Most LASS profiles display a ‘logic’ that teachers will be able to ‘read’, especially when they have become reasonably experienced in using the program. Occasionally, however, you may encounter profiles that show a very complex pattern of ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ and at first sight appear quite puzzling. For example, a student might have very poor phonological skills (‘Segments’) but very good phonic skills (‘Nonwords’). Although this could be a genuine result (e.g. if the student had received and absorbed a lot of exceptionally good phonics tuition), it is sufficiently unusual to ring warning bells and cause the teacher to enquire more closely into the case.
When tackling such profiles it is particularly important to bear in mind any extraneous factors that might have affected the student’s performance. Examine the data to see on what days and times different tests were done. Motivation, ill heath (actual or imminent) and impatience are often causes of a student under-performing. Or the student may simply have ‘got the wrong end of the stick’ (e.g. assuming that they have to do a test as quickly as possible when in fact it is accuracy which is most important). Exceptionally, students may be in an uncooperative mood in some (or all) of the tests, and so their results do not bear any relationship to what the teacher knows are their true abilities. If the teacher is not confident about any particular result, then the safest course of action is first, to speak to the student to see if any reason for the unexpected result can be discovered, and second, to repeat the test(s) in question, taking appropriate steps to ensure that any problems have been resolved.