Language used in school psychological evaluation reports as predictors of SLD identification within a response to intervention model. Academic Article uri icon


  • Despite decades of research, much is still unknown regarding how specific learning disability (SLD) identification decisions are made, particularly how language related to sociodemographic and psychosocial factors may impact decision-making. This study employed the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) method to examine the language used in school psychological reports to better understand how sociodemographic (i.e., race, socioeconomic background, and gender) and psychosocial factors (e.g., positive and negative emotion, student effort, and student social processes) related to SLD identification within a Response to Intervention (RtI) identification method. The reports of students identified as SLD contained significantly more achievement-related language (e.g., hardworking, motivated, exerting effort) compared to students who were not identified as SLD, and achievement-related language was associated with SLD identification above and beyond RtI evaluation data (i.e., academic achievement and slope). Implications for research and practice are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • Sch Psychol

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Barrett, C. A., Burns, M. K., Maki, K. E., Clinkscales, A., Hajovsky, D. B., & Spear, S. E.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Barrett, Courtenay A||Burns, Matthew K||Maki, Kathrin E||Clinkscales, Andryce||Hajovsky, Daniel B||Spear, Shelbie E

publication date

  • January 2022