Qualifications of the Evaluator
The name, title, and license/certification credentials of the evaluator, including information about license or certification (i.e., licensed psychologist) as well as the area of specialization, employment, and state in which the individual practices must be clearly stated in the report.
The following professionals are generally considered qualified to diagnose learning disabilities: clinical psychologists, school psychologists, neuropsychologist, learning disability specialist, diagnostician and psychiatrists who have expertise in evaluating the impact of learning disabilities on an individual’s educational performance.
All reports should be on official letterhead, dated, and signed.
Generally, an evaluation should be no more than three years old. Documentation should substantiate the need for services based on the student’s current level of functioning.
A school plan such as an IEP or a 504 Accommodation Plan is insufficient documentation, but may be included as part of a more comprehensive report.
Identification of Learning Disabilities
Evaluation should include a clinical interview, assessment of aptitude AND academic achievement, and a diagnosis of LD.
Relevant information regarding the student’s academic history and learning abilities should be included.
Also, medical, developmental, and social histories should be investigated and reported, along with any family history of educational, medical, or psychosocial difficulties. Medical, social, and psychological problems should be ruled out as causes of learning disabilities.
Assessment of Aptitude
A complete intellectual assessment, with standard scores reported, is required.
The following tests are recommended for assessment of aptitude; other appropriate measures may be used at the examiner’s discretion.
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (3rd Edition)
- Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (4th Edition)
- Woodcock-Johnson Cognitive Processing Battery to substantiate any processing problems
The Slosson Intelligence Test-Revised and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test are screening devices, thus are not appropriate for the diagnosis of learning disabilities.
Assessment of Academic Achievement – Norm-referenced academic achievement tests, with all subtests and standard scores reported, are essential.
The assessment should include evaluation of reading, math, and written language. Also, it may be useful to include other evaluations, such as informal inventories or classroom observations.
The following standardized tests are recommended for assessment of academic achievement; other appropriate measures may be used at the examiner’s discretion.
Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery – Revised:
- Tests of Achievement (to substantiate any processing problems)
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (if student falls within age norms)
- Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (if student falls within age norms)
- KeyMath Diagnostic Arithmetic Test-Revised (if student falls within age norms)
- Test of Written Language-3 (if student falls within age norms)
- Grey Oral Reading Test 3 (if student falls within age norms)
The Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT3) is a screening device, thus is not appropriate for the diagnosis of learning disabilities.
Diagnosis of Learning Disabilities
The evaluator should use direct language in the diagnosis of a learning disability based on DSM-V criteria: a SPECIFIC statement that a learning disability exists is required for services and accommodations.
Also, the evaluator must describe the substantial limitation(s) to academic learning that are presented by the learning disability.
If the data indicates that a learning disability is not present, the evaluator should state that finding in the report.
The report must outline any alternative explanations and diagnoses.
Recommendations for Accommodations
The report should include specific recommendations for academic accommodations and the rationale for such accommodations.
If accommodations are not identified specifically in the diagnostic report, the Office of Disability Services must request this information before services can be provided.
A history of accommodations does not in itself warrant the provision of similar accommodations at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
The final determination of appropriate and reasonable accommodation rests with the Office of Disability Services.
The diagnostic report must include specific recommendations for accommodations and a detailed explanation of why each accommodation is recommended.