Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Mark R. McGowan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lynanne Black, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Timothy J. Runge, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Mark J. Staszkiewicz, D.Ed.


In recent years, there has been an ongoing, polarizing debate within the field of school psychology over the use of Response-to-Intervention (RTI) methods versus cognitive processing/neuropsychological assessment methods for the identification of learning disabilities (LDs). Although this debate has been conceptualized in a number of ways, personality-which has been shown to yield an influence on school psychologists' preferred role and job satisfaction-has not yet been explored as a potential influence on orientation to LD identification method. The purpose of the present study was to examine the personality characteristics of school psychologists at opposite ends of this debate. A secondary purpose of the study was to explore which points of contention, with regard to LD identification, contribute to the differentiation of RTI and neuropsychological assessment-oriented school psychologists. Holland's (1985) Theory of Vocational Personality and Work Environments, a well-validated theory that has been applied to school psychologists in previous research, was used to conceptualize personality. An extreme-groups sampling method was used to recruit participants likely to hold strong opinions regarding LD identification methods. Peer nomination by an expert in the RTI field and direct appeals were used to recruit RTI-oriented participants while school psychologists who received the American Board of School Neuropsychology (ABSNP) diplomate were recruited as neuropsychological assessment-oriented participants. These participants received a Qualtrics survey comprised of a demographic data form, LD identification orientation questionnaire developed by the researcher, and the Self-Directed Search (SDS; Holland, 1994). The response rate was 37%. To answer research question one, 32 RTI-oriented participants were matched with 32 neuropsychological assessment-oriented participants on variables likely to influence orientation to LD identification method. Results indicated no significant associations between orientation toward LD identification method and vocational personality in frequency of personality type or strength of personality. Examination of both modal first-letter codes and mean SDS scores suggested that both RTI and neuropsychological assessment-oriented participants exhibited a Social vocational personality. Both groups were also strongly oriented to the Investigative vocational personality. The LD identification orientation questionnaire was highly reliable. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were above .90 for the RTI and neuropsychological assessment scales, which were comprised of items favorable to each respective orientation. High levels of agreement on either scale were associated with lower levels of agreement on the opposing scale. A logistic regression analysis using all LD identification orientation questionnaire items indicated that the best-fitting model was significant (p