Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Educational Leadership PhD

First Advisor

James A. Tucker

Second Advisor

Timothy E. Spruill

Third Advisor

Derrick L. Proctor

Abstract

Problem. The special education needs of home-school children have rarely been studied. This research utilizes the homeschool population of Southwest Michigan to investigate the incidence of learning disabilities (LD) within this group. At the same time, it is possible to investigate some of the criticisms of the learning disability field of study.

Method. Two hundred ninety-eight home-school children in southwest Michigan were assessed for LD using the Michigan State Board of Education definitional criteria. Achievement was assessed by use of the Wide Range Achievement Test, third revision. Ability was measured with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, third revision. A discrepancy of 18 standard score points was used to determine possible LD. Subjects were then examined for the presence of other factors that would explain the learning problems of subjects having a severe discrepancy between ability and achievement.

Results. Of the sample group, 3.7% were found to exhibit learning problems that could not be explained by other than a diagnosis of LD. A significant relationship was found between levels of teacher involvement and the presence of learning problems.

Conclusions. A lower prevalence of LD is found within the home-school population when compared with Board of Education figures of public school prevalence rates. However, this difference was not statistically significant. The concept of LD is problematic from the standpoint of definition and assessment and might better be conceived as Learning Difficulty Syndrome. Learning problems appear related to teacher involvement.

Subject Area

Home schooling--Michigan, Education--Parent participation, Teacher-student relationships, Learning disabilities--Evaluation.

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