Criteria for Outside Evaluations

The Georgia Board of Regents established criteria for evaluating learning disabilities to assure that all institutions of the University System of Georgia employ the same definition and evaluation model. The following is a simplified version of the criteria for use by system institutions and professionals conducting private evaluations who request the criteria.

Criteria for Evaluations Documenting Learning Disabilities
Documentation should include the following:

  • Data collected within the past three years at the time of request for services or after the age of 18 so long as the documentation continues to represent current functioning.
  • Clear and specific identification of a learning disability.
  • Developmental and educational history consistent with a learning disability.
  • Standardized measures of academic achievement, cognitive/linguistic processing, and/or intellectual functioning that have normative data representing the general population. All standardized measures must be represented by standard scores and percentile ranks based on published age-based norms.
  • One or more cognitive/linguistic processing deficits that is associated in a meaningful way with the identified area(s) of academic limitation. Cognitive/linguistic processes commonly associated with academic achievement (selection dependent upon case) include the following:
    • Fluency and Automaticity
    • Executive functioning
    • Memory and Learning
    • Oral Language
    • Phonological Processing
    • Orthographic Processing
    • Visual-Motor
    • Visual-Perceptual and Visual-Spatial
  • Evidence that substantially limited areas of achievement fall significantly below higher-level cognitive and/or linguistic abilities (e.g., broad intellectual functioning, reasoning, vocabulary, crystallized knowledge) must be included.
  • Objective (quantitative and qualitative) evidence that symptoms are associated with significant functional impairment in the academic setting. In the case of Learning Disabilities, documentation must include evidence of substantial limitation(s) in one or more of the following areas of academic achievement:
    • Reading (decoding, fluency, and/or comprehension)
    • Mathematics (calculations, math fluency, and/or applied reasoning)
    • Written Language (spelling, fluency, and/or written expression)
  • Academic impairments, processing deficits and evidence of intact functioning in other domains (e.g., higher-level cognitive functioning), should be evident on multiple measures.
  • Alternative explanations for the academic and cognitive and linguistic limitation(s) have been considered and ruled out (e.g., low cognitive ability, other mental or neurological disorders, lack of adequate education, visual or auditory dysfunction, emotional factors such as anxiety or depression, cultural/language differences, poor motivation, symptom exaggeration).