Recommended Instruments for Assessment of Specific Learning Disabilities in Late Adolescents and Adults

Assessment measures selected for use in any evaluation should be normed appropriately and used according to the test author’s recommendations. Reliability and validity data should also be considered in the selection of test instruments. Abbreviated test batteries are not acceptable for the assessment of learning disabilities, unless the test authors recommend the shortened version for this purpose. Note: Individual learning deficits, learning styles, learning differences, or learning preferences do not, in and of themselves, constitute a significant learning disability. The evaluation must make a clear diagnosis of significant disability. Minimal assessment of learning disabilities and their academic impact should include measures of:

Intellectual/cognitive/information processing abilities

(one instrument unless the diagnostician determines otherwise)

  • Halstead-Reitan Neuropsychological Battery (complete battery not indicated unless there is a head injury or suspicion of some other cognitive dysfunction)
  • Stanford-Binet IV
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale II or III
  • Woodcock Johnson Psycho-educational Battery-Revised (Part I, Tests of Cognitive Ability)
  • Wechsler Memory Scales-Revised (supplement to WAIS-R)

Academic Achievement

(one only)

  • Woodcock Johnson, Tests of Achievement, Third Edition
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test – Revised (ages 5 to 18)
  • Stanford Test of Academic Skills (grades 8 – 13)
  • Nelson-Denny Reading Test (used only to determine reading rate when extended time accommodation is a consideration (grades 9+/ages 14+)

Current and Historical Socio-Emotional Adjustment

The purpose of this comprehensive interview is to screen for other factors that may contribute to learning difficulties. It is vital in making differential diagnoses and identifying current needs. Information gathered helps rule out emotional, sensory, head injury, substance abuse, and educational deficiencies as the primary diagnoses or explanation for current academic difficulties. Objective personality tests may also be used for screening purposes, but never in the absence of or in lieu of a thorough clinical interview.