PRE-KINDERGARTEN SCREENING AND SUBSEQUENT REFERRAL AND PLACEMENT INTO SPECIAL EDUCATION

SAUL PHILIP KIRSCHENBAUM, Fordham University

Abstract

Early identification of children with potential learning problems coupled with appropriate enriching and remedial programs has been advocated to prevent serious learning problems in school and secondary emotional problems found in children experiencing years of academic failure and frustration. Since intellectual growth is most rapid during preschool years, stimulating experiences during this period can have the greatest impact upon the child's development. Screening instruments are an effective tool in identifying children who lack the skills that are prerequisite for success in school. Those that have consistently revealed positive correlations with reading and school success are communication skills or language development, understanding of basic concepts, adequate attention span, and satisfactory fine and visual motor coordination. The Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL) is a screening instrument tapping many of these skills. Once identified by DIAL the child receives an in-depth evaluation to determine eligibility for special educational services.^ The DIAL was administered to 1530 children prior to entrance into kindergarten. DIAL correctly predicted educational placement and need for special education several years later for 90% of the total sample. Accuracy of prediction, however, was erroneously high and differed markedly depending upon the decision category into which the subject was placed by DIAL. Correct educational predictions were noted for 91% of the subjects judged OK by DIAL, 81% of the subjects considered re-DIAL to be re-screened, and 54% of those judged in need of follow-up. In addition, DIAL referred approximately 5% of the sample for evaluation, parent and teachers referred 13%. Since 11% required some degree of special educational services, DIAL fell quite short in the number of children who should have been referred for evaluation. While it was noted that only 54% of those referred by DIAL actually required special education, its overall percentage of correct educational predictions (90%) fared better than current research. Significant differences were also noted between special and nonspecial education students for all four subtests (gross motor, fine motor, concepts, and communication). Suggestions were made for increasing accuracy of prediction between performance on a screening instrument and subsequent educational placement. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Special education

Recommended Citation

KIRSCHENBAUM, SAUL PHILIP, "PRE-KINDERGARTEN SCREENING AND SUBSEQUENT REFERRAL AND PLACEMENT INTO SPECIAL EDUCATION" (1987). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8725678.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8725678

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