Adjusting to college can be difficult for even the most prepared students. But for students who may be struggling with an undiagnosed learning difficulty, the transition can be overwhelming. They may have poor coping skills, increased levels of stress, executive functioning or working memory deficits, low self-esteem, and even significant academic, interpersonal, and psychological difficulties.
The worst part is that many of them don’t know why. According to a National Council on Disability report, as many as 44% of individuals with ADHD were first identified at the postsecondary level.
The Kane Learning Difficulties Assessment (KLDA) is a tool that screens college students for learning difficulties and ADHD in order to give them the answers they need. By screening for learning difficulties and ADHD as well as other issues that affect learning, such as anxiety, memory, and functional problems like organization and procrastination, the KLDA helps to identify those individuals who should seek further assessment so they can get the help they need to succeed in college.
Steven T. Kane, PhD, author of the KLDA took a few minutes to answer some common questions about the product, its development, and the feedback he has received on its impact.
What inspired you to develop the KLDA initially?
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 shocked, quite frankly, 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.
As most of us are aware, being tested 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. I also found it troubling that almost none of these same 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 competitive measures?
There are actually 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 was 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 via the internet for free as we performed factor analyses, perfected item development, etc. Third, the KLDA is very affordable, essentially self-interpreting, and can be administered quickly administered via PARiConnect. Most respondents finish the assessment in about 10 minutes as the items are written at about the 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 on the KLDA and the insight it provides to students?
Thus far, both practitioners and test takers have found the assessment very useful, easy to take, and comment that 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 the KLDA?
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, and study skills and student success instructors have found it extremely useful to administer to a classroom as part of a group assignment. Thanks to PAR’s PARiConnect assessment platform, the assessment can be easily administered to large groups of individuals and at a very low cost.
Learn more about the KLDA
The KLDA is a self-report form that measures academic strengths and weaknesses in key areas, including reading, listening, time management, writing, math, concentration and memory, organization and self-control, oral presentation, and anxiety and pressure. It is useful for all levels of postsecondary education, including vocational schools, technical colleges, community colleges, 4-year colleges and universities, and graduate schools.
Visit the KLDA page to learn more!