Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Learning disabilities; Special education; Resource programs (Education);


The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze the process involved in identifying who is eligible for special education programs under the learning disabilities label, and the effects of one type of special education program, the resource room, on the educational development of children identified as learning disabled (LD). The identification process was found, in general, to be guided by a theoretical definition and accompanying operational criteria, which were developed as a result of a need for a compromise definition of a learning disability. Because of the broad scope of the definition and operational criteria, a degree of ambiguity and professional subjectivity was involved in interpretation,of these guidelines when determining a learning disability. Furthermore, test error and instability of the standardized instruments, which are so vital in the identification process, raised further concerns about the appropriateness of the placement decision for children identified as LD. Once identified and placed in resource room programs, the question was raised concerning the effects of these resource room programs on the educational development of LD children. To describe and analyze who is identified as being eligible for resource room programs, and the effects of these programs, 25 children identified as LD were selected for whom Wechsler Intelligence Tests for Children - Revised (WISC-R) and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) scores were available. Of the original 25 children, two children were later placed under diagnostic labels other than LD, and six moved out of the area. These eight children were excluded from further investigation. From the 17 remaining children, two subgroups were drawn. One -- group consisted of children who upon re-evaluation remained in (RI, N=9) resource room programs. The second group consisted of children staffedout (SO, N=8) of the resource room program and returned to the regular classroom full-time as a result of a re-evaluation of their placement. First, WISC-R IQ scores and PPVT receptive language scores were described in terms of means, standard deviations, and ranges. The two groups were then compared on the basis of mean WISC-R IQ scores, as well as mean PPVT scores. WISC-R IQ stability over a three year period for the RI group was described, as were changes in mean, median, and range in IQ for the RI group. The RI and SO groups were then compared on seven !TBS subtests by using a median test. The median test involved ranking subtest percentile scores, obtaining a median, and tallying the number of children for each group whose percentile scores were above the median, and those whose scores were at or below the median. Changes in !TBS subtest percentile scores over an academic year for the RI and · SO groups were reported and described. The two groups were compared on the basis of the number of gainers and decliners for each group. Finally, re-evaluation IQ scores were compared to !TBS composite scores to determine if there was a tendency for those children scoring higher on the IQ measure to also score higher on the achievement measure. The results of this study indicated many children may be inappropriately identified as learning disabled on the basis of intelligence scores. It would also appear th.at the effectiveness of resource room programs for learning disabled children has yet to be determined.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

Barry J. Wilson

Second Advisor

Harley E. Erickson

Third Advisor

Ronald J. Anderson


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