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
Many new college students are away from home for the first time, and, for the first time, they must manage and organize their lives themselves. Coupled with the rigors of college academics, these students can easily get overwhelmed. Students with anxiety disorders or learning disabilities may struggle even more. But what about students who aren’t aware that they have a condition that may affect learning? These students may even be at risk of dropping—or even failing—out of school.
The Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment (KLDA) is a self-report screening tool developed to identify college students who struggle unknowingly with a condition that affects learning, such as an anxiety disorder, ADHD, an executive function deficit, or a specific learning disability.
More than 40 million adults in the United States ages 18 and older have an anxiety disorder—yet only 37% of them seek treatment—and up to 44% of individuals with an attention deficit disorder were first identified at the postsecondary level.
The KLDA can help your students get back on track. In just 15 minutes, it evaluates key areas including reading, writing, math, organization, time management, anxiety, and more. Administration is available on PARiConnect 3.0, the fastest and most reliable online platform in the assessment industry, so students can complete it on their own time, 24/7. The KLDA report provides valuable information about the student’s individual learning strengths and weaknesses—and includes tailored interventions and accommodations that address them—and identifies students who are at risk of an undiagnosed learning difficulty so they can get the help they need.
Help your struggling students keep their college careers—and their lives—on track. Learn more about the KLDA.
A number of online academic resources have come out with lists of the best U.S. colleges for psychology majors. We decided to take a look at College Crunch, Social Psychology Network, Schoolahh to see which undergraduate programs were highly ranked across the board.
Stanford University in Palo Alto, California ranks number one on all three of the lists above. This isn’t surprising given that Stanford’s psychology department has been collecting kudos for more than fifty years. The philosophy of the department is that success results from the connection between teaching and scientific research. It’s organized into five areas of study within the field of psychology: Cognitive, Developmental, Neuroscience, Personality and Social Psychology. Research at Stanford includes (but is not limited to) topics like aggression, social behavior, competitiveness, dreaming, color perception, spatial relations, learning and memory.
The University of Michigan Ann Arbor appears in the top five of each list. This Big Ten School offers three concentrations: 1) Psychology, 2) Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science and 3) Neuroscience. The school has many research labs that provide undergraduates with the ability to participate in research studies. Active research studies include African-American racial identity, human brain electrophysiology, human performance and cognition, visual and verbal working memory, affective neuroscience and biopsychology, neuronal mechanisms of movement and reward, and many more.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign appears in the top ten on the lists above largely because of its laboratories for research in human learning, animal learning, physiological psychology, animal motivation, human perception, and social behavior, just to name a few. The school houses extensive computer facilities, a complete animal colony, a fully equipped video laboratory facility for observation and videotape production. The Urbana-Champaign psychology department also operates a psychological clinic and other research and training facilities housed outside of its main building.
Because PAR, Inc. is based in Florida, we’re also familiar with high caliber programs in our Sunshine State. Most notable is University of Florida’s graduate program, which was voted one of the best programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report in 2009. Programs at University of South Florida and University of Miami also earn high marks for their courses of study and resources.