Term of Art: Aptitude

“An individual’s ability to learn, without reference to specific instruction or prior knowledge. Aptitude is most often measured by standardized tests (for example the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children [WISC]) or cognitive batteries of tests that also include achievement components (such as the Woodcock-Johnson). Other important aptitude tests include the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the American College Test, each of which plays a prominent role in college admissions.

Determining whether someone has a learning disability is generally based on a discrepancy between achievement and aptitude, as measured by standardized tests. Consequently, tests of aptitude such as the WISC and the Woodcock-Johnson play a central role in determining who is eligible to receive special education services.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

2 responses to “Term of Art: Aptitude

  1. I am retired now, but I think the discrepancy model was dismissed in Illinois about ten years ago or so. Here, they will allow that a learner is in need of special ed services if their achievement is at least two years below that of their peers. So, if you teach in a poorly resourced school district with economically disadvantaged students, two years behind can translate into a high school student who is reading at a 4-5 grade level since reading achievement is generally below grade level. A psychologist with whom I worked told me the average IQ for the area was below average to start, so test scores in general did not necessarily legally identify many students who should have been receiving help.

    Liked by 1 person

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