A- A A+

Types of Tests to Assess Learning Disabilities and Related Disorders

Testing for Learning Disabilities | Types of LD TestsThere is no single “test” or even universally accepted approach to identifying learning disabilities (LD). The characteristics of LD often differ from one child to another, and what LD looks like in children will sometimes manifest in very different ways in adolescents and adults. Features of LD can be “hidden” in some situations and very much apparent in others. The key to identifying LD is therefore to identify areas of strength and weakness, rule in (or rule out) any complicating factors that might be contributing to learning problems, and hone in on the very specific nature of the struggle, so that timely decisions can be made about carefully targeted intervention and support.

As you can imagine, there are hundreds of different screening tools and assessment measures available that assist general and special educators, psychologists, physicians, and others to capture and document the nature of a person’s struggle with learning. Every practitioner has his or her favorites, and it is not uncommon for only portions (sub-tests) of an instrument to be used. Some tests are designed and standardized (proven to be valid) for young children, while others have “norms” for teens and adults. Some tests allow for lots of flexibility in how they are given, and others require that the person administering the test adhere to precise wording when asking questions or keep to time limits when recording responses. 

The most important consideration when testing occurs is not to allow the tests to determine what is important, but rather to select tests that answer specific questions, explain the nature of a person’s struggle, and provide insight into the types of instruction and supports that help define the nature of the LD and ways to overcome and circumvent frustration and failure.

Types of Learning Disabilities (and Other Disorders) TestsHere are the names of some of the tests often used when:

Looking for Dyslexia

  • Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test
  • Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test
  • Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals
  • (Subtests of) Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery—III
  • (Subtests of) Wechsler Individual Achievement Test
  • Woodcock Reading Mastery Test
  • Gray Oral Reading Test
  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing
  • Test of Word Reading Efficiency
  • Rapid Automatized Naming Tasks
  • Peabody Individual Achievement Test
  • Test of Early Reading Ability

Find more detailed information on testing for dyslexia.

Looking for Dyscalculia

  • (Subtests of) Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery—III
  • Wide Range Achievement Test
  • Key Math Diagnostic Assessment
  • Test of Mathematical Abilities
  • (Subtests of) Wechsler Individual Achievement Test


Looking for Dysgraphia

  • Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Drawing
  • Berry Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration


Looking for ADHD

  • Connors Rating Scale
  • Vanderbilt Assessment Scales
  • Barklay ADD Rating Scales


Looking for Executive Functioning / Information Processing Deficits

  • (Subtests of) Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale- V
  • (Subtests of) Wechsler intelligence Scales for Children or Adults
  • Children’s Memory Scale
  • NEPSY Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment—II

For more information on how to get your child evaluated for learning disabilities, please visit our “Warning Signs & Evaluation” section or the article “ 10 Things You Need to Know About LD Evaluation.”

Tags: struggling