Catherine Christo California State University, Sacramento firstname.lastname@example.org SLD ELIGIBILITY
Participants Will Understand: Current regulations regarding SLD How data from a response to instruction/intervention (RtI) process can be used in SLD eligibility regardless of other eligibility criteria The critical elements of eligibility decisions using: an RtI only model an RtI/low achievement model a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) model an integrated model Issues to consider in selecting an eligibility model
Outline Influences on Current Practice Brief Review of Response to Intervention RtI models for SLD Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses Comprehensive evaluations Closing Thoughts/Next Steps
Current Practice What is not working with the current system? Results you want to change Processes that are cumbersome What are the different results you would like to see a new system bring? Keep these in mind
Problems in Identification a Result of: Assessment Process Pre-referral Lack of early instructional interventions Referral Lack of clear methods of documenting student performance Assessment Discrepancy issue Use of data Eligibility Determination Lack of clear criteria Resources School level supports for struggling learners Classroom level Who gets referred How many get referred Stakeholder values Parents Teachers Administrators
Is eligibility the wrong word? “Qualified to participate or be chosen” Merriam -Webster “Worthy of being chosen” Does this capture the consequences of being placed in special education? Labeled as having a disability? Lowered expectations? ? ?
Influences on Current Practice
What/Who Determines Practice in Identification of SLD? Federal law/regulations State law/regulations Local decisions Guidelines for best practice
Definition of Specific Learning Disability (§300.8(c)(10)) A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written… May manifest itself in the imperfect ability to:
Listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, do mathematical calculations…
Definition continued.. The term “specific learning disability” includes conditions such as:
minimal brain dysfunction
The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of
visual, hearing, or motor disabilities
of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage
Additional Procedures for Determining SLD§300.307 (FEDERAL) State must adopt criteria (consistent with 300.309 of Part B) for determining whether a child has an SLD as defined in IDEA Public agencies must use State criteria in determining whether a child has an SLD State criteria may not require use of severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining whether a child has an SLD. State criteria must permit use of a process based on the child's response to scientific, research-based intervention. State criteria may permit use of other alternative research-based procedures.
CA Code 30 EC 56337 - Definition of "Specific Learning Disability" & Determining Whether a Pupil Has a Specific Learning Disability (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and pursuant to Section 1414(b)(6) of Title 20 of the United States Code, in determining whether a pupil has a specific learning disability as defined in subdivision (a), a local educational agency is not required to take into consideration whether a pupil has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning. (c) In determining whether a pupil has a specific learning disability, a local educational agency may use a process that determines if the pupil responds to scientific, research-based intervention as a part of the assessment procedures described in Section 1414(b)(2) and (3) of Title 20 of the United States Code and covered in Sections 300.307 to 300.311, inclusive, of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Currently In CA Ability/Achievement discrepancy is still allowed but not required An approach using response to intervention is allowed An approach using other research based alternative is allowed http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/sr/documents/sldeligibltyrti2.pdf
SLD Criteria (300.309 (a) (1)) The child does not achieve commensurate with the child’s age or to meet state approved grade level standards, in one or more of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences appropriate for the child’s age : (i) Oral expression. (ii) Listening comprehension. (iii) Written expression. (iv) Basic reading skill. (v) Reading fluency skills. (vi) Reading comprehension. (vii) Mathematics calculation. (viii) Mathematics problem solving
Criteria (300.309 (a) (2)) 2)(i) The child fails to achieve a rate of learning to make sufficient progress to meet State-approved results in one or more of the areas identified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section when assessed with a response to scientific, research-based intervention process; or (ii) The child exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, or a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, relative to intellectual development, that is determined by the team to be relevant to the identification of a specific learning disability, using appropriate assessments consistent with §§300.304 and 300.305; and
Criteria (300.309 (a)(3)) The group determines that its findings under paragraph (a)(1) and (2) of this section are not primarily the result of-- (i) A visual, hearing, or motor disability; (ii) Mental retardation; (iii) Emotional disturbance; (iv) Cultural factors; or (v) Environmental or economic disadvantage.
