Do Processing Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses Predict Differential Treatment Response?


No previous empirical study has investigated whether the LD identification decisions of proposed methods to operationalize processing strengths and weaknesses (PSW) approaches for LD identification are associated with differential treatment response. The authors investigated whether the identification decisions of the concordance/discordance model (C/DM; Hale & Fiorello, 2004) and Cross Battery Assessment approach (XBA method; Flanagan, Ortiz, & Alfonso, 2007) were consistent and whether they predicted intervention response beyond that accounted for by pretest performance on measures of reading. Psychoeducational assessments were administered at pretest to 203 fourth-graders with low reading comprehension, and individual results were utsed to identify students who met LD criteria according to the C/DM and XBA methods and students who did not. Resulting group status permitted an investigation of agreement for identification methods and whether group status at pretest (LD or not LD) was associated with differential treatment response to an intensive reading intervention.The LD identification decisions of the XBA and C/DM demonstrated poor agreement with one another (κ = -.10). Comparisons of posttest performance for students who met LD criteria and those who did not meet were largely null, with small effect sizes across all measures. LD status, as identified through the C/DM and XBA approaches, was not associated with differential treatment response and did not contribute educationally meaningful information about how students would respond to intensive reading intervention. These results do not support the value of cognitive assessment utilized in this way as part of the LD identification process.


Miciak, J., Williams, J. L, Taylor, W. P., Cirino, P. T., Fletcher, J. M., & Vaughn, S. (2016). Do processing patterns of strengths and weaknesses predict differential treatment response? Journal of Educational Psychology, 108, 898-909.

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