Council for Exceptional Children, Volume 77, #1, Fall 2010, pages 37-59, “The Predictive Utility of Kindergarten Screening for Math Difficulty”, Seethaler/Fuchs.
This study examined the reliability, validity & predictive utility of kindergarten screening for risk for math difficulty. Three screening measures (administered in September & May) assessed number sense & computational fluency. MD was determined if the student tested below the 16th% at the end of first grade.
Prior to 2004 IDEA, IQ-achievement discrepancy was the major approach for identifying learning disability. This is problematic for children in kindergarten & first grade. RTI provides a major alternative approach to these youngsters. The earlier risk for disability is identified the sooner efforts can begin to prevent or minimize the effects of that disability. Unfortunately a set of skills that represent a strong predictor of future math disability has yet to be identified. Waiting to assess math outcome, until students complete 1st grade allows students who have had less preschool exposure to number concepts to “catch-up” to peers via formal classroom instruction. This study proposed that testing for MD in kindergarten yielded too many false positives. The results noted that there was no difference in prediction if screening occurred in the fall or spring of kindergarten. It was noted therefore that intervention could begin earlier if testing occurred in the fall of kindergarten. Again, due to the large number of false positives resulting from testing in kindergarten, it is recommended that multiple-screening procedures by utilized. Timed testing is not recommended as it can be a stressor or distractor for the kindergarten student.
In conclusion, false positives can result from kindergarten testing but the benefit is early intervention can be provided! To decrease the number of false positives do not include timed testing & utilize multiple screening procedures.