We assess for and then build skills necessary for academic learning.
We like to refer to these skills as foundation skills because they directly impact learning in school. When students who have weak or missing foundations begin to falter at school, a bevy of professionals step in to keep that student on schedule.
Consider the following analogy between a struggling student’s learning career and the building of the Leaning Tower of Pizza.
Just as the bell-tower at Pisa was in danger of collapsing before its foundation was fixed; students with missing foundational skills will continue to struggle at school until those foundations are in place.
In both cases, we find effort expended to keep building the structure without time given to strengthen the foundation. Unless the techniques used will increase the surety of the foundation, then the struggle continues. However, when foundation skills are directly strengthened, academic learning can take place successfully.