always part of an LD evaluation if the referral involves reading concerns. The intellectual ability/achievement discrepancy, in current practice, is the most fundamental part of the LD eligibility determination in most states, virtually necessitating the administration of individual IQ and achievement tests.
Determination of eligibility in the category of MR is similar to that for the LD category in that tests of current intellectual functioning and achievement are nearly always involved. The MR diagnostic construct, as noted earlier, involves the dimensions of current intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior. Intellectual functioning is almost always assessed through the administration of individual IQ tests. The adaptive behavior domain, when it can be assessed formally, typically involves the results of one or more inventories in which the teacher, parent, or both serve as reporters on the child’s adaptive functioning. A general achievement test is almost always used with MR, as are other measures such as teacher- or parent-completed rating scales or checklists. However, the fundamental feature of MR eligibility determination is the IQ score, with confirming or supportive evidence from formal and informal measures of adaptive behavior.
The assessment procedures for ED have the same general characteristics as those for MR and LD. An individually administered IQ test and one or more standardized achievement tests almost always are included in the evaluation for ED eligibility. In addition, the ED evaluation should, and sometimes does, emphasize measures of behaviors across different social contexts, as well as assessment of social skills—including peer relations and interactions with significant adults. Formal rating scales that focus on key behavioral dimensions, such as aggression, attention, hyperactivity, and depression, are nearly always used along with direct observations in relevant settings and interviews with the student, the teacher, and the parents.
Depending on the region, students considered for the category of ED may or may not receive projective instruments, such as Rorschach, human figure drawings, and incomplete sentence techniques. Use of highly subjective projective approaches with dubious technical characteristics is more common in the states on the East and West coasts of the United States (Hosp and Reschly, 2002a). Although IQ and achievement tests are typically used with an ED assessment, the fundamental eligibility determination rests typically on reviews of behavioral incidents, social skills measures, and behavior/personality ratings completed by various respondents, who may include teachers, parents, and the student.
Because eligibility to receive services as a gifted or talented student is not regulated by federal statutes, the process is usually guided by state-level