HomeLearning DifficultiesLearning Disabilities & ADHDIdentifying a Learning Disability

Terms Used in Individual Standardized Tests

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By Joyce Destefanis, M.A.

Terms Used by General or Special Education Teachers

Mathematics: Number skills

    Math computation is the ability to manipulate numbers to add, subtract, multiply, and divide correctly.

Math reasoning, or math application, involves the ability to comprehend number, space, and time relationships. It includes understanding word problems in math, as well as the process required to solve them.

Phonemic Awareness: Ability to discriminate the distinct, individual sounds (phonemes) that make words

This is the ability to focus on and manipulate the sounds in spoken syllables without using letters. Poor phonemic awareness can make it difficult to process spoken language and lead to misunderstanding or misinterpretation of what has been said.

Phonics: Method of teaching the connection between letters and sounds by associating the symbols with sounds

The child must apply phonic rules when sounding out words and spelling them. For example, generally two vowels written together have a long vowel sound — "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking." So when the letters "ai" are seen together in a word, the "a" says its name — has the long vowel sound. Knowing this rule helps a child read words like "nail" and "main."

Reading Comprehension: Understanding the meaning of what is read in connected text

In order to gain meaning from reading, a child needs to understand new vocabulary, follow the progression of a story, and understand the information. A sign of comprehension is the ability to explain or paraphrase what was read.

Reading Recognition/Decoding: Ability to decipher words by using knowledge about letters, sounds, and how to pronounce similar, familiar words

To correctly sound out the word "dot", your child sees the word begins with the letter "d" and has the sound /d/, identifies "o" as a vowel with the short sound because it's the only vowel in the word, and recognizes the word ends with a "t" and makes the sound /t/. Then the child must blend the sounds in the right order to say the word "dot." For some words that don't follow rules of phonics — "the," "you," "said," "some," "very" — a child needs to rely on visual memory.

Written Language: Skills used to communicate with others through writing

    Handwriting includes being able to form letters correctly, maintain appropriate relationships between letter and lines, and space between words.

Grammar and word usage skills require applying rules of grammar, punctuation, and capitalization and being able to spell words correctly. Proper names and the beginning words of sentences begin with capitals, and sentences end with punctuation marks.

Written expression is the ability to get thoughts and ideas down on paper in an organized form, using good sentence and paragraph structure. It involves being able to identify main ideas and supporting details and to communicate that information in a clear, engaging way.