CA SELPA Draft Document “Teams need to be especially careful not to recommend special education services because of the severity of academic difficulties exhibited by the student if the primary reasons for the difficulties are due to any of the exclusionary factors. It is not legal for multidisciplinary teams to recommend placement for special education services so that a given student may receive services if one or more exclusionary factors are primary reasons for academic problems. Decisions to place students in special education without appropriate identification of the disability ultimately results in additional harmful outcomes for the student. Likewise, the misinterpretation of exclusionary factors should not be a vehicle to keep students with SLD from receiving services that they are legally entitled to receive.”
Need the Following for SLD BUT there is more….
Criteria (300.309 (b)) For a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, the group must consider, as part of the evaluation described in §§300.304 through 300.306, data that demonstrates that— 1) Prior to, or as a part of the referral process, the child was provided appropriate high-quality, research-based instruction in regular education settings, consistent with section 1111(b)(8)(D) and (E) of the ESEA, including that the instruction was delivered by qualified personnel; and
Required Components Low achievement Lack of progress Role of exclusionary factors Determination of appropriate instruction Need for special education Observation Specific documentation of disability Other considerations Variety of assessment tools Refrain from use of one measure as sole criterion Use technically sound instruments assessing relative contribution of behavioral, cognitive, physical and development factors
NASP Position Statement (2007) Relying primarily upon ability/achievement discrepancy at odds with scientific research and best practice Identification and intervention…most effectively implemented within a multi-tiered system of service delivery Comprehensive evaluation by qualified professionals is an essential step in the identification of SLD School psychologists play a key role in making appropriate decisions. They have unique and valuable expertise in the area of learning disabilities Critical for school psychologists to continue to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
NASP continued Specific learning disabilities are endogenous, characterized by neurologically based deficits in cognitive processes Deficits are specific – impact particular cognitive processes that interfere with academic learning SLD are heterogeneous SLD may co-exist with other conditions Over 80% of SLD are reading Manifestation is contingent upon type of instruction, supports, accommodations, demands Early intervention can reduce impact of SLD SLD vary in severity – moderate to severe can impact throughout life span
NASP summarized Advocates use of multi-tiered service delivery model Special education involves intensive, individualized services based on results of comprehensive evaluation School psychologists have expertise useful in all levels of multi-tiered system
Decisions, Decisions The “OR” ? Decision ? Discrepancy approach OR Response to intervention (w/ or w/o achievement) OR Pattern of strengths and weaknesses OR Integrated Approach The Next Decision What constitutes a comprehensive evaluation ........VideosRealPlayer DownloadsEDS Airplane.flv
Discrepancy approach Is it all bad? Wait to fail (is this really discrepancy model’s fault?) Psychometric issues with global scores Global scores not a strong predictor of response to basic skills interventions Not used to inform interventions Addresses issue of unexpected underachievement Global scores are most psychometrically sound IQ accounts for 40-50 % of academic achievement Predicts response to some interventions
Low Achievement/ RtI Approach May or may not include standardized, nationally - normed achievement test CA SELPA draft suggests use of nationally-normed achievement test as primary factor Emphasis is on academic measures Include assumption that lack of response indicates presence of a processing disorder Question use of cognitive assessments as being relevant to intervention
Pattern of Strength and Weaknesses Seek to operationalize the IDEA definition of SLD Recognize that learner attributes affect learning rate Support the value of a comprehensive evaluation to the understanding of and educational planning for a student May or may not include theories regarding links between cognitive processes and specific areas of academic achievement
What is the Same in Both Models? Low achievement Exclusionary factors Appropriate instruction and progress monitored Although progress monitoring may look different in the two models Need for special education So – first let’s talk about how data from RtI process can help with each of these Or MULTI-TIERED SYSTEM OF SERVICE DELIVERY
RtI Core Components Important in SLD Determination
What is happening in your school/district? As we go through core components think about where your current RtI model is?
