The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) recently published Specific Learning Disabilities Evaluation Principles and Standards, introducing a comprehensive framework for the assessment and identification of students with specific learning disabilities (SLD). These standards are a valuable resource for educators, psychologists, policymakers, and anyone interested in and involved with enhancing the quality of education and support for individuals with specific learning disabilities.
The primary goal of this new framework is to encourage a transition from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more individualized and research-informed evaluation process that promotes better understanding, increased collaboration, and tailored interventions for students with SLD.
These new principles and standards expand upon the existing mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by providing a more comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to evaluating and supporting students with SLDs.
These guidelines emphasize collaborative evaluation teams involving professionals from various fields, including psychology, education, and medicine. They extend beyond the previous focus on identification and delve into personalized interventions that cater to each student's unique academic, linguistic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Additionally, these updated principles highlight the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity that have not been explicitly addressed in prior IDEA mandates.
The SLD landscape
LDA research sheds light on the educational landscape for students with specific learning disabilities, revealing that they constitute 32% of the student disability population (National Center for Education Statistics, 2023). The research also reveals the persistent challenge of low student achievement; specifically, the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) data indicates a substantial disparity between students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities. According to 2022 NAEP data:
Additionally, this research underscores significant inequity for students with SLD, especially those from Black/African American, Latinx, or Indigenous backgrounds. These students are disproportionately marginalized in the areas of identification, intervention, and instructional processes compared to White students.
Given this data, the team from LDA determined it was necessary to develop new principles and standards that not only identify the cause of learning differences but potential interventions.
The seven principles of SLD evaluation
LDA created the new standards using seven foundational principles to create a common set of values among stakeholders with respect to SLD evaluation. These principles are:
Eight standards for SLD evaluation
Using these principles, the LDA team established the following standards for SLD evaluation.
About this research
The researchers involved in creating the principles and standards pursued a comprehensive strategy that interwove historical context, global viewpoints, and scholarly research. Their approach involved dissecting the progression of terms and definitions connected to SLD, delving into historical shifts in perspectives, and emphasizing the pivotal role of cognitive assessments in SLD evaluations.
By integrating these insights, the LDA constructed a holistic model for the SLD evaluation process. This model encompasses guiding principles, assessment components, and avenues for future enhancements—the methodology aimed to establish a dynamic framework accommodating the evolving landscape of SLD evaluation practices and insights.
LDA’s research highlights pivotal aspects of the evolution in identifying SLDs. These findings illuminate the shift toward a more inclusive, adaptable, and personalized approach to assessing and addressing learning challenges. This includes transforming SLD terminology globally in response to the growing importance of interdisciplinary teamwork and adopting innovative response-to-intervention (RTI) methods.
Summary of research findings
The Specific Learning Disabilities Evaluation Principles and Standards is a comprehensive guide aligned with well-established research and practices in SLD evaluation.
This research underscores the critical importance of incorporating qualitative and quantitative research methodologies while accounting for individuals' cultural and linguistic contexts. The outcomes of this research have the potential to significantly enhance the understanding and refinement of SLD evaluations, ultimately leading to more equitable and efficient interventions and support mechanisms for those grappling with specific learning disabilities.
The outlined principles and standards offer evaluators a structured framework for conducting thorough and valid assessments of individuals with suspected SLD. An integral aspect of this approach involves employing diverse assessment methods from various data sources.
Notably, the research advocates utilizing multiple assessment approaches, encompassing standardized tests, observations, interviews, and questionnaires. As a result of this multifaceted methodology, an individual's strengths, weaknesses, and distinct learning requirements can be comprehensively identified.
Further elevating the significance of this work is its emphasis on the need to incorporate an individual's cultural and linguistic background during SLD evaluations. This inclusion fosters culturally responsive assessment practices that consider the influence of one's cultural heritage and linguistic proficiency on one's learning and academic accomplishments.
