An educational diagnosis is the set of judgments and qualifications that are carried out with the objective of evaluating different characteristics of the students within a teaching process. These characteristics can be related to several areas, such as physical or intellectual abilities, learning or school difficulties.
The main objective of this type of practice is to gather evidence that allows educators to adjust their teaching methods to the individual needs of each student.
In this way, they become a very valuable resource to improve the educational process and to make better decisions regarding the way to teach in the future.
Educational diagnoses, also known as pedagogical diagnoses, fulfill three functions: preventive, to avoid problems before they occur; predictive, to discover what is causing a student’s difficulties; and corrective, to develop an action plan that allows to solve them.
Depending on the aspects studied, there are mainly five types of educational diagnoses: individual, global-general, analytical, group and specific. Next, we will see what each of these consists of.
This type of educational diagnosis is responsible for studying different aspects of a particular student.
Some examples may be your learning skills, your intellectual abilities, the way you behave in the classroom or even your personality and your way of being.
In this way, an individual diagnosis would be made when a student exhibits problematic behaviors that are believed to be related only to their individual characteristics.
Educational diagnoses of the global-general type are carried out especially in situations in which it is necessary to know in depth different aspects of a person.
With this type of examination, you can study the biological level (such as the height or presence of diseases), the psychological level (intelligence, personality), the socio-environmental level (country of origin, economic status) and the educational level (level of education) reached, extracurricular activities).
This type of diagnosis is made, for example, when a person wants to become part of public institutions such as the army or the government.
The third type of educational diagnosis is made in cases in which a person has a problem related to their learning. Its main objective is to determine what are the causes that cause it so that you can intervene in it.
These problems can be related to the qualifications, but they can also be of a more personal nature. For example, if a child shows signs of psychological abuse, it is the duty of the teaching team to investigate further on the subject.
This type of educational diagnosis focuses on studying problems that concern not just one individual, but a whole group (for example, all students in a class).
It can be done to understand why problems occur with this set of students in particular and to propose solutions to them.
For example, a teacher whose class is especially problematic would have to study the different group dynamics present in it.
In this way, he could intervene effectively on all the components of the classroom, and not just on each of them individually.
Finally, educational diagnoses of a specific type focus on studying all those problems related to a specific aspect of a student.
Some examples would be language disorders, visual or auditory problems, delays in physical or motor development, among others.
How is it done?
To carry out an educational diagnosis in an adequate way, educators have to go through a series of phases:
Planning is the part of educational diagnosis in which educators have to decide what they will study with it.
In this first stage, the relevant elements are chosen for the case, proposing the objective that is to be achieved with the investigation.
On the other hand, teachers must also indicate how they will collect the information, choosing different instruments and measurement techniques.
Thus, in the planning stage, the bases must be laid down so that the rest of the process is defined in advance.
Once the variables to be studied have been chosen and the way to investigate them, those in charge of the pedagogical diagnostic process will have to start collecting the relevant data for the case.
This can involve from the application of all kinds of tests or exams to research on certain aspects of the student’s life, such as their family situation, background or previous studies that have been carried out on him.
The way to carry out this phase will depend on the type of educational diagnosis that is going to be carried out.
Once all the data relevant to the research has been collected, the next task that the teachers have to carry out is to analyze them to find out where the problems presented by the student or group of students come from.
For this, the better you define what you want to achieve in the first stage and the more relevant the data that has been collected, the easier the analysis process will be.
If the process has been carried out in the correct way and the results have been satisfactory, at this point those responsible for the educational diagnosis will have found the causes of the problem suffered by the student or group.
Thanks to this, they will be able to propose suitable solutions to be able to intervene in the situation. These solutions will have to be analyzed once applied, to study if they have obtained the expected results or not.
Next, we will examine a specific case so that it is better understood how the process of applying an educational diagnosis works. It deals with the study of the problems of a student who has suspended all subjects in the first year of ESO.
The teacher, observing the student and his school performance, has the hypothesis that he has some kind of intellectual deficiency. To study this theory, he decides to apply a series of intelligence tests.
Once the tests to be applied have been chosen, the teacher will pass the tests to the student, performing several of these to compare the results with each other.
The data collected by the intelligence tests show that the student has a slight cognitive deficiency. With this information, the teacher could formulate an intervention plan in the last step.
To alleviate the effects of the newly discovered deficiency of the student, the teacher proposes to include him in the educational support plan.
It is expected that, by having more personalized attention from the integration team, the student will be able to improve their school results.
The effectiveness of this solution should be checked after a few months, with the aim of modifying it if it is seen that it has not worked.