Date of Award

Summer 8-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Joseph F. Kovaleski, D.Ed.

Second Advisor

Timothy Runge, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daniel R. Wissinger, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent two major specific learning disability (SLD) criteria, including a student’s level of academic achievement and rate of improvement (ROI), predict multidisciplinary evaluation teams’ decision-making regarding referral for special education evaluation and special education eligibility. Reading curriculum-based measurement (CBM-R) and demographic data were obtained from 383 second and third grade students in a Midwestern state who were receiving general education intervention in reading but not referred for a special education evaluation or who were found eligible for special education. CBM-R data were analyzed to determine whether students found eligible for special education demonstrated dual discrepancies (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1998) and whether level of academic achievement and ROI predicted students’ special education eligibility status. Results revealed students with SLD displayed lower levels of performance and ROIs than students receiving general education reading intervention who were not referred for a special education evaluation. Results also suggested that level of performance was predictive of SLD identification but that ROI did not significantly contribute to decisions about whether a student is identified as SLD. This result was found for both second and third grade students. Implications for implementing a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) and determining special education eligibility within a response to intervention framework are discussed.