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Screening and Assessments

Screening Tests

  • Screening tests are designed to give an indication of possible dyslexic difficulties. They are not a diagnosis and are not 100% accurate.

  • Where the test indicates a moderate or high 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 dyslexic and related difficulties. However if this is not possible, it should not prevent the child from receiving appropriate specialist tuition.

  • There are many different types of screening tests: Some are delivered by computer, others need to be administered by a teacher. Some just give an estimate as to whether the child/person is likely to have dyslexic difficulties. A few offer a more detailed profile of strengths and weaknesses which help inform an appropriate teaching strategy.

For a general overview of screening tests, see

Computerised Tests.
There are a number of screening tests for primary, secondary and adult dyslexia screening:

Paper-based Tests.
The main publishers of paper-based dyslexia screening tests are:
Hodder Tests (Snap)
Pearsons (Dest, DST, Dast)

Full Diagnostic Assessments

Diagnostic Assessments should always be conducted by a certified person, qualified to assess, e.g. Chartered Psychologist specialising in Specific Learning Difficulties or Specialist Teacher/Assessor with an AMBDA qualification.

An assessor should conduct a battery of cognitive, ability and literacy/numeracy attainment tests. The results should show the pattern of strengths and weaknesses and give recommendations for remediation.

However, when choosing an assessor the purpose of the assessment should be taken into consideration. For example:

  • If the report is needed to support an application for the Disabled Student Allowance it should be conducted post 16 years of age and carried out by an accredited assessor who also holds a Practising Certificate.

  • If it is for the workplace, ideally it should be by a Chartered Psychologist who is competent to act as an expert witness if called upon.

How to find an Assessor

  • The Local Dyslexia Association may be able to recommend suitable practitioners. For areas of the country not covered, contact the BDA Helpline for suggestions.

  • Chartered Psychologists can be found on the website of the British Psychological Society

  • For specialist teachers with a Practising Certificate for assessments, contact PATOSS.

Access Arrangements

The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ)publish a booklet, entitled "Access Arrangements and Special Consideration: Regulations and Guidance Relating to Candidates who are Eligible for Adjustments in GCE, VCE, GCSE, GNVQ, Entry Level & Key Skills Examinations", which is updated every autumn. This booklet can be downloaded from

JCQ members are the six examination boards in England, Wales and Scotland. The booklet includes the Table of JCQ approved qualifications for teachers who may assess for access arrangements. It does not include a list of appropriate tests.

PATOSS (Professional Association of Teachers of Specific Learning Difficulties)

See Patoss' website for guidance on assessments and access arrangements.

Dyslexia? Assessing and Reporting. The PATOSS Guide. Gill Backhouse & Kath Morris. This book includes details of the available types of assessment at each stage.


For information on computerised screening tests, see the BDA Technologies website

British Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia Action

Dyslexia Scotland

GL Assessment


Joint Council for Qualifications

Lucid Research

Pearson Assessment

Pico Education Systems Ltd


SEN Books

University of Hull