Dr. Mona Tawakkul Elsayed

Associate Prof. of Mental Health and Special Education

Specific Learning


Summary of the IDEA Regulations for Identifying Students with Specific Learning Disabilities


Prior to the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 2004, a severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement in one or more of the areas of oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation, and mathematics reasoning was required in order for a student to be identified as having a specific learning disability (SLD).


IDEA 2004 and its implementing regulations provide new criteria in determining whether a student is eligible for special education and related services as a student with a specific learning disability. The following is a summary of the process of identification and evaluation from the IDEA regulations.


Definition of a Specific Learning Disability


The definition of an SLD remains unchanged from the previous versions of the law and regulations. The definition is contained in 20 United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 1401(30) and Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 300.8(c)(10)(i)(ii) and states:


(i) Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. (ii) Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.


Although the definition remains the same, the process used to identify and evaluate students suspected of having an SLD has changed significantly.


Significant Change to the Identification of an SLD


IDEA 2004 made a significant change regarding the discrepancy model:


(A) Notwithstanding section 1406 (b), when determining whether a child has a
specific learning disability as defined in section 1401, a public educational agency shall not be required to take into consideration whether a child 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. (B) In determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, a local educational agency may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as a part of the evaluation procedures described in paragraphs (2) and (3). (20 U.S.C. §1414 [b][6]).


The regulations went further by allowing that states “may permit the use of other alternative research-based procedures for determining whether a student has a specific learning disability as defined in Section 300.8(c)(10)” (34 CFR 300.307[a][3]).


The eligibility criteria adopted by a state should be used by all local educational agencies in that state. The regulations do not specify the exact criteria for determining eligibility for SLDs using RtI2 and leave it up to the states to determine.


Membership of the Eligibility Group


The group that determines whether a student meets the eligibility criteria for a specific learning disability must consist of the student’s parent and a team of qualified professionals. The group also must include:


   The student’s regular education teacher; or


   If the student does not have a regular education teacher, a regular education classroom teacher qualified to teach a student of his or her age; or


   For a student of less than school age, an individual qualified by the state educational agency to teach a student of his or her age; and


   At least one person qualified to conduct individual diagnostic examinations of students, such as a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.


A local educational agency may include other individuals beyond the above-required members to assist in making the eligibility determination.


Determination of a Specific Learning Disability


The group must follow several steps to establish whether a student has an SLD.


Required Component: Determination of Lack of Achievement


First, the group must determine if the child does not achieve adequately for his or her age or meets state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the following areas, when provided with learning experiences and instruction appropriate for the child's age or state-approved grade-level standards:


   Oral expression


   Listening comprehension


   Written expression


   Basic reading skill


   Reading fluency skills


   Reading comprehension


   Mathematics calculation


   Mathematics problem solving


Second, if the group determines that a student does not achieve adequately in one or more of the eight areas listed, the group must then determine whether (1) the student does not make sufficient progress when using an RtI2 process; or (2) the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that is relevant to the identification of an SLD. This second step in the eligibility determination process is discussed below (34 CFR § 300.309 [a][2][i-ii]).


Required Component: Determination of Lack of Progress Using RtI2


The group may determine that a student does not make sufficient progress to meet age-or the state’s grade-level standards in one or more of the eight identified areas above when using a process based on the student’s response to scientific, research-based intervention. (Guidelines to assist the group in making the determination are found in Chapter 3.)


Required Component: Determination of a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses


As an alternative to a determination of lack of sufficient progress using RtI2, the group may conclude that a student may have an SLD by examining whether he/she exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, compared to age- or grade-level standards, or intellectual development that is determined by the group to be relevant to the identification of an SLD using appropriate assessments.


In determining whether a pattern of strengths or weaknesses exists, the team may choose to examine profiles across or within standardized achievement tests and tests of intellectual development. These patterns of strengths or weaknesses are sometimes referred to as intra-individual differences or variability and may be relevant to the identification of an SLD.