Core Components (CDE, 2008) High quality classroom instruction Research based instruction Research based interventions Fidelity of program implementation Universal screening Continuous classroom monitoring Progress monitoring during instruction and intervention Staff development and collaboration Parent involvement One component of process for determining SLD Addresses need for data based instruction and documentation of progress 32
Instruction/Intervention Within Tiered Framework
Questions to Ask Regarding interventions/instruction For which students is the Core sufficient and not sufficient, and why? What specific supplemental and intensive instruction/curriculum is needed? How will specific supplemental and intensive tiers be implemented? Are these interventions research based? How will the overall effectiveness of supplemental and intensive tiers be monitored?
Responsiveness: Monitoring Progress and Response to Instruction/Intervention
Methods for Monitoring Progress Embedded assessments Benchmark assessments Permanent work products amount Accuracy Quality (grade) Homework assignments Curriculum Based Measurement (CBM) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Skills (DIBELS Early Literacy Skills What assessments do teachers say are useful to them?
Decision Points Monitor Progress of students receiving interventions In instructional range? Yes No Less intense intervention Making adequate progress? Yes Continue intervention No Increase intervention
Low Achievement (CDE, 2009) The progress-monitoring data collected during the RtI2 process will assist in identifying the overall effectiveness of the intervention for each student. General outcome and mastery measures will show low achievement for a student with an SLD when he/she is compared with his/her peers. These measures should substantiate that the skill level of the student suspected of having an SLD does not support the student’s ability to acquire and/or demonstrate age/grade-level appropriate standards-based skills in one or more of the areas listed in 34 CFR 300.309(a)(1)
Low Achievement (CDE, 2009) It is recommended that evidence of low achievement be obtained by examining several sources. Progress monitoring measures On progress monitoring is level of performance Classroom work products Standards based assessment Nationally norm-referenced assessments
Benchmark Testing to Identify At Risk Students Evie is below 10th percentile at 48 CWPM in fall 3rd grade Elgin is within acceptable range at 48 CWPM in fall 2nd grade
Lack of Progress With an RTI2 process, progress-monitoring data can help to answer the following questions: Is the general education curriculum effective for most students? Which of the students are not responding sufficiently to the general education curriculum? Is targeted intervention effective for most students (or a particular student’s peers)? Has a particular student made sufficient progress when provided with a range of interventions directed toward targeted skills?
Compare student to peers
Individual Progress Monitoring Good RtI following a change
Exclusionary Factors Culturally responsive instruction is a key element for student success. Ideally, the intervention should provide data substantiating its effectiveness with culturally diverse, limited-English proficient, and/or environmentally/economically disadvantaged students…….. The target student’s progress-monitoring data can be compared to that of similar students or to predetermined targets when provided with interventions that have been shown to be effective with culturally diverse, limited-English proficient, and/or environmentally/economically disadvantaged students. ……..
