The PSW model for determining the presence of a specific learning disability, as described in my position paper, is being supported by the New Jersey Psychological Association, the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists, and the Learning Disability Association of New Jersey as the best practice approach to take the place of the flawed ability-achievement discrepancy model currently used to establish eligibility for special education services. Conversations are being planned with the state to push this agenda forward.
A change in the way teams determine eligibility will lead to more accurate diagnosis of learning disorders and differentiate between students with a disability and those who are of low ability and functioning congruent to that ability. It is also being recommended that the latter group receive supports appropriate to their needs when special education is not the best fit.
In addition, it is recommended that the Cross Battery Assessment model for assessing the presence of learning disabilities be considered as it is will mean that testing will be individualized based upon the presenting issues of each student, freeing up students and teams alike from performing assessments that will not specifically address students’ unique difficulties.