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(2.15) What are the most common tests used in the assessment of a child with suspected learning disabilities?

(2.15) What are the most common tests used in the assessment of a child with suspected learning disabilities?

The law requires that the student be given an individually administered test of ability or intelligence and tests of achievement in areas such as reading, math, and writing. The most commonly used test of intelligence is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Sometimes the Wechsler Pre-School and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R) or the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test are used.

The most commonly used achievement tests are the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), the Peabody Individual Achievement Test (PIAT), and the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho Educational Battery-Revised (WJPEB-R). All of these are short tests are designed to tell you the grade level at which the student is performing in reading, writing, spelling, and math.

Since the Larry P. v. Riles case (see Question 45 below) prohibits districts from using intelligence tests to assess African American students, more and more districts are moving away from the use of IQ tests and are relying instead on measures of adaptive behavior. [Larry P. v. Riles, 793 F.2d 969 (9th Cir. 1984).] Districts may administer standardized instruments such as: Adaptive Behavior Inventory for Children (ABIC, Vineland-3); Adaptive Behavior Scales (ABS, Vineland-3); Scales of Independent Behavior-Revised (SIB-R); Woodcock-Johnson – IV) (WJ-IV) or Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (Vineland-3). 

The districts will also use clinical observations and informal interviews to gather data about daily living skills and functioning in the home and community.