Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purposes of this study were to examine the characteristics that contribute to the placement of children in the learning disabilities category and to contribute to the development of a manual that can be used as a criterion for learning disabilities placement. To accomplish the purposes, graduate students examined five hypothetical case histories which contained fourteen student characteristics. However, five of the fourteen student characteristics were selected for data analysis. The five student characteristics were: Classroom Achievement, Intellectual Functioning, Perceptual-Motor Skills, Achievement Test Scores, and Classroom Grades. Subjects were divided into two groups: the experimental group which examined hypothetical case histories and discussed each as a group before making individual diagnostic decisions and the control group which also examined hypothetical case histories but did not participate in a group discussion before responding to the hypothetical case histories;Subjects of this study were 31 graduate students enrolled at Iowa State University during the spring semester of 1986. They were either enrolled in the graduate degree program in School Psychology, Counseling Psychology, or Education (Learning Disabilities or Emotional Disabilities). The students were randomly assigned to one of two groups, to which a treatment was then randomly assigned;Overall, judges were similar in how they responded to the recommended placement, ratings of severity of learning disability, and ratings of importance of student characteristics for the five hypothetical case histories. The findings from this study also suggested that judges were similar in how they made diagnostic decisions about the learning disabled regardless if they participated in group discussion or made individual decisions.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Altamese Pelzer



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131 pages