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Early Identification of Students with Learning Difficulties: AComparison of Methods


The current study will help determine which of two methods of academic screening (i.e., teacher ratings or curriculum-based measurement) is more effective for identifying students at risk for developing learning difficulties. The Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) will support the administration of two different academic screening systems at a diverse set of schools in Tennessee and in Wisconsin.

Student proficiency test scores will be collected for three years as the outcome variable in the study. The primary investigators will use a classic framework to assess the reliability and validity of two screening systems for identifying children with learning difficulties, with the featured analysis being Bayesian conditional probability indices used to characterize predictive validity.

Intended outcomes for the study include: (a) identification of accurate methods of screening for academic learning difficulties, (b) comparison of teacher ratings with curriculum-based measurement (CBM) of academic competence, (c) development of a broadband screening system for academic skills and enablers, and (d) exploration of the role of screening within response-to-intervention (RTI) and three tiered preventive intervention frameworks.