The implications of these research findings extend to practitioners, policymakers, and researchers entrenched in the domain of SLD evaluation. This study provides important guidance to improve evaluations for people with learning disabilities, ensuring a fair and effective assessment process.
McHale-Small, M., Tridas, E., S., Cárdenas-Hagan, E., Allsopp, D.H., van Ingen Lauer, S., Scott, K.,& Elbeheri, G. (2023). Specific Learning Disabilities Principles and Standards. Learning Disabilities Association of America. ldaamerica.org
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). 2023 National Report Card. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/
For more than 20 years, PAR has taken part in a week-long campaign to raise funds for United Way Suncoast.
Last week was our 2023 fundraising drive; PAR staff spent the week learning more about the impact United Way has on the Tampa Bay community while taking part in team challenges and interdepartmental games. We are thrilled that we had 100% staff participation and exceeded our fundraising goal—raising $120,969 in staff contributions to benefit those in need.
In the Tampa area, United Way aims to break the cycle of generational poverty through initiatives targeted at education, literacy, financial education, disaster services, neighborhood programs, and strategic community partnerships.
We were fortunate to have leaders of our local United Way as well as representatives from partner agencies visit our offices this week to share the impact our donations have had on our community.
Want to learn more about how you can help United Way where you live? Visit unitedway.org.
One of PAR’s core values is to give back to our community. Learn more about some of the ways we do that throughout the year.
Suicide is a major mental health concern that devastates lives and causes unimaginable pain. Its impact devastates individuals, families, and communities. Suicide rates have been rising globally, yet it is a complex and multifaceted issue. Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, honored each September, holds significant importance in bringing attention to this public health concern.
The current state of suicide
According to the World Health Organization, more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year, making it the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 29 years old. According to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a 37% increase in suicide rates over the past two decades in the United States. And certain populations are at a higher risk—according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the annual prevalence of serious thoughts of suicide are evident in 45% of LGBTQ youth. Individuals in the LGBTQ community, as well as veterans and members of Indigenous communities face unique challenges that contribute to their increased vulnerability to suicide.
Some key facts on suicide from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) include:
The importance of suicide prevention awareness
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month plays a vital role in challenging the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health. By fostering open conversations and promoting awareness, mental health professionals can create a supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help. Awareness initiatives also aim to educate the public to more easily recognize warning signs and encourage intervention.
Promoting awareness and involvement
In the realm of mental and public health, suicide stands as a formidable adversary that demands our immediate attention. Suicide is a topic that many people do not feel comfortable addressing, even if they sense someone may be struggling. Here are five ways you can promote awareness and engage in honest and public conversations about suicide:
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of addressing suicide as a public health issue. It is essential to raise awareness, promote understanding, and facilitate early intervention. By collaborating with communities, schools, and other organizations, we can collectively work toward reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and providing support to those in need.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The Jason Foundation
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Hotline
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
One of PAR’s core values is to give back to the community. Throughout the year, our staff members volunteer their time to benefit many charitable organizations in the Tampa Bay area. Here’s a look at some of the activities and events PAR staff have participated in recently.
PAR staff partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay to support their Mega-Pantry program in both April and July. The Mega-Pantry distributes fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, dry goods, and more in a drive-through-style event to those in our community who are experiencing food insecurity. This program is held several times per week in various locations around Tampa. PAR staff members spend an afternoon sorting food, directing traffic, and loading hundreds of cars with enough food to feed each family for a week.
PAR staff continued our yearly tradition of participating in United Way’s Week of Caring. PAR volunteers donated their entire day to helping a local family’s housing dreams come true as they helped Habitat for Humanity to build a home in one of its new neighborhoods in the Tampa area.
Throughout the spring, volunteers from PAR gathered donations to benefit mandatory reporter training through Mary Lee’s House. Mary Lee’s House is Hillsborough County’s first and only Child Advocacy and Protection Center. Mandatory reporter training is an important way that Mary Lee's House helps advocate to prevent child abuse. The donations provided during the training are meant to be small tokens of appreciation for the critical role mandatory reporters play in keeping our community's children safe.
