An investigation of CHC cognitive patterns among school students in grades five through nine with learning disabilities




Pace, Erin Marie McClain

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Texas Woman's University


Interest in students who exhibit characteristics with difficulties in learning can be traced as far back as 1800. In order to better understand the complexities and causes of learning disabilities, many researchers (Bannatyne, 1968, 1974; Rugal, 1974) have investigated ways to better identify learners who struggle with academics. A strong argument could be made for delving deeper into the student's indicators of cognitive weaknesses, focusing primarily on whether or not he/she exhibits a pattern of strengths and weaknesses, in order to better understand learning disabilities. This study investigated the possibility of patterns within CHC cognitive abilities (Gc: Comprehension Knowledge, Glr: Long Term Memory, Gs: Processing Speed, Gf: Fluid Reasoning, Gsm: Short Term Memory, Gv: Visual Spatial Thinking, Ga: Auditory Processing), for students who have been initially assessed for the 2008–2010 school years. Data from 57 participants in grades five through nine were used. Unlike previous studies, actual participants' data was used verses normative data, and composite scores were used verses individual subtest scores.

When patterns existed, the differences in patterns for the academic areas that the student initially qualified as learning disabled were examined using the seven areas of eligibility (Basic Reading, Reading Comprehension, Reading Fluency, Math Calculations, Math Reasoning, Written Expression, Oral Expression, and Listening Comprehension). Patterns were found and statistical significance of the findings was also found. The overall mean cognitive pattern (from highest to lowest) was Ga > Gv > Gsm > Gf > Gs > Gc > Glr. Although not all fell in the same order, when broken down by achievement area, Glr and Gc remained within the bottom 3 for determining a pattern. For Reading Comprehension and Basic Reading, a significant correlation was found with Gc. There was not a significant correlation found for Reading Fluency. Math Reasoning showed a significant correlation to Gf. Math Calculations had a significant positive correlation to Gs and a significant negative correlation to Gc. Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression showed a significant correlation to Gc. A significant difference was not found when investigating the difference in gender, however a significant difference was found between grades 5 and 8. This study supports the need for further studies using participant data. Further studies may aid in addressing weaknesses before an initial referral is made.



Educational psychology, Special education, Cognitive processing, Learning disabilities