Test anxiety is part of life for many college students. After all, it’s natural to worry about performance and want to do well, and mild nervousness before a test can actually improve performance. For most, the symptoms disappear when the test is over. But for students with an anxiety disorder, test anxiety can be overwhelming and all-consuming, leading to symptoms like difficulty concentrating, rapid breathing, dry mouth, and even panic. For these students, the symptoms don’t stop when the test is over.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in America, with an estimated 42 million adults diagnosed. About 46% of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life—and half of them develop conditions by the age of 14. Some of these young people will enter college not knowing they suffer from a treatable condition.
Students with undiagnosed anxiety are likely to struggle with physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms. They could even be at risk of failing—or dropping—out of school.
The Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment (KLDA) is a self-report screening tool developed to identify college students who struggle with a condition that affects learning such as an anxiety disorder, ADHD, an executive function deficit, or a specific learning disability.
The KLDA can help your students get the help they need to succeed in college. In just 15 minutes, it evaluates key areas including reading, writing, math, organization, time management, anxiety, and more. Administration is available on PARiConnect 3.0, the fastest and most reliable online platform in the assessment industry, so students can complete it on their own time, 24/7.
The KLDA report provides valuable information about the student’s individual learning strengths and weaknesses—and includes tailored interventions and accommodations that address them—and identifies students who are at risk of an undiagnosed condition like anxiety.
Help your struggling students keep their college careers—and their lives—on track with the KLDA.
This week’s blog was written by Teri Lyon. Teri is a Senior Technical Support Specialist at PAR. She has been with PAR for more than 20 years. She enjoys punk music and painting.
I like to watch CBS Sunday Morning every weekend. Recently, I watched a segment on the prevalence of dyslexia in the prison population, which immediately caught my attention. Working at PAR and knowing Dr. Steven Feifer, I know how important it is to diagnose dyslexia and other learning disabilities early so a student can achieve his or her full potential. What I did not realize are the numbers behind this issue.
The segment told of a study that shows almost 50% of the prison population in Texas has dyslexia. In addition, approximately 80% of inmates are functionally illiterate. The segment went on to talk about how prisons are addressing this issue with more funding and prison reform. Although these things certainly help people in prison lead better lives, this does not prevent these individuals from ending up there in the first place.
Although this is not a case where you can throw money at a problem, we do know that schools in more affluent communities have higher test scores and graduation rates. While the parents and students may have more resources and may not have concerns like how to study while hungry, you can’t ignore how much better they do. Recently, the thinking on spending in education has changed. Studies show significant long-term gains for students when educational spending increased. The issue is that districts need to determine the best way to use their money.
Currently, the U.S. spends more on prisons than we do on education. California alone spends $53,147 more per year on a prisoner than it does a student. Overall, there are 15 states that spend more than $27,000 a year more per prisoner than they do per student.
Even with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), there are kids who fall between the cracks of education and into the justice system. It’s clear that this issue is multifaceted and complicated. From starting mandatory schooling at an earlier age, to better training for teachers, there are many ways this issue can be addressed. One thing is clear, though, we have to start somewhere.
I think it’s important to take a step back and realize how PAR instruments can help with greater societal issues. Because this is such an important topic, I immediately sent letters to both my congressman and senator letting them know my thoughts. Hopefully, this will get a very important subject the attention that it deserves.
Lack of understanding about language acquisition. Inadequate or inappropriate psychoeducational assessment practices. Restricted access to effective understanding.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) position lists these as some of the reasons why English language learners (ELL) are overrepresented in special education and underrepresented in gifted programs.
In U.S. schools, more than 77% of ELL students speak Spanish. Based on their educational history and exposure to the language and the culture, these students will exhibit different degrees of acculturation and English-language proficiency.
Cognitive assessment that relies on verbal interaction and response in English is naturally unfair for individuals who are still learning the language. Nonverbal assessment is not free from cultural bias, either, and using translations or interpreters is not ideal.
The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, Second Edition (RIAS-2) evaluates verbal intelligence, nonverbal intelligence, memory, and speeded processing and provides an estimate of general intelligence in under an hour. The new RIAS-2 Spanish Form with Spanish Responses provides correct Spanish-language responses for the RIAS-2 Guess What, Verbal Reasoning, and What’s Missing subtests. Designed for use with Spanish bilingual and ELL students, it allows examinees to answer items in English or in Spanish, providing a practical and more ecologically valid way to test the intelligence of individuals who are still learning English.
Acceptable Spanish responses represent Spanish dialects most commonly spoken in the U.S., including Mexican, Central American, Caribbean, Colonial Spanish, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian, and Argentinian. The form also includes a new Language Acculturation Meter, a tool that provides a framework for test administration and interpretation.
The goal, after all, is to assess general intelligence, not English-language knowledge or fluency.
As of 2018, there were nearly 60 million Hispanic people living in the U.S., and about 41 million of those people speak Spanish in the home. Students who take part in language assistance programs are often referred to as English language learners (ELL).
Language acculturation is a process that occurs over a period of time, and it will be different for everyone due to age, education, length of time in the U.S., and adaptation to prevailing social, linguistic, psychological, and cultural norms. In U.S. schools, more than 77% of ELL students speak Spanish, and these students will exhibit different degrees of acculturation.
