Mathematics Learning Disorder Workup

Updated: Dec 12, 2016
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Workup

Approach Considerations

Importance of obtaining a birth history cannot be neglected especially due to the high association of low birth weight, especially from maternal cigarette (nicotine) smokine, and mathematics learning disability. [8]

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Procedures

Mathematics assessments play a valuable role in identifying students' strengths and weaknesses and in developing and monitoring instructional practices. The following assessment strategies are the most popular in use today.

  • The term portfolio refers to collections of students' work that exhibit their efforts, progress, and achievements in single or multiple subjects. In mathematics assessment, a portfolio can be a useful tool to monitor student learning and the effectiveness of instructional programs. In assembling a portfolio, ensure that content a valid representation of curricular goals, content is collected within a time frame, and content represents various situations. Documented analysis of the student's portfolio that incorporates the following points can be used to monitor student progress on a regular basis:

    • Answer correct or incorrect

    • Computational skills demonstrated or lacking

    • Reading errors that may have contributed to the incorrect solution

    • Syntactical errors made

    • Strategy used to solve problem

    • Visual aids (eg, pictures, graphs) used

  • Criterion-referenced test results demonstrate student knowledge of specific content that is unrelated to peer performance. These tests present a sufficient number of items to measure various aspects of mathematics skills. The tests are conducted within a specified time period (usually 1.5 times that of an average child's performance time) to identify specific skill deficiencies.

  • Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) is a validated version of curriculum-based assessment. CBM involves ongoing measurement of a student's actual performance in comparison to the school curriculum's planned outcomes. Because CBM uses the school's curriculum as a basis for comparison, CBM provides great help to teachers on a daily basis by evaluating each student's learning rates, by determining what instruction is needed, and by ascertaining the effectiveness of interventions with individual students.

    • Calculation error analysis, using structured interviews and checklists, rating scales, or both, is an efficient way to identify a student's calculation strategies. Checklists and rating scales can be used to note strategies used during the interview or strategies observed while the student performs a calculation. Checklists can be dichotomous (yes/no) responses or can use Likert scale (ie, sliding scales ranging from never to always). One approach is for the interviewer to give a student a problem and then ask the student to "think out loud" while working on the solution.

    • Observations provide valuable data, which should be combined with data accumulated via other strategies to assess the overall effectiveness of instructional efforts. Within the instructional context, teachers continually make informal judgments about student progress.

  • Gathering information about a student's motivation and confidence level during an instructional activity sometimes proves helpful. Students may respond to a brief survey of questions about their confidence level and any difficulties they encounter.

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