Authors: Gebhardt, Markus
Krammer, Mathias
Schwab, Susanne
Rossmann, Peter
Gasteiger-Klicpera, Barbara
Title: What is behind the diagnosis of learning disability in Austrian schools?
Other Titles: An empirical evaluation of the results of the diagnostic process
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Every school system has to deal with children with Learning Disabilities (LD). However, the concepts of LD, the assessment procedures, the diagnostic criteria as well as their interpretation vary widely from country to country. What they usually seem to have in common is that general cognitive abilities, as measured by standardized IQ tests, are seen as an important aspect of the label.. In Austrian schools the diagnosis of LD is largely based on expert opinions provided by special education teachers. The diagnostic procedure is quite unregulated and open to individual interpretation. As a rule, standardized tests are not used in this connection. In the present study the characteristics of children with a diagnosis of LD are evaluated in terms of standardized testing. Thiry-seven pupils diagnosed as having LD and 136 regular school children were assessed at the end of the 5th grade in Austrian schools using standardized tests of intelligence, reading, writing and arithmetic skills and questionnaires regarding social integration in class, emotional integration in school and cultural capital of their families. Compared with a group of pupils without LD, matched for IQ and age, the LD children showed significantly worse basic arithmetic and reading skills, inferior social integration in class and lower familial cultural capital. A stepwise logistic regression analysis indicated that poor basic arithmetic and reading skills were the strongest predictors of having a diagnosis of LD. Other variables, including IQ, had significantly less weight. The results are seen as indication of the fact that precise guidelines for diagnosing LD in the school system and a transition to a system of evidence-based allocation of resources are urgently needed.
Subject Headings: Diagnosis
Learning disability
Special needs
Subject Headings (RSWK): Diagnose
Inklusive Pädagogik
Issue Date: 2013
Appears in Collections:Entwicklung und Erforschung inklusiver Bildungsprozesse

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