PAR staff participated in the Camp Circle of Love send-off event for Lifepath Hospice in mid-April. Each of the children and teens being sent to camp have lost a loved one. The 70 campers returned on Sunday after a weekend filled with laughter, games, and new friendships.
In June, PAR employees and their families raised money for the American Heart Association (AHA) during our annual Bowling for Hearts event. The AHA focuses on helping people lead healthier lives and addressing the risks of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The AHA is the nation’s leader in providing lifesaving CPR education and funds research in a variety of areas focused on cardiovascular health. PAR was proud to raise funds again this year for the AHA.
We are so grateful to be able to give back to our community with our time, energy, and resources. To learn more about what we are doing to make a difference in the Tampa Bay area, visit our Community PARtners page.
When staff members at PAR are developing a new test, several rounds of data are collected in order to be sure that the test is measuring what it has intended to measure and that it represents the appropriate populations accurately. Data collection occurs all across the U.S. to help us gather that information. Multiple stages of data collection are crucial to test development. Learn more about the different stages of data collection and what is entailed in each step.
The pilot stage of data collection is when preliminary data is gathered on a proposed measure with a small sample. The goal of pilot data collection is often to make decisions about item selection, and to determine any aspects of the test that may need alteration prior to standardization. Data collectors provide valuable feedback to PAR staff during this stage regarding the administration of the test and ways it can be improved.
Standardization involves gathering data using the proposed measure with a larger, representative sample to create norms used by clinicians to score and interpret results upon the test’s publication. PAR uses Census-based norming to ensure our samples are proportionally representative of the demographics of the United States. Each examinee is evaluated for age/grade, sex, race/ethnic group, and participant’s or parent’s educational attainment in addition to their responses to the assessment. PAR’s data collection staff monitor the data closely to ensure each geographic region of the United States is represented. The standardization stage of a project provides additional data collection opportunities to gather reliability data through interrater and test–retest cases, as well as validity data using concurrent measures.
Specific clinical groups may be recruited to serve as clinical comparison samples in data collection.. These clinical cases may require additional documentation from the data collector. The clinical populations recruited vary depending on the construct the test intends to measure.
Interested in becoming a data collector for an upcoming project? Have access to a specific clinical group that needs more research? Learn more about how you can PARtner with PAR.
Want to learn more about data collection and standardization? PAR staff members recently addressed this topic on The Testing Psychologist podcast. Tune in here.
Ever wonder how PAR gets the information needed to standardize our tests? We rely on data collectors all across the U.S. to help us gather that information. Data collectors are crucial to test development because they help us find the clinical, standardization, and reliability samples needed to create our assessment products. If you have an interest in contributing to the field in a meaningful way, you might be just the person to help us create our next instrument!
Who can be a data collector?
Most of our data collectors are clinical psychologists, school psychologists, psychometrists, speech and language pathologists, and other clinicians. PAR follows the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Guidelines for Psychological Assessment and Evaluation, a system of qualification levels that guides decision-making about who can purchase, administer, and interpret tests (APA, 2020). Anyone administering assessments must be well trained in standardized administration protocols, ethics, and demonstrate competency in practice. For data collection, requirements differ by test. Most projects require a PAR qualification level of B or C.
What is involved in data collection?
Data collectors are responsible for finding participants and are compensated on a per-case basis that varies by project. PAR does not pay participants directly, although we can provide gift cards for your participants at your request, deducted from the total amount per case. For most projects, there is no minimum number of reservations required. However, we do set a maximum number of cases that can be accepted from any one examiner/site so that we can ensure geographic diversity in our samples.
