Cognitive and mathematical profiles for different forms of learning difficulties



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Journal of Learning Disabilities


The purpose of this study was to compare subgroups of students with various forms of learning difficulties (< 25th percentile) on cognitive and mathematics characteristics. Students with mathematics difficulty (MD, n = 105), reading difficulty (RD, n = 65), both (MDRD, n = 87), or neither (NoLD, n = 403) were evaluated on an array of cognitive measures (e.g., working memory and language) and on mathematics measures of foundational numerical competencies, computation, and problem solving. Results revealed expected level differences among groups in both domains: NoLD outperformed RD, and MD outperformed MDRD. Profile differences were noted among pairs of subgroups on cognitive measures. On mathematics measures, profile differences were noted between RD and other subgroups, but not between MD and MDRD subgroups. The most discriminating cognitive measures were processing speed and language; the most discriminating mathematics measures depended on the subgroups being compared. Results were further evaluated according to more severe (< 10th percentile) criteria for MD and RD, which generally affected level differences more than the profile patterns. Results have implications for understanding comorbid MD and RD and for conceptualizing core deficits in MD.



Mathematics, Reading, Comorbidity


Copyright 2015 Journal of Learning Disabilities. This is a post-print version of a published paper that is available at: Recommended citation: Cirino, Paul T., Lynn S. Fuchs, John T. Elias, Sarah R. Powell, and Robin F. Schumacher. "Cognitive and Mathematical Profiles for Different Forms of Learning Difficulties." Journal of Learning Disabilities 48, no. 2 (2015): 156-175. doi: 10.1177/0022219413494239. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author's permission.