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Validation of a Questionnaire to Screen University Students for Learning Disabilities


Glenn, Jerry; Eslinger, Paul; Chinchilli, Vernon [u. a.]


Norman, Geoffrey R.


Advances in Health Sciences Education, 1997, Volume 2 (Number 3), Seite 213-220, Norwell, Massachusetts: Kluwer Academic Publishers, ISSN: 1382-4996




Learning disabilities (LD) may cause academic failures among university students, but minor accommodations may in some instances allow students to progress satisfactorily. The current study validates a questionnaire for detecting students likely to have an LD.

University students, 57 with a documented LD and 134 without, completed a Likert-scale questionnaire to assess the degree of self-perceived difficulty for 50 learning or testing situations. Wilcoxon rank sum test, separate logistic regression models, and determination of the best joint set of predictors of LD were carried out. The mean per-item questionnaire score was higher in the LD group (p < 0.0001); 47 individual items were significant predictors (i.e., p < 0.05) of LD status.

The best joint set of predictors consisted of items dealing with word pronunciation, comprehending mathematical word problems, formulating summaries, spelling, slow reading rate, finishing tests in the allotted time, note-taking in lectures, and falling asleep while reading. Incorporating responses to these eight items, a formula was derived to determine the probability of LD. Taking 0.26 as the threshold for predicting the presence of an LD, the sensitivity of the questionnaire was 88%, the specificity was 87% for this population.

The questionnaire could be an effective screening tool to detect university or professional students who should consider comprehensive testing for LD.

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Community Mental Health Journal

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Informationsstand: 02.07.2004

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