Appropriate Instruction A foundation of an RtI2 approach is the provision of research-based curricula provided by trained personnel. Progress-monitoring dataallow a school or district to determine if a curriculum is appropriate for its population. It is expected that most students will learn when provided with the general education curriculum as verified by progress-monitoring data. Similarly, progress-monitoring data obtained during targeted intervention will reflect the effectiveness of the intervention for students with similar needs
RtIOnly Models for SLD Eligibility
Rationale for RtI Model Discrepancy doesn’t work Assessments should be directly related to instruction/intervention No need to do cognitive assessment or identify processing disorder Not required in federal law Does not lead to intervention planning Students who don’t respond to appropriate instruction/intervention are displaying unexpected underachievement Focus on importance of general education services
RtI Only Model Observation, interview, review of records, rating scales Level and rate of learning Data from multi –tiered service delivery model (RtI) is used to answer these questions
Shows Underachievement LEVEL of achievement is significantly different from peers What data shall be required to show underachievement? National norms on progress monitoring tools Local norms Criterion referenced benchmarks Suggestions to use 7th to 15th level as cutoff for low achievement
Gap Analysis Colorado http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdesped/download/pdf/SLD_Guidelines.pdf Divide benchmark by student performance 60 CWPM/20 CWPM = 3 > 2 is criteria Determine goal for end of year Ex – 20 weeks Benchmark at end of year 90 CWPM Student will need to gain 90-20 = 70 words over 20 weeks Evaluate realistic expectations for growth
Student Fails to Show Progress RATE of learning is significantly different from peers Technically sound tools are used to measure progress How long should progress monitoring data be collected for? Through what tiers? How often should progress monitoring data be collected? At tier 1 – every 2 weeks to one month At tier 2 – every 1 to 2 weeks New studies suggest less often may be as useful How is data delivered to parents?
Student Fails to Show Progress What is adequate progress? Variety of methods to set goals Expectations for level of performance School/district benchmarks Professional opinion Base on critical skill level Reasonable growth Expected growth Based on previous growth Based on what can be expected from research based interventions Decision rules are in place that are applied to all students. Not sufficient to meet goal 4 dot rule to 12 data points
Look at Both Level and Rate = Dual Discrepancy (need decision rules)
Response to Intervention
Instructional Factors Provided with research based instruction/intervention Successful core instruction At least 80% of students are successful in tier 1 classroom instruction Instruction and intervention were provided with fidelity Fidelity Checklists Observations Self report Fidelity
Instructional Factors Ruled Out (continued) The student was provided interventions of sufficient duration. Options include: Two rounds of tier 2 Suggested length of intervention program used Usually 10-16 weeks in tier 2 A sufficient number of evidence based interventions were provided Standard protocol vs. problem solving protocol Matched to student’s instructional needs What does this mean in terms of appropriate instruction? Is additional assessment needed? A sufficient amount of progress monitoring data was collected 6 to 12 data points
Examples of Criteria ......Learning DisabilitiesState documentsWisconson.pdf ......Learning DisabilitiesRTI modelSLD_Guidelines colorado.pdf
Academic Underperformance Currently Annie is reading at 25 CWPM in 4th grade text How to determine underperformance: Did she meet goal? In comparison to national norms and at-risk status 50th percentile = 105 CWPM Using rule of 2 105/25 = 4+, she is well below this level In relation to at risk level = 42: she is below this level In comparison to local peers 50th percentile for local peers is 90 Using rule of 2 she is below this level
Summary Annie is a ten year old who is entering 4th grade at Royal Oak. She was referred because of academic concerns regarding her reading. Annie has been receiving reading support services for one year, throughout 3rd grade. Interventions have included SIPPS and Language!. Prior to intervention goals were established for Oral Reading Fluency. Annie did not meet her goals and she continues to perform below grade expectations in Oral Reading Fluency (10th percentile).
Local or National Norms?Revisit AnnieOn national norms 95/45 = >2Local norms 75/45 = <2
What Needs to Be In Place? Core curriculum successful with 80% of students Team that understands RtI process and its implementation in addressing student needs Clearly defined multi tier model of service delivery Decision rules Criteria for movement within tiers Criteria for adequate/inadequate progress Methods for monitoring intervention fidelity Intervention is the “test” Methods for screening and progress monitoring that result in data easily understood by teachers and parents
Using RTI Data Only to Determine SLD?
In an RTI only model both Winston and Wilma would qualify as SLD
RtI/Low Achievement Models for SLD Eligibility
RtI/Low Achievement Nationally normed achievement test below set percentile. RtI Plus suggests 7th percentile RtI Data is used to assure that student had quality instruction
CA SELPA Draft Document: RtI Plus Response to Intervention data is used primarily to assure that student has had adequate instruction/intervention Below 7th percentile on nationally normed achievement test. “SLD in any RtI approach is significantly low academic achievement that is not caused by instructional or exclusionary factors” Less focus on RtI data than in other models… ”response data are not always equal to achievement data in overall quality due to issues related to intervention fidelity and other factors.”
