Learning disabled college students: A psychological assessment of scholastic aptitude



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Texas Tech University


Encouraged by civil rights revolution and revitalized Federal interest and an increasing number of the disabled have appeared in college classrooms. Among the handicapped receiving increased Federal attention is the Learning Disabled. Although the concept of learning disability" (LD) is controversial and the symptomology many faceted, one of the most common attributes of LD person person is the inability to read rapidly with normal retention. Standardized achievement and aptitude tests which are crucial in meeting entrance requirements at an undergraduate and graduate level, require rapid and accurate reading and are assumed to present a special difficulty for students with reading disabilities. It has been postulated that in order for colleges to comply with Federal law, modifications in current testing methods must be made. Educational Testing Service has attempted to correct this disadvantage by providing learning disabled individual additional time to complete the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the Graduate Record Exam.

Even though providing additional time for those with identified reading difficulties appears appropriates, little empirical support exists for this practice. The present study attempts to assess the relevance of additional time to the SAT General Test. A subject pool (N=100) comprised of 47 female and 53 male undergraduates, was selected and assigned to one of two ability groups, LD or nonLD. Group assignment was determined by subjects' scores on three selection instruments. In addition to the three selection instruments, subjects sat for the SAT and the Nelson-Denny Reading Test either under timed or untimed conditions to assess the effect of time on the scores. Data collection was from January to May 1989, using the SAT General Test and the Nelson- Denny Reading Test as the dependent measures.

A quasi-experimental mixed-model design with one between-subjects variable and one within-subject variable was used. Data was analyzed suing two-way analysis of a variance procedure. Results indicated that there was no significant difference in the SAT General Test scores between ability groups. However, testing condition had a significant effect on test performance for both ability groups on the Nelson-Denny Reading Test.



People with disabilities -- Ability testing, People with disabilities -- Education (Higher), Learning disabilities -- Psychological aspects