SLD Eligibility CASP 2011
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SLD Eligibility CASP 2011 SLD Eligibility CASP 2011 Presentation Transcript

  • Catherine Christo
    California State University, Sacramento
  • 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
  • Legal protections
  • Problems in Identification a Result of:
    Assessment Process
    Lack of early instructional interventions
    Lack of clear methods of documenting student performance
    Discrepancy issue
    Use of data
    Eligibility Determination
    Lack of clear criteria
    School level supports for struggling learners
    Classroom level
    Who gets referred
    How many get referred
    Stakeholder values
  • 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:
    • perceptual disabilities
    • brain injury
    • minimal brain dysfunction
    • dyslexia
    • developmental aphasia
    • The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of
    • visual, hearing, or motor disabilities
    • mental retardation
    • emotional disturbance
    • 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
  • 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
    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
    Response to intervention (w/ or w/o achievement)
    Pattern of strengths and weaknesses
    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
  • 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
  • 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
    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?
    Less intense intervention
    Making adequate progress?
    Continue intervention
    Increase intervention
  • Did Program Improve Performance?
  • 39
  • Resources: RtI
  • Use of RtI Data in SLD Eligibility
  • 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
    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
    Self report
  • 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?
  • 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
    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
    PAL II
    Flow chart for identification of dyslexia
    Identification of math disability
    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 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
    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
    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
    • Inform intervention
  • 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
    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)
  • RtI/PSW Combined
  • Example: Marisa
  • Comprehensive Evaluation
  • 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
  • Closing Thoughts
  • 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
    for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities
    Reynolds & Shaywitz (2009). Response to intervention prevention and remediation, yes: Diagnosis, no. Child Development Perspective
  • Thank You for
    Your Attention