Mellard, Daryl F.; Deshler, Donald D.; Barth, Amy
October 2004
Learning Disability Quarterly;Fall2004, Vol. 27 Issue 4, p229
Academic Journal
Historically, researchers, policy makers, and practi-tioners have sought improved solutions to the issues associated with LD identification decisions. Since the passage of P.L. 94-142, numerous identification methods has been proposed, imple-mented, and studied. While each new method has been successful, at least partially, in addressing some of the limitations of earlier methods, each new identification model is saddled with its own set of shortcomings. This article argues that factors beyond specific LD identification technology significantly influence the decision-mak-ing process and ultimately decisions about who is and who is not LD. Results from focus group discussions with six stakeholder groups (LD parents, LD teachers, general education teachers, direc-tors of special education, school principals, and school psycholo-gists/ diagnosticians) are reported, indicating that a broad array of factors beyond a student's performance on formal and informal assessments influence ultimate decisions made about a student's eligibility for learning disability services. Thus, the search for new identification technologies should also include efforts to better understand the values and biases of critical stakeholders and how to include these factors in the overall decision-making process.


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