When these students need psychological assessment to address academic concerns, to determine appropriate classroom placement, or for any other reason, their level of language acculturation could have an effect on test results—and decisions based on those results could have lasting consequences.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) position notes “inadequate or inappropriate psychoeducational assessment practices, restricted access to effective instruction, [and] lack of understanding about language acquisition” as reasons for overrepresentation of ELL students in special education and underrepresentation in gifted programs.
The Language Acculturation Meter is a new tool that will ensure you are assessing bilingual and ELL individuals appropriately. It provides information about the examinee’s educational history, including where he or she attended school, in what language, and for how long; his or her level of everyday English-language use; and self-identified English comprehension in everyday scenarios.
This knowledge sets the stage for an ecologically valid assessment by providing a framework that helps you determine the most appropriate assessment—and get the most accurate results.
The Language Acculturation Meter and accompanying White Paper are available to download at no charge. Learn more or download.
Each year, PAR employees take part in a week-long United Way fundraising campaign. For more than 25 years, 100% of PAR staff members have contributed during our annual drive. This year, we exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in more than $100,408.34 in employee contributions to help United Way Suncoast and their partner agencies! We are proud to say that through our involvement with United Way, we will help make a difference in the lives of so many people in the Tampa Bay area.
This year, our theme was “Make Your Move,” and staff were divided into different chess-piece-themed teams. To see a few photos of our week, check out PAR’s new Instagram account.
Learn more about how you can help United Way in your community!
Each year, PAR employees take part in a week-long United Way fundraising campaign. For more than 25 years, 100% of PAR staff members have contributed during our annual drive. We are hoping that this year will be no different! Follow along with us on our new Instagram account to see what we are up to this week!
Learn more about how you can help United Way in your community!
Many new college students are away from home for the first time, and, for the first time, they must manage and organize their lives themselves. Coupled with the rigors of college academics, these students can easily get overwhelmed. Students with anxiety disorders or learning disabilities may struggle even more. But what about students who aren’t aware that they have a condition that may affect learning? These students may even be at risk of dropping—or even failing—out of school.
The Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment (KLDA) is a self-report screening tool developed to identify college students who struggle unknowingly with a condition that affects learning, such as an anxiety disorder, ADHD, an executive function deficit, or a specific learning disability.
More than 40 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older have an anxiety disorder—yet only 37% of them seek treatment—and up to 44% of individuals with an attention deficit disorder were first identified at the postsecondary level.
The KLDA can help your students get back on track. In just 15 minutes, it evaluates key areas including reading, writing, math, organization, time management, anxiety, and more. Administration is available on PARiConnect 3.0, the fastest and most reliable online platform in the assessment industry, so students can complete it on their own time, 24/7. The KLDA report provides valuable information about the student’s individual learning strengths and weaknesses—and includes tailored interventions and accommodations that address them—and identifies students who are at risk of an undiagnosed learning difficulty so they can get the help they need.
Help your struggling students keep their college careers—and their lives—on track. Learn more about the KLDA.
After nearly 29 years of hard work and devoted service, Barbara Holty, senior AP/AR accountant, will be retiring from PAR this week.
Barb’s attention to detail, willingness to put in extra time and effort, and commitment to excellence pale in comparison to her incredible thoughtfulness, unending kindness, and extreme warmth. Barb will truly be missed here at PAR. Below, we share a few stories as we send Barb on to her well-deserved next step.
Donna Drackett, executive vice president and chief financial officer: I have many stories about Barb, but two stand out. My very first day at PAR, I was sitting in my office reviewing some new employee documentation. Barb stepped in my office and shared with me, “Honey, the girls and I were talking and we wanted to let you know that amongst the five of us, we have over 75 years of experience at PAR.” Truth is, there is nothing I had to worry about in my new role, as my team had done it all and had everything covered! I was blessed beyond belief to come into a department with so much experience!
Years ago, I received a call from a Customer. One of the many things that Barb was responsible for throughout the years was collections on our accounts receivable. When Customers were past due, Barb had the fun job of reaching out to obtain payment status. A Customer (who was in collections) called me to share that Barb was the nicest person that had ever worked with her to collect an outstanding accounts receivable. Not many collections specialists receive compliments or appreciation—but knowing how Barb treated everyone with the utmost respect, it didn’t surprise me!
Barb has been such an important team member for so many incredible years. We are sad to see her go, but pray that her future endeavors are filled with abundant blessings—more than she could ever imagine! Enjoy every second of retirement!
Sue Trujillo, clinical assessment developer: With Barb’s attention to detail, my data collectors were always paid promptly!
Terri Sisson, educational assessment advisor: Barb, as a new employee, you were always there to help me when I had a question or needed guidance. I appreciate your patience and support over the past year. I wish you the happiest of retirements. You deserve it!