Required Component: Determination of the Role of Exclusionary Factors


Finally, once a group has determined that (1) a student does not achieve adequately for his or her age; and (2) the student does not make sufficient progress using the RTI2 process, or the student exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses in performance, achievement, or both, the team must determine that its findings regarding (1) and (2) are not primarily the result of:


   A visual, hearing, or motor disability


   Mental retardation


   Emotional disturbance


   Cultural factors


   Environmental or economic disadvantage


   Limited-English proficiency


Required Component: Determination of Whether a Student Received Appropriate Instruction


To ensure that underachievement in a student suspected of having an SLD is not due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math, the group must consider documentation that demonstrates that prior to, or as part of, the referral process, the student was provided with appropriate instruction in regular education settings delivered by qualified personnel.  The group must also consider data-based documentation of repeated assessments of achievement at reasonable intervals, reflecting formal assessment of student progress during instruction, which was provided to the student’s parents.


Required Component: Observation


To document the student’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty, the public educational agency must ensure that the student is observed in his or her learning environment, including the regular education classroom setting. The group may fulfill this requirement by reviewing information from an observation in routine classroom instruction and monitoring of the child’s performance that was conducted before the student was referred for an evaluation, or may have at least one member of the group conduct an observation of the student’s academic performance in the regular education classroom after he or she has been referred for an evaluation and the parent’s consent has been obtained.


If the student is less than school age or out of school, a group member must observe the student in an environment appropriate to his or her age.


Required Component: Specific Documentation of the Determination of Eligibility


Upon review of all of the information gathered in the evaluation process, the group must then develop written documentation of the determination of eligibility that includes a statement of:


   Whether the student has an SLD and the basis for that determination, including an assurance that the determination has been made in accordance with 34 CFR § 300.306(c)(1)


   The relevant behaviors, if any, noted during the observation of the student and the relationship of that behavior to the student’s academic functioning


   Any educationally relevant medical findings


In an RtI2 process, the group must document:


   The instructional strategies used and the student data collected


   That the student’s parents were notified about:


  1.   The state’s policies regarding the amount and nature of student performance data that would be collected and the general education services that would be provided


  2.   Strategies for increasing the student’s rate of learning


  3.   Their right to request an evaluation of their child


Each group member must certify in writing whether the report reflects the member’s conclusion. If not, the member must submit a separate statement presenting his or her conclusions.


Required Component: Other Considerations


The public agency must promptly request parental consent to evaluate the student as to whether the student needs special education and related services. There are two conditions for a request: (1) whenever a student is referred for an evaluation; and (2) if, prior to a referral, the student has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided appropriate instruction. The public educational agency must adhere to the time frames for an evaluation, unless it is extended by mutual written agreement of the student’s parents and a group of qualified professionals evaluating the student. The requirements for the determination of eligibility for SLDs are in addition to, and not in place of, all other IDEA requirements relating to evaluations and eligibility. Other considerations include the requirement to:


   Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information.


   Refrain from use of any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a student is a student with a disability.


   Use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contributions of cognitive and behavioral factors in addition to physical and developmental factors.


 


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تصنيف بلوم لقياس مخرجات التعلم

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التعلم القائم على النواتج (المخرجات)

التعلم القائم على المخرجات يركز على تعلم الطالب خلال استخدام عبارات نواتج التعلم التي تصف ما هو متوقع من المتعلم معرفته، وفهمه، والقدرة على أدائه بعد الانتهاء من موقف تعليمي، وتقديم أنشطة التعلم التي تساعد الطالب على اكتساب تلك النواتج، وتقويم مدى اكتساب الطالب لتلك النواتج من خلال استخدام محكات تقويم محدودة.

ما هي مخرجات التعلم؟

عبارات تبرز ما سيعرفه الطالب أو يكون قادراً على أدائه نتيجة للتعليم أو التعلم أو كليهما معاً في نهاية فترة زمنية محددة (مقرر – برنامج – مهمة معينة – ورشة عمل – تدريب ميداني) وأحياناً تسمى أهداف التعلم)

خصائص مخرجات التعلم

أن تكون واضحة ومحددة بدقة. يمكن ملاحظتها وقياسها. تركز على سلوك المتعلم وليس على نشاط التعلم. متكاملة وقابلة للتطوير والتحويل. تمثيل مدى واسعا من المعارف والمهارات المعرفية والمهارات العامة.

 

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