The inclusion of processing components in definitions and assessment procedures for learning disabilities (LD) has waxed and waned since the 1960s, but interest has grown recently as dissatisfaction with the discrepancy model has increased. This article discusses the use of the processing component for LD definitions by examining its theoretical basis, large-scale consistent implementation, and researched classroom effectiveness. Results suggest that not unlike the discrepancy model, the processing definition of LD does not differentiate students with LD from low achievers, is inconsistently implemented, and does not offer enough research to conclusively support its instructional validity. The potential impact of these findings on assessment and suggestions for future directions are also discussed.
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