account, as well as the ‘Spot Your Potential’ results, any other evidence that might point to dyslexia (such as family and developmental history), and also what advantages would be gained by having dyslexia formally identified. Note also that it is possible for a student to be diagnosed with dyslexia but if their literacy skills are not sufficiently impaired they may still not be eligible for access arrangements. This can happen in cases of mild dyslexia.
If the person is currently at a university it is recommended that the matter is discussed with the institution’s dyslexia tutor or disability officer before deciding whether to pay for a dyslexia assessment. Some universities have funds that will pay all or part of the costs of a dyslexia assessment. The British Dyslexia Association (www.bdadyslexia.org.uk) will also give advice on assessment. The comments in this subsection also apply to college students who are taking courses at degree level or equivalent.
Nichols, S. A., McLeod, J. S., Holder, R. L., & McLeod, H.S. T. (2009) Screening for dyslexia, dyspraxia and Meares-Irlen syndrome in higher education. Dyslexia, 15(1), 42-60.
For the scientific basis and other references for Lucid products see www.lucid-research.com