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Steven T. Kane, PhD, is the author of the Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment™ (KLDA™). The KLDA screens college students for learning difficulties and ADHD. This week, the PAR blog sits down with the author to learn more about the development of the KLDA and the feedback he has received from clinicians on the impact it has made. 

What initially inspired you to develop the KLDA? 

Before becoming a professor and researcher, I was employed in a university disability resource center as a psychologist who specialized in learning disabilities and ADHD. I was also previously employed at three of the most diverse community colleges in California. In each of these settings, I saw literally hundreds of students who should have been screened for learning and attentional challenges but never were. I was also quite frankly shocked by the number of individuals I saw who clearly suffered from some form of learning or attentional difficulties as adults yet were never screened or tested in the K–12 system. Testing for a learning disability and/or ADHD is very expensive and simply out of reach for the majority of our most at-risk college students, especially those of color and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds. I also found it troubling that almost none of these students were ever screened for anxiety disorders or memory challenges. Thus, my goal was to develop a screening assessment that was very affordable and easy to take, preferably via the internet. 

How does the KLDA differ from other competitive measures? 

There are not a lot of similar measures, which is, again, one of the main reasons why we developed the KLDA. There are two or three other measures that assess study skills, motivation, etc., but not the key academic skills and executive functioning skills the KLDA assesses. 

What are some important things clinicians should know about the KLDA? 

First, the KLDA is normed on a very large and diverse population from across the U.S. and Canada. Second, the KLDA was completed by more than 5,000 people over the internet for free as we performed factor analyses, perfected item development, and more. Third, the KLDA is very affordable, essentially self-interpreting, and can be administered quickly via the Internet. Most respondents finish the assessment in about 10 minutes as the items are written at about a fourth- through sixth-grade reading level. The KLDA can also guide the assessment process and inform which lengthier diagnostic assessments should be administered. Finally, the KLDA is a great discussion prompt to encourage clients to talk about their difficulties across different environments. 

What feedback have you received from users of the KLDA? 

Practitioners and test-takers have found the assessment very useful and easy to administer (especially via the web in a pandemic!). It leads to very interesting discussions that the respondent has often never had with anyone before. 

Anything else you think is important for people to know about your product? 

The KLDA is a very flexible product. The assessment can be used by individual clinicians to screen a client before they even meet for the first time. It’s been used by community colleges and universities as part of their orientation process to screen at-risk students before they fail. Study skills and student success instructors have found the KLDA extremely useful to administer to a classroom as part of a group assignment. Thanks to PARiConnect, the KLDA can be easily administered to large groups of individuals online at a very low cost. 

Related Article:  ADHD & ACADEMIC CONCERNS DURING A PANDEMIC  

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The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test–Revised™ (HVLT-R™) and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test–Revised™ (BVMT-R™) are now available for scoring on PARiConnect. The HVLT-R assesses verbal learning and memory, while the BVMT-R measures visuospatial memory. Both tests are neuropsychological assessments that can be used together as part of a battery. 

HVLT-R and BVMT-R Score Reports generated by PARiConnect provide: 

  • A score summary table that provides raw scores, T scores, and percentiles 

  • A raw score profile 

  • T-score profile 

Save valuable clinical time by letting PARiConnect handle the scoring. Now you can easily score these assessments online and without the expense of software or licenses. Learn more about the HVLT-R and the BVMT-R now! 

Don’t have a PARiConnect account? It’s easy to sign up! Learn more 

Interested in research conducted using the HVLT-R and BVMT-R? Click here and here to see our lists of research articles.  
 

 

Related article: New on PARiConnect: Digital Library  

 

Can a student’s classroom have an impact on their ability to learn effectively? According to a new study out of Carnegie Mellon University, there seems to be evidence that highly decorated classrooms may be a distraction for students.


Researchers Anna V. Fisher, Karrie E. Godwin, and Howard Seltman focused their research on how classroom displays affect a child’s ability to maintain focus and learn lesson content. Their results, published in Psychological Science, found that children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, were off task more often, and demonstrated smaller learning gains than their counterparts in a classroom where the decorations had been removed.


