Putting the Discrepancy Model to Rest

Posted on December 12, 2011

Intelligent Thinking vs. Intelligence Testing

Much has been written during the past three decades about approaches to evaluation and decision-making regarding who does and does not qualify for the classification of specific learning disabilities (LD). The vast majority of students who have undergone assessments to determine eligibility under the LD category have been subject to a battery of tests, most often administered by individuals who had:

  • no first-hand knowledge of their instructional experiences in school
  • limited access to parents and subject-area teachers
  • some information about scores of different sorts (report cards, standardized assessments)
  • little or no qualitative and quantitative information about performance on subject area tests, projects, homework, and participation in classroom discussions

I believe that a combination of common sense and the momentum behind the Response-to-Intervention movement is beginning to have a dramatic (and positive) effect on how we think about LD and how students who struggle with learning receive the instructional and behavioral supports and services they need to be successful learners. Of the many still unresolved issues related to LD identification, one seems to loom larger than others. Simply stated, what role, if any, should intelligence testing play in the determination of LD status?

Author: Sheldon Horowitz

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