Using a 7th percentile cutoff for significantly low underachievement, only Winton would qualify as SLD and needing special education.
School Psychologist Skill Set How would your role change in this model of LD identification? What more would you need to know to be an effective member of a team under these conditions?
What Are the Benefits of an RtI Approach? Identify problems early Streamline referral process Rule out instructional factors ??
What Are Criticisms of RtI Only and RtI/Low Achievement Models? Focus on early reading Measurement issues Lack of consensus on best practices for measuring progress Lack of consensus on what constitutes sufficient progress Cutoffs can be arbitrary – don’t reflect real differences Issues of instruction/intervention What are evidence based interventions across academic areas? How to determine fidelity? How much instruction/intervention? Are difficult to apply at secondary level
What Are Criticisms of RtI Only and RtI/Low Achievement Only Models? Does not address definition of a specific learning disability Failure to respond can occur for several reasons other than SLD Will not distinguish between overall low achievement and specific low achievement Places all low achievers (not due to exclusionary factors) in special education Does not address needs of high ability students with specific learning disabilities Will all low achievers end up in special education?
WHO ARE THE LOW ACHIEVING STUDENTS
One Size Fits All Approach to Intervention? How would the interventions be different for Kyle and Kalisha?
Iq/Achievement Discrepancy model
In IQ/Achievement Discrepancy Model Neither Winston or Wilma Qualifies
Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses for SLD Eligibility
Rationale for PSW models The need for an eligibility model that can be used across grade levels and academic subjects. The co-occurrence of disabilities among students with special needs (e.g. ADHD and reading disability). Evaluation within a PSW model would provide information required for a comprehensive evaluation to “… identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child is classified.”
Rationale for PSW Models Recognition that learner attributes affect learning rate. The need to provide more information about within learner traits in relation to environmental demands. RtI data provides information about instructional environment The potential presence of SLD in students with who may function academically close to grade level but still be displaying unexpected underachievement in particular academic areas. Need to address definition of SLD Evidence that students with different cognitive profiles respond differently to interventions.
Fuchs, hale and kearns (2011) “…indisputable need for more and different instructional approaches for children chronically unresponsive to generally effective direct instruction. …recent research conducted by cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists and others has increased understanding of children's cognitive processing and how deficits may affect academic performance …growing body of research that suggests - however tentative - the importance of cognitively focused approaches to instruction.”
PSW Criteria For Eligibility Pattern of strengths and weaknesses Weakness in academic area Weakness in psychological process Otherwise normal pattern of performance Pattern of strengths and weaknesses as outlined in federal law does not necessarily require cognitive assessment
Otherwise Normal Pattern of Performance Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelAcademic cognitive links.pdf
Otherwise Normal Pattern of Performance Academic CST scores in basic or above Norm referenced achievement tests at 25th percentile or above Psychological processing Interpretive methods within tests Administration of different processing assessments with scores at 25th percentile or above Comparison of deficits and strengths
State Guidelines ......RTISELPA work groupTexas PSW.docx ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelOregon SLD analysis.pdf ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelWayne county grid.pdf
Variations of PSW Model Flanagan, Ortiz and others Operational Definition Hale and Fiorello Concordance-Discordance Model Cognitive Hypothesis Testing WIAT/WISC Berninger PAL II Flow chart for identification of dyslexia Identification of math disability Naglieri Discrepancy/consistency Model
Operational Definition (Flanagan, Ortiz, Alfonso and others) Normative deficit in academic functioning Exclusionary factors are determined to not be the cause of deficit Normative deficit in cognitive ability/process Exclusionary factors are revisited Empirical or logical link between area of academic underachievement and cognitive deficit. Otherwise normal pattern of functioning. Underachievement substantially impacts life functioning Flanagan, D. P., Ortiz, S. O., Alfonso, V. C., & Dynda, A. M. (2006). Integration of response to intervention and norm-referenced tests in learning disability identification: Learning from the Tower of Babel. Psychology in the Schools, 43, 807-825
Are identified weaknesses present in an otherwise typical pattern of functioning (i.e. the student also demonstrates strengths in some areas of achievement and psychological processing)? Then Then the student shows a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that may be relevant to the identification of a learning disability
Does Dora Have a SLD? ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelPractice scores.docx ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelAcademic cognitive links.pdf ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelDora LD Worksheet 1.pdf What information could inform the intervention? What would be important accommodations for Dora?
