Linking Assessment to Instructional Strategies: Using the Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) and Cross Battery Assessment (XBA) Models to Make Differential Diagnoses between Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) and Other Learning Problems

86713_5_80x100Next month, I will be presenting to the child study teams in Regions III and V on the Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses (PSW) model and the use of the Cross Battery Assessment method and software to determine the presence of a specific learning disability and eligibility for special education services. The presentation will begin with a history of the evolution of the federal law, and, specifically, the inclusion of the “third option” that makes the PSW possible as a best practice alternative to the flawed ability achievement discrepancy and response to intervention models. The  neuropsychological basis for the PSW model will then be described which makes possible the linkage between assessment and intervention, a missing link with the current models. Understanding the connections between cognitive abilities and the academic subjects that require these skills allows for the direct translation of test findings into practical recommendations for classroom teachers and parents. The PSW model permits evaluators to “peel back” the layers of the onion with respect to the varying levels of strengths and weaknesses that either facilitate or inhibit learning in students. It also provides information for better differentiation of instruction.

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