Tamara Dwoskin, customer relationship manager: I am proud to say that I have worked with Barb for over a quarter of a century. To me, she is a friend, confidant, and one of the vital members of our PAR family. Barb is one of my very favorite people because she is not only one of the strongest people I know, but also one of the most caring and devoted to her families—both at home and at work. Not a day has gone by that I do not admire her professionalism, her always matching outfits, her pleasant demeanor, and her “hum” while you work or take a break mentality. Despite any struggles, whether they were business or personal, Barb has always been one of the first people to come to me concerned and wanting to talk—really just wanting to make sure that I was alright. We have shared joy and heartache during our time here, but she never lost sight of being there for me and I will never forget that. Always one of the first to say “Hi, sweetie,” or “Are you OK, sweetie?” It’s in that genuine interest in being there for all of us, and being the best version of herself she can be, while making sure that the company bills get paid completely and on time, that I can truly say there will never be anyone I work with quite like her. I will miss Barb so much, but she deserves the most wonderful retirement possible, in good health, and surrounded by the love of her adoring family.
Frank Filippone, copywriter/project manager: Barb, your presence here at PAR will be very much missed. You always have a warm smile and a kind word for everyone you encounter and I mean always—you make all of us feel welcome and at ease, and that’s no easy task. Thanks for all you do and best wishes as you begin your next adventure!
Melissa Messer, director of product development: My most memorable account of Barb was from about 15 years ago. I was getting married and unsure yet if I was going to change my last name. She needed to order a new credit card for me—I think she was converting the entire company’s credit cards at the time, so it was a big project. She called me to confirm my name change. I shared my ambivalence with her about changing my name and she stayed on the phone with me for about 15 minutes talking through the pros and cons. She mentioned that if I had kids, they would not have the same name—which was something I had not even thought about, and ended up being the deal breaker for me. This story represents Barb’s kind heartedness in taking the time to talk through a personal issue, but also represents the hard worker and task master that she is—we were not getting off the phone until she had what she needed!
Robert Bossio, senior software developer: I hope you enjoy every day as if it were a vacation day. Congratulations on your retirement! It was a pleasure working with you.
Jamie Goland, senior editor/digital content manager: As a remote employee, I don’t get to see Barb as often as I would like. But every time I’m in the office, I always make sure to swing by the accounting department for a quick visit. Barb always takes the time out of her busy day to chat, ask about my family, and catch up. Barb, I wish you all the happiness in the world in retirement (though I’d be totally thrilled if you decided to change your mind and stay).
Nancy Fazioli, sales operations coordinator: Every year, Barb headed up the walk to raise money for juvenile diabetes. She always prepared lunch for the walkers the day before the race to thank them for walking.
Daniel McFadden, director of customer support: In a company that is filled with kind and friendly people, Barb has always been one of the kindest. She has a full-body laugh that just cannot be faked. I've enjoyed trying to make her laugh over the many years we’ve worked together. Although I'm very sad I won’t get to see her every day, I’m very happy that she’ll be getting to spend more time with her family. I wish her all the best!
Kristin Greco, chief executive officer: When I think of Barb, her smile and cheerful greeting are always what come first to mind. I can hear her saying “Hi, sweetie! How is your day?” She is always festive for each holiday—showing her warmth and spirit for celebrating. She is so dedicated to her family—always gushing over her daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Her warmth and loving spirit will certainly be missed here by her PAR family. She is a ray of sunshine to each day.
Barb, you will be missed by your PAR family, but we wish you the very best in retirement!
A photo of Barbara Holty from early on in her career at PAR.
Earlier this month, the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (SCCAP) of the American Psychological Association (APA) gave out the very first R. Bob Smith III, PhD, Excellence in Assessment Award.
The award, named after PAR’s Executive Chairman and Founder, R. Bob Smith III, PhD, will be given annually during APA’s national convention to an individual, group, or organization that has advanced the field of scientific assessment in individual psychological functioning, mental health, learning, or social and intellectual development. The award is unique in that recipients will be asked to present a workshop at the APA national convention designed to instruct practitioners in the use of a cutting-edge psychological assessment product or procedure or on a topic clinically relevant to psychological assessment.
This year, the award was given to Thomas Achenbach, PhD. Dr. Achenbach’s wife, Leslie Rescorla, accepted the award on his behalf.
Have you tried the new PARiConnect 3.0? Now PARiConnect isn’t just the most reliable platform in the online assessment industry, it is the fastest, as well! Plus, its new intuitive design and upgraded features make it the platform you enjoy using! We’ve taken Customer feedback and used it to make the platform even better for you! Here are a few features that we’ve added:
Group clients to keep organized! PARiConnect allows you to create groups of clients. Organize clinicians with their own client rosters, as well.
Change labels as needed. Account settings allow you to customize the labels used throughout the system to better suit your purposes. Personalize terms like client or student, depending on your setting.
Filter your caseload easily. New filter capabilities allow you to easily search by assessment, Client ID, name, and more!
Save your favorites. Save your most-used assessments under My Favorites and quickly access the tools you use most.
Established users can sign right in to your account to see the upgrades for yourself. All client data and inventory has transferred over seamlessly. New users can get started with 3 FREE uses. Simply sign up!
To learn more about PARiConnect 3.0, view an on-demand video tour now or read more about the new features.
We can’t wait for you to try it for yourself!