An examination of the relationships between specific learning disabilities identification and growth rate, achievement, cognitive ability, and student demographics. Academic Article uri icon


  • Students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) represent a large proportion of those receiving special education services in U.S. schools, but the relationship between student-level variables and SLD identification is still not well understood. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which data collected as part of a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation were associated with SLD identification status. Logistic regression analyses were used to examine how response to intervention (RtI) slope (i.e., growth rate), academic achievement, global cognitive ability, and demographic variables (i.e., race/ethnicity, gender, and free/reduced-price lunch [FRL] status) were related to SLD identification. Academic achievement (B = -0.13, OR = 0.88), race/ethnicity (B = -1.35, OR = 0.26; 0 = white student, 1 = student of color), and FRL (B = 0.94, OR = 2.57) were related to SLD status, but global cognitive ability and RtI slope were not, even though the RtI method was reported to be used during the special education decision-making process. Implications for practice, particularly related to the use of RtI, are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • Sch Psychol

altmetric score

  • 10.4

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Maki, Kathrin E||Barrett, Courtenay A||Hajovsky, Daniel B||Burns, Matthew K

publication date

  • January 2020