Concordance – Discordance Model Hale and Fiorello 2004 Used to determine statistical significance of differences between cognitive processes and achievement Expect significant difference between processing strength and weakness Expect significant difference between processing strength and achievement deficit Expect no significant difference between processing weakness and achievement deficit ......Learning DisabilitiesGraphicsHale and Fiorello Worksheet.docx
Steps in concordance-discordance (hale, 2006; Hale, Wycoff, Fiorello, 2011)
Cognitive Hypothesis Testing (Hale and Fiorello, 2004) Stress importance of RtI processes preceding referral for comprehensive evaluation Use problem solving process to develop theory regarding problem and test accordingly Use demands analysis and concordance-discordance strategies to help analyze data Confirm/disconfirm hypothesis with additional data Administer any additional necessary tests Record review, history Observation Interviews Develop plausible intervention, implement and collect data on efficacy ; use single subject methodology to evaluate intervention Hale et al . ( 2006 ). Implementation of IDEA: Integrating response to intervention and cognitive assessment methods . Psychology in the Schools ,
Berninger (2011) Hallmark Impaired Phenotypes Characteristics Assessments Working Memory Architecture Coding units for storing and processing information about words Loops for cross code coordination Executive functions Learning is a function of:
Affect how student responds to instruction
Berninger: Differential Diagnosis for dyslexia (PAL II) Rule out exclusionary factors such as language, other developmental disorders Administer test of verbal comprehension, reading , spelling, decoding and fluency Is verbal comprehension at least 90? Is reading/spelling measure below average and 1 SD below verbal comprehension? Is student impaired (below 25th percentile) on phonological coding, orthographic coding, rapid naming? Having reading related difficulties in classroom If yes, consider diagnosis of dyslexia ..2010B flow chart.pdf ......Learning DisabilitiesPSW modelEdgar dyslexia assessment.pdf
Discrepancy/consistency (Naglieri) Significant difference between processing and achievement strengths and achievement weakness Similar scores between processing and achievement weaknesses Significant difference between processing and achievement strengths and processing weakness Children with disabilities show different PASS profiles
Advantages? Disadvantages? In YOUR district/school what might be some of the advantages of using a PSW approach? In YOUR district/school what might be some of the disadvantages of using a PSW approach?
School Psychologist Skill Set How would your role change in this model of LD identification? What more would you need to know to be an effective member of a team under these conditions?
What are the benefits of a psw approach Provides more information about student Identify both strengths and weaknesses Inform intervention Demystify Future educational planning Discriminates among low achieving students Using C-DM approach 25% fewer students identified than with discrepancy Avoid labeling all low achieving students Can provide more consistent criteria across districts Set criteria can be established for difference among scores
What Are Criticisms of PSW Models? Takes more time for individualized testing Relationship between cognitive assessment and achievement is unclear All low performing students need support of special education Cultural/linguistic bias of cognitive assessments Federal law does not require identification of a processing disorder
Definitional Differences RtI/Low Achievement Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses Lack of sufficient response to appropriateinstruction is evidence of a specific learning disability. These students needs cannot be met and general education ; they require and need the services of special education. There are many reasons why students don’t respond – not all SLD. Special education is targeted to students with SPECIFIC learning disabilities that necessitate the supports of special education.
