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ERIC Number: ED555899
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 77
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3035-2923-8
A Comparison of Specific Learning Disability Identification Methods Using the WJ III
Westreich, Eric
ProQuest LLC, Psy.D. Dissertation, St. John's University, New York
While special education law has been amended several times since the statutory definition of a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) was created in 1968, there continues to be ambiguity within the field regarding the definition as well as the diagnostic criteria. This inevitably leads to a lack of consistency in diagnosis within states and among professionals. The number of children diagnosed with an SLD keeps increasing, with half of the children who receive special education services qualifying for it under the classification of an SLD. The latest reauthorization of IDEA has allowed a "third method" of identification, better known as strengths and weaknesses approaches. Both Flanagan, Ortiz, Alfonso, and Mascolo, (2002, 2006) and Hale and Fiorello (2004) have developed research based "third method" approaches. The current study examined 122 students referred to their district's child study team (CST) to determine SLD eligibility. The present study determined whether in addition to being SLD eligible according to their district's CST, they also met criteria according to two "third method" models and a simple difference discrepancy model. Additionally, agreement was analyzed between the three models when the CHC Operational Definition was used as the "golden standard" of identification. The results of the current study indicated that in general a similar number of students were identified across methods. When the Operational Definition loosened its criteria to include children who "possibly" displayed a pattern of strengths and weaknesses, the model identified a statistically greater amount of children than the school district. Most noteworthy was that a similar number of children were identified regardless of the model utilized; however, they were different children. These results were concerning, as they indicate that there is still a lot of work to be done in this area of SLD identification. Until there is a model found to be the best one, to which every professional in the field adheres to, there will continue to be ambiguity in the field and among children identified based on the particular model used for identification. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement