Stanovich (1999) wants to eliminate the aptitude-achievement discrepancy from the LD definition and, in the process, to sack the IQ test altogether: "LD advocacy will always be open to charges of 'queue jumping' as long as the field refuses to rid itself of its IQ fetishism, refuses to jettison aptitude achievement discrepancy, and fails to free clinical practice from the pseudosci-entific neurology that plagued the field in the 1970s" (p. 359). Siegel (1999), in agreement with Stanovich's goals, unequivocally states: "Scores on IQ tests are irrelevant and not useful and may even be discriminatory" (p. 304).
Vellutino et al. (2000) concede that, "there may be something important about a child's IQ, particularly with respect to how it interacts with that child's emotional and behavioral response to failure" (p. 236). They state further that, "because of the widespread belief that IQ and reading ability are related, it might well be the case that more resources would be brought to bear to support the reading development of a child who scored high on an intelligence test as compared with a child who scored in the average or low average range on the test" (p. 236). In other words, they don't think too much of IQ tests, but they may have indirect value either clinically or because of people's mis-perceptions about its importance.
The reasons for eliminating IQ tests and simultaneously eliminating the IQ-achievement discrepancy from the LD definition stem primarily from the results of research studies that show that IQ is unrelated to reading ability or remedial progress, from arguments that the aptitude-achievement discrepancy is unnecessary for diagnosing LD, from insistence that there are no conceptual or practical differences among poor readers with high versus low IQs, and from a deep-seated belief that IQ tests are hopelessly flawed. These and related arguments in support of all of these points are expanded on by Siegel
(1999), Stanovich (1999), and Vellutino et al.
(2000), and, especially, in the recent book by Stanovich (2000).
Stanovich's (1986) Matthew Effects, or "reciprocal causation effects involving reading and other cognitive skills" (Stanovich, 2000, p. 356), are seen by Siegel as dooming the value of IQ tests and of the aptitude-achievement discrepancy: "[T]he validity of using a discrepancy-based criterion [is undermined] because children who read more gain the cognitive skills and information relevant to the IQ test and consequently attain higher IQ scores. Children with reading problems read less and, therefore, fail to gain the skills and information necessary for higher scores on IQ tests" (Siegel, 1999, p. 312).
Siegel (1999) also finds many other flaws with IQ tests, for example: (1) "A person with a slow, deliberate style would not achieve as high a score as an individual who responded more quickly" (p. 311); and (2) "IQ tests consist of measures of factual knowledge, definitions of words, memory, fine motor coordination, and fluency of expressive language; they do not measure reasoning or problem-solving skills" (p. 311). Similarly, she makes claims about IQ tests that defy both logic and the results of a plethora of research studies: "One assumption behind the use of IQ tests is that the scores predict and set limits on academic performance, so that if a person has a low IQ score, we should not expect much from him or her in the way of academic skills" (Siegel, 1999, p. 311).
Siegel (1999) cites many references to document that "there are no differences between individuals with dyslexia and poor readers on measures of the processes most directly related to reading" (p. 312). Vellutino et al. (2000) add: "In independent studies..., it was found that poor readers who manifested no significant IQ-achievement discrepancy performed no differently on independent measures of reading achievement than poor readers who did manifest such discrepancies. More important is the finding in both studies that these two groups also performed no differently on tests of the cognitive abilities believed to underlie one's ability to learn to read" (p. 225). And the results of Vellutino et al.'s (2000) remediation study indicated that "the IQ-achievement discrepancy does not reliably distinguish between disabled and nondisabled readers Neither does it distinguish between children who were found to be difficult to remediate and those who were readily remediated, prior to initiation of remediation, and it does not predict response to remediation" (p. 235).
The conclusion apparently reached by the opponents of IQ and the aptitude-achievement discrepancy for LD assessment is to advocate a diagnostic approach that does not attempt to distinguish between LD and low achievement, but instead lumps all low-achieving students into a single package, without concern for the presence of neuropsychological intactness in unaffected domains. For example, Siegel (1999) discusses identification of specific learning disabilities in terms of what specific cutoff to use on achievement tests, with no need at all to weigh the individual's cognitive profile. Kaufman and Kaufman (2001b) note about Siegel:
She discusses the merits of identifying as SLD all students who score below the 25th percentile, but notes that the 20th or 15th percentiles might also be acceptable cut-off criteria. She acknowledges that there are some exclusionary criteria, namely "ruling out" inadequate education, sensory deficits, serious neurological disorders, and social/emotional difficulties as causes of low academic achievement. Yet, though she perceives these exclusionary criteria as "reasonable"..., she is not convinced that they are necessary. She endorses a deficit model that has no room for systematic evaluation of exclusionary criteria or for the need to demonstrate the student's neu-ropsychological, cognitive, or academic intactness. (p. 436)
Stanovich (1999) likewise would use achievement tests to diagnose reading disability, most notably measures of word attack (pseudo-word reading) and word recognition. He states: "Intelligence would play no part in the diagnosis [T]he 25th-percentile criterion discussed in Sie-gel's commentary. . . would likely be too liberal. I would probably opt for a more stringent criterion such as the 15 th percentile, or even the 10th, on at least one of the tests" (p. 351).
Nicholson (1996) summarizes Stanovich's key role in seeking to destroy the concept of dyslexia: "Stanovich reasons that that poor phonological skills result in poor reading regardless of IQ, and therefore IQ is irrelevant to the definition of reading disability (Stanovich, 1991), and then fi nally that dyslexia may not exist as a separate syndrome (Stanovich, 1994)" (p. 195).
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