Data collectors submit required demographic information for the participants they intend to test. It is necessary for data collectors to provide accurate demographic information. PAR uses Census-based norming, and we must ensure all demographic groups are appropriately represented. The data collection team at PAR will make a reservation for each participant based on demographics provided. Once a reservation has been made, materials will be provided to data collectors to begin testing.
Each project is slightly different, ranging from completing rating scales online to administering performance-based tests in person. The general process involves obtaining informed consent from the participant, administering the test, and submitting the data and materials to PAR.
Do data collectors receive compensation?
Yes, they do! We are incredibly grateful for our data collectors and try to demonstrate this via prompt payment. PAR offers data collectors an option for either cash payments or credit toward PAR products and have provisions for compensating examinees.
How do I get involved?
It’s easy! Simply visit our Partner with PAR page and follow the directions listed under, “How do I become a data collector for PAR?”
The changing landscape of workplaces has drawn heightened attention to the needs and expectations of employees nationwide regarding the issues of work–life balance and mental health support.
The recent survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) sheds light on the prevalence of toxic workplaces and their detrimental impact on mental health. Of the data coming out of this survey, most startling was the revelation that 19% of workers reported their workplace as somewhat or very toxic. Even more alarming, those in such environments are three times more likely to suffer mental health harm at work than those individuals who are in nontoxic settings.
This blog discusses the importance of these findings, what employers can do in light of this data, and the role mental health providers can play in supporting individuals facing toxic work situations.
Understanding the impact of a toxic work environment
The APA survey brought to light the destructive toll a workplace can have on an individual’s mental well-being.
According to the survey, more than one in five workers revealed they've suffered mental health harm at work. Even worse, reported cases of harassment have jumped from 14% in 2022 to 22% in 2023. More than two-thirds of employees report experiencing workplace stress in the last month, with 57% reporting negative impacts that are associated with burnout.
Other notable findings from the survey include:
No matter the field, it is clear that employers need customized strategies to combat toxicity in various work environments.
Proactive steps for employers
To foster a supportive and mentally healthy work environment, employers can take several proactive measures to combat toxicity and promote mental health:
The role of mental health providers
For mental health providers, it's essential to address the challenges faced by individuals who are working in toxic environments. Some notable numbers from the survey: individuals who reported a toxic workplace were more than twice as likely to report that their overall mental health was fair or poor than those who did not report a toxic workplace (58% versus 21%). Of those who reported working in a toxic environment, 76% also conveyed that their work environment has a negative impact on their mental health.
Here are some strategies you can use with individuals who are experiencing workplace stress that impacts their mental health:
The results of the APA survey underscore how widespread the problem of workplace stress has become and emphasize what a toll a toxic workplace takes on mental health. Although workplaces tend to be one of the greatest areas of stress, they can also drive change by emphasizing the importance of self-care and wellbeing. Those involved in the mental health field can provide support to individuals who are experiencing workplace stress but also need to be cognizant of their own workplaces, as well. It's time to shape healthier work environments that empower everyone to thrive.
Need help hiring and developing your team? Let InVista help!
American Psychological Association. (May 2023). 2023 Work in America Survey.
U.S. Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health & Well-Being. (2022).
The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, Second Edition (RIAS-2), assesses intelligence and its major components. In addition to providing a full-scale IQ battery for less time and less cost than similar measures, the RIAS-2 is ideal for use as a stand-alone intellectual assessment or as part of a larger battery to diagnose specific disorders, such as intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities. The RIAS-2 can also be used to determine educational placement for gifted students.
RIAS-2 Score Report now available!
The RIAS-2 Score Report is now available as a standalone report via PARiConnect. The score report provides raw scores and T scores for the subtest and index scores, as well as confidence intervals, percentile ranks, and subtest and index profiles. View an example of the new RIAS-2 Score Report.
Client Feedback now included with the Interpretive Report!
