A National Survey of School Psychologists' Practices in Identifying Specific Learning Disabilities


This study examined the identification frameworks, specific models, and assessment practices used by school psychologists to identify students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) in public schools in the United States. We surveyed school psychologist practitioners using an online survey, conducted a review of state regulations addressing SLD, and evaluated the effects of state-level policies and school psychologists' characteristics on identification practices. Responses from more than 1,300 school psychologists revealed that multiple SLD identification frameworks are utilized and that state regulations generally have stronger effects on identification practices than do characteristics such as school psychologists' age, highest degree obtained, and years of experience. Frameworks with well-known psychometric limitations, such as those employing intelligence-achievement discrepancy formulas, remain commonly employed. We encourage more and better scientific research into both the conceptual and psychometric outcomes associated with SLD identification frameworks and urge application of evidence-based practices in the assessment and treatment of academic deficits.

Publication Title

School Psychology