The study placed 24 kindergarten students in laboratory classrooms for six science lessons on topics that were unfamiliar to the students. Three lessons were taught in a heavily decorated classroom. Three lessons took place in a classroom without decorations. Although results showed the children learned in both environments, they reported more educational gains in the sparsely decorated classroom. In the undecorated room, children responded to test questions correctly about 55% of the time as opposed to 42% of the time in the decorated classroom.


Furthermore, the time students spent off-task was higher in the decorated classroom (38.6% of time spent off-task in the decorated room, 28.4% of time spent off-task in the undecorated room).


Although researchers do not suggest that teachers remove decorations from their classrooms, they believe more research needs to be done to understand the effect visual environment has on learning and attention.

You don’t have to be Hamlet to wax poetic on the wonders of sleep, but several new studies are giving us more insight into your nightly snooze. Although you may think sleep is just a way for your body to rest and recharge, the following researchers are showing that there is so much more to it.

Sleep deprivation may increase hunger

According to a presentation given at the American Heart Association’s annual conference, people tend to consume more calories on the day after they’ve had less sleep. Researcher Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, found that women consumed, on average, 329 more calories when sleep deprived; men consumed 263 more. In addition to eating more calories, individuals also tended to consume foods with a higher fat and protein content than they did when they had adequate amounts of sleep. Though it may seem that participants were looking for quick sources of energy, if could also be that sleep impairs one’s ability to make healthy food choices.

Dreaming about a task may be beneficial to learning

Scientists are finding more evidence that dreaming about a particular task may be associated with better performance in that particular activity. Researchers are finding that dreaming is an essential part of understanding, organizing, and retaining the information we learn during the day. Harvard researchers found that college students who dreamt about a computer maze task they encountered during the day showed a tenfold improvement in their ability to navigate the maze than did those who did not dream about the maze.

Your social life may have an impact on your sleep schedule

Information collected at the University of Chicago found that people who report higher levels of loneliness also tend to report more sleep fragmentation. Those who feel more connected to others tend to get a better night’s sleep.

 

Sleep seems to have a positive impact on so many aspects of life. In what other settings have you noticed sleep’s influence on an individual’s functioning?
Although touch-screen phones have only been in existence for about the past three years, and iPads only hit the market within the last two years, these digital tools have completely changed the way people look at the world – including how we learn.

According to new research, 40 percent of all 2 to 4-year-olds have used touch screen technology. About 10 percent of babies less than a year have used it as well. Many schools have introduced iPads in the classroom. At the Catherine Cook School in Chicago, they teach kids to write letters, identify shapes, and interact with each other using the tablet technology.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends limiting screen time for those in the 2 to 4-year-old bracket, the organization says that it can be enriching if there is interaction with an adult. Though proponents of technology in the classroom believe that access to these tools at younger ages may spur growth and development in children’s abilities to use and create technology, any real research on the topic is still years away – and by then, today’s technology will be obsolete.

However, there is a growing opposing school of thought, and it comes from a very interesting place – the heart of technology in the U.S. The Waldorf method, nearly a century old, uses a teaching philosophy that focuses on physical activity and learning through hands-on, creative tasks. Proponents believe that computers inhibit creative thinking, human interaction, and attention spans. Of the 160 Waldorf schools in the country, 40 of them are in California, many of those in tech-heavy Silicon Valley, where 75 percent of the students have parents with careers in high-tech fields (students include offspring of executives from Google, Apple, Yahoo, and more). Waldorf schools have no computers, frown upon home use of screen technology, and only begin to introduce the use of gadgets in the eighth grade. Instead of iPads, Waldorf schools employ blackboards, pencils, even encyclopedias.

Is learning through activity more effective than learning with technology? It’s hard to compare – as Waldorf schools are private schools, they do not administer standardized tests. Furthermore, they admit that their youngest students may not perform well on such measures, as they do not cover a standardized curriculum. However, advocates will point to the schools’ effectiveness by showing that 94 percent of graduates from Waldorf high schools from 1994 to 2004 attended college, with 91 percent stating that they are active in lifelong education.

What is your take on technology in the classroom? Is it a distraction or is it the new way of learning?