Document Type



Doctor of Education (EdD)


Special Education

First Advisor's Name

Stephen S. Strichart

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Philip Lazarus

Third Advisor's Name

Barry Greenberg

Date of Defense



This study developed and validated a preschool screening instrument designed to identify children, enrolled in the Dade County Head Start program, who would be found eligible for placement in a language impaired or educable mentally handicapped program in the Dade County Public Schools (DCPS) system. Previously used commercial screening instruments were demonstrated to have unsatisfactory predictive validity. The new screening instrument was developed by utilizing already existing test items from a developmental skills assessment instrument, the Learning Accomplishment Profile-Diagnostic. These items were selected on the basis of their sensitivity and specificity hit rate scores. The reliability of the new screening instrument was established by using the test-retest and interrater methods. Predictive validity was established by using a double sample technique of 600 Head Start children for each sample and the classification or hit rate method following a comprehensive evaluation process. The new screening instrument was found to be a more accurate predictor of the need for exceptional student education services than the commercial screening instruments. The results showed that predictions could be made with confidence when a preschool screening instrument is developed which clearly defines; a) the population to be screened; b) the population to be identified; c) the criteria to determine who will be referred for comprehensive assessment; and, d) the criteria for determining who is eligible for intervention services.




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