Saginaw County Process Model of Specific Learning Disability Eligibility Considerations
The Saginaw County model
for the identification of Specific Learning Disabilities considers the
full and individual evaluation as a process of data collection that
includes multiple methods for assessing student performance with input
from parents, teachers, instructional specialists, school psychologists,
medical personnel and other pertinent parties. The purpose of the
evaluation is to surround the student of concern with the best and most
comprehensive information possible to make valid and appropriate
recommendations as to the student's eligibility for special education
and more importantly, educationally relevant recommendations for
instructional strategies, supports, and services.
Areas of Consideration:
a. Quality of Instruction.
Federal law requires
schools to ensure that students were provided with appropriate,
evidence-based instruction that is delivered by a qualified teacher. The
first step in this process would be to remedy any concerns with quality
instruction before a valid evaluation could be completed.
b. Level of Proficiency on State Standards.
Student progress with
learning the Grade and High School Level Content Expectations is a
fundamental consideration for instructional planning and for
understanding student educational performance levels. Next, the team
considers the student's level of proficiency with State standards, as
measured by state assessments and/or district benchmarking assessments.
c. Rate/level of progress.
repeared measures of student performance provided to parents at regular
intervals are required to determine the probability of a specific
learning disability. Repeated measures of student rate/level of progress
may include progress monitoring data, benchmark assessments, classroom
assessments, or other measures that occur at reasonable intervals, such
as every 4-8 weeks.
d. Response to Intervention.
whether formalized in school procedures or through teacher efforts to
provide supplementary instruction, must be documented with attention to
the fidelity of the efforts to impact student achievement.
e. Exclusionary factors.
attributions of a disability within the student, the team must consider
all other factors that could explain the performance patterns and lack
of student response to instruction. The team must consider the student's
progress in the context of his/her opportunity, past experiences,
sensory, health, language, culture, and developmental challenges.
f. Diagnostic Achievement testing.
evaluation of the student must include normative measures to advance the
understanding of why the student continues to have difficulty. The
student must also be tested with an individually administered
standardized achievement test to validate the samples of classroom
assessment data with normative data.
g. Cognitive Testing.
Before applying a
categorical label to a student, the study of abilities must include
testing of intelligence skills to identify patterns of strength and
weakness that may further clarify understanding of the student's
h. Matching of the data to Specific Learning Disabilities.
The test data are then
analyzed relative to the research-based clinical profiles of learning
disabilities to determine if there is a match with existing models of
learning disabilities. The team considers the relationships between
areas of strength and areas of deficit as they relate to the most
current understanding of specific learning disabilities.
i. Back to Quality Instructional Practice.
The assessment must then
lead to the development of educationally relevant recommendations for
the student, whether determined eligible as a student with a specific
learning disability or not. The evaluation must lead to appropriate
recommendations as to the best plan for instruction. Recommendations
should not be limited to special education supports and programs but may
include such recommendations as classroom accommodations or continued
participation in response to intervention targeted small group