Social Assessment

A Social Developmental Study gathers students’ information (past and present) regarding their social, emotional, behavioral, academic functioning and development across school, home, and community settings. Multiple sources are used to obtain information, including: interviews with parents, teachers, the student and others; observations of the student in multiple school settings and the home when possible; a review of school records; and, agency reports and evaluations. Information gathered through multiple sources should cover students’ developmental history, school history, family history, cultural influences, as well as current issues and concerns. Developmental histories include health history, birth and development history, interpersonal relationships, social play, emotional development, temperament, coping skills, problem solving skills, interests, activities, talents, adaptive behavior, self esteem, independence, self awareness and responsibilities. School history will include early learning experiences both in and out of the home, day care, preschool, formal and informal learning experiences, parent and teacher observation of student’s learning, behavior, social and emotional functioning in school environments over time. Family history, cultural background and current issues will cover current family structure and relationships, parenting patterns, family interests and activities, stressors or areas of concern, history of present or past learning, social or emotional issues within the family or extended family and cultural and religious influences.Language history and the use of language other than English in the home should be explored. A series of questions related to language should be incorporated for English Language Learning students or those spending time in an environment where a language other than English is spoken. Guidance is provided by Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (1995). Multicultural students with Special Language Needs. Academic Communication Associates. The list of interview questions provided through this resource is recommended by the Minnesota Department of Education during the pre-referral process for a student being considered for special education evaluation.The information about the family and student obtained through a Social Developmental Study is summarized and reported within the comprehensive assessment report prepared by a school’s assessment team. Parents, teachers, the student and others need to be informed of how the information they have contributed to the Social Developmental Study will be reported and with whom it will be shared. Some information may be too confidential to be included in an assessment report for school records. Only information relevant to the student’s learning should be included.School social workers use their training and skills in interviewing and knowledge about child development, families, mental health, behavior, schools and learning to guide them in preparing each Social Developmental Study. See appendix for a sample of questions that may be included. Each Social Developmental Study will be individualized to meet the needs of the student being assessed.