What Are Other Districts/States Doing? Moving toward RtI data only Keeping discrepancy criteria in transition Combination of RtI and processing deficit Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) Allowing both RtI model and PSW Allowing RtI and Discrepancy
Roles of RtI and Cognitive Assessment How can these two methods complement each other in the SLD identification process? How can cognitive assessment help identify SLD? What diagnostic markers or indicators do you gain from cognitive assessment in the SLD identification process? How can RtI help to identify SLD? What diagnostic markers or indicators do you gain from RtI in the SLD process?
“…indisputable need for more and different instructional approaches for children chronically unresponsive to generally effective direct instruction. …recent research conducted by cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists and others has increased understanding of children's cognitive processing and how deficits may affect academic performance …growing body of research that suggests - however tentative - the importance of cognitively focused approaches to instruction.” -Fuchs, Hale and Kearns (2011)
NASP July 2007 NASP recommends that initial evaluation of a student with a suspected specific learning disability includes an individual comprehensive assessment, as prescribed by the evaluation team. This evaluation may include: measures of academic skills (norm-referenced and criterion-referenced), cognitive abilities and processes, and mental health status (social-emotional development); measures of academic and oral language proficiency as appropriate; classroom observations; and indirect sources of data (e.g., teacher and parent reports).
NASP July 2007 Existing data from a problem-solving process that determines if the child responds to scientific evidence-based intervention may be considered at the time of referral, or New data of this type may be collected as part of the Tier 3 comprehensive evaluation. An eligibility determination should not be based on any single method, measure, or assessment.
Comprehensive Evaluation Meeting the criteria outlined in 34 CFR 300.309 requires a comprehensive evaluation and consideration of special education eligibility. The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) remarked in comments accompanying the regulations in Section 300.304 that the public agency may not use any single procedure as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability.
Comprehensive Evaluation continued… In addition, USDOE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) states in its presentation, “Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004”, that a comprehensive evaluation for identifying an SLD must: Not be replaced by an RtI2 process. Use a variety of data-gathering tools and strategies even if RtI2 is used. May include the results of RtI2 as one component of the information reviewed. Not rely on a single procedure as the sole criterion for determining eligibility
A Place for Psychological Perspective Person who looks at whole child Consider emotional factors Consider environmental factors Consider reciprocal nature of instruction and learning Critical Question Will the information I gain from this assessment help the student?
A Place for Cognitive Assessment? In helping to design interventions? Will academic assessment completely cover this? Will an intervention be different for a child with 80 IQ versus child with 120 IQ? Will an intervention be different for a child with delayed processing speed? Will an intervention be different for a child with severe memory deficits? Do we need cognitive assessments to identify areas of strength and weakness?
Opinions Diagnostic assessments consisting of a variety of “types” of tests (achievement, psychological, social-emotional) are useful in the RtI process and are essential to comprehensive evaluations “The real future of school psychology lies in maintaining the emphasis on being psychologists” – Gene Cash, 2009
Resources Berninger (2007). Process assessment of the learner – 2nd edition. Berninger (2008). Defining, differentiating, dyslexia, dysgraphia and oral language learning disability within a working memory model. Flanagan & Alfonso (2011). Essentials of specific learning disability identification. Wiley and Sons Flanagan, Ortiz & Alfonso (2007). Essentials of cross battery with CD/Rom 2nd edition. Wiley and Sons. Fletcher et al (2007). Learning disabilities: From identification to intervention. New York: Guilford
Resources Hale & Fiorello (2004). School neuropsychology: A practitioner’s handbook. New York: Guilford The Learning Disabilities Association of America’s White Paper on Evaluation, Identification, and Eligibility Criteria. Available at www.ldanatl.org for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities Reynolds & Shaywitz (2009). Response to intervention prevention and remediation, yes: Diagnosis, no. Child Development Perspective