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Intelligence-Achievement Discrepancy

The field of learning disabilities (LD) has a rich and long-standing history in which the discrepancy model for identifying LDs has been dominant, at times in a controversial way. Determining what constitutes a LD has been an ongoing challenge. Differences across professions and state-by-state interpretation of federal mandates have persisted since the 1960s. At the heart of the definitional challenge is the discrepancy model for determining a learning disability. That is, in determining eligibility, there needs to be a “significant” discrepancy between a child’s overall intelligence quotient (IQ) and his or her overall achievement score, in one or more areas (e.g., reading, math, written expression, oral expression, listening comprehension). This entry examines how learning disabilities have historically been defined, how they are currently defined, ...

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