In addition to what is included in the RIAS-2 Score Report, the RIAS-2 Interpretive Report offers composite norm-referenced interpretations, subtest interpretations, a discrepancy score summary table, discrepancy interpretations, feedback and recommendations based on composite scores and discrepancy information, as well as recommendations for additional testing. The Client Feedback Report is now automatically included when you run the Interpretive Report. View an example of the RIAS-2 Interpretive Report.
Already had interpretive reports in your PARiConnect account? Your inventory has been updated to include the addition of the feedback report.
Choose the report that suits your needs
With this update to the RIAS-2 product offerings, you can more easily choose the report that best suits your clinical needs and your budget.
Why the RIAS-2?
The RIAS-2 helps you complete more evaluations in less time. School and clinical psychologists seeking to measure intelligence can also rely on the RIAS-2 for:
Learn more about the RIAS-2
PARiConnect, our online assessment platform, can help you expand your reach when doing research!
Expand your geographic reach
By using PARiConnect, our digital assessment platform, you can email HIPAA compliant links directly to research participants. This enables you to complete research assessments online, expanding your geographic reach to areas you may not be able to use otherwise. This also allows you easier access to observer and collateral research data without requiring additional individuals to make the trip to your data collection site.
Reduce unused assessment costs
If you email an assessment link to a participant who decides not to complete it, PARiConnect allows you to easily revoke the link and reuse that assessment with another participant. You won’t have to pay for an unused assessment like you might with a paper form, saving you money typically lost on unused assessments.
Improve data integrity
When participants enter their own data, it reduces the time needed for data entry and reduces the possibility of data entry errors. PARiConnect offers settings to prevent skipping questions, so you can reduce the risk of missing data. Furthermore, you can review completion time to be sure your participants put forth appropriate effort. This can reduce the amount of time and energy needed to enter and check data, freeing up your financial and physical resources for other tasks.
Integrate efficiently with your work
The PARiConnect system allows you to download item-level assessment data to a CSV excel spreadsheet that is formatted to integrate with statistics software such as SPSS for ease of data processing and analyzation.
Let PARiConnect help you increase your geographic reach, expand your subject numbers, reduce attrition, lower assessment and travel costs, and decrease the burden of data collection.
Learn more about PARiConnect today!
Need assistance selecting assessments for your research? Learn more about all the ways PAR can help! Check out this video on using PAR assessments in research settings.
Learn more about PAR’s training and research discounts!
Did you know PAR offers training and research discounts to qualified customers? As we look toward the upcoming school year, we want to remind professors and educators about some of the programs we offer when you use PAR-published products in your courses and research studies.
Educational Training Discount
This 40% discount is offered for professors and educators engaged in training in college and university courses that are using PAR products. These courses should be for graduate students who are learning to use assessment products. Instructors must apply for the discount each year using this form.
University Partnership Program (UPP)
As an extension of our Educational Training Discount program, we offer additional benefits to our professors who join our UPP program. UPP members can look to PAR for dedicated assistance to help you decide which tests fit best into your syllabus. In addition to concierge service, UPP members are offered benefits such as free test kits when adopting a new PAR product in your training course and free uses of PARiConnect for students. Instructors interested in joining the PAR UPP program can complete the Educational Training Discount Form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about additional benefits.
Clinical Training Discount
This 20% discount is reserved for organizations involved in internships, clinical practicum, and post-doctoral programs, usually involving training outside of the university setting. The trainer must submit a form as well as a formal letter on letterhead providing information about their program and the number of students enrolled yearly.
Graduate Student Research Discount
This 40% discount is designed for graduate students using PAR products in their master’s thesis or dissertation research. Students would need to send in their completed form with their supervisor’s signature. The student or the university can pay for the materials, but the form must accompany the order.
Research Support Discount
This program is available to professors and researchers who use PAR products in their research studies. This 40% discount is available on PAR proprietary products and applies to both digital and print products. Contact Customer Support to inquire about the application guidelines. Questions about what program works best for you? Send an email to email@example.com and we can help you find the right program for your needs!
Questions about which program works best for you? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.