DPI Exceptional Children Division State Contacts:

Lynne Loeser
Statewide Consultant for Specific Learning Disabilities and ADHD

Lynn Makor
Consultant for School Psychology


April 1, 2017
updated December 2017

Initial guidance for the implementation of policy, effective July 1, 2020, for the evaluation and identification of students with Specific Learning Disabilities, has been added to the NCDPI MTSS livebinder. The direct link to the SLD guidance within the livebinder is located here. The complete NC MTSS livebinder may be accessed here.



Memo: Intent to Implement

August 30, 2016William Hussey, Director of Exceptional Children's Division in NCDPI, shared this memo with all Directors of Exceptional Children's Programs and Lead Administrators of Charter Schools.

Note: Exceptional Children directors were contacted in February 2015, if they had an Intent to Implement form on file, to confirm their status. These schools continue to follow the current NC Policies Governing Services for Children with Disabilities, amended July 2014. If these schools/LEAs, or any other school/LEA, elects to implement the policies adopted by the State Board of Education on February 4, 2016, prior to the full implementation date of July 1, 2020, they will need to submit a new Intent to Implement. It is strongly encouraged that Module 3 of the MTSS online learning is completed prior to submission of an Intent to Implement

Webinar "Supporting Appropriate Evaluation and Identification of SLD: A Framework to Guide Implementation"

August 3, 2016

Lynn Makor, Consultant for School Psychology and Lynne Loeser, Consultant for SLD and ADHD, partnered to present a webinar titled "Supporting Appropriate Evaluation and Identification of SLD: A Framework to Guide Implementation" on August 3, 2016. This webinar was conducted as part of the NCDPI Exceptional Children webinar series, led by Lynn Makor. The webinar and transcript are below. (The webinar begins at 1:00.)

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State Board of Education Approves Policy Changes for the Definition, Evaluation and Identification of Students with SLDs

February 5, 2016

The State Board of Education approved the policy changes for the definition, evaluation and identification of students with Specific Learning Disabilities. The policy can be found at http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/ . The policy became effective February 5, 2016 with full implementation by July 1, 2020.


The following fact sheets address the new requirements related to the identification of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD).
March 2016

October 2016

January 2017

SLD Fact Sheet #3 Diagnostic Processes webinar
Access the webinar here

Access the slides here:

Webinar Questions/Responses

SLD Fact Sheet #4 Exclusionary Factors

SLD Fact Sheet #5 Inadequate Achievement


The SLD Task Force began meeting in December 2012 to develop a guidance document to support the use of a student’s responsiveness to instruction and intervention as the basis to a comprehensive evaluation. In March 2014, this group’s membership and tasks were expanded to respond to the proposed changes in policy to eliminate ability/achievement discrepancy as a method for identifying students with Specific Learning Disabilities. This group is tasked with thoroughly reviewing current research and making recommendations pertaining to policy changes and the operationalization of these policies. A primary purpose of this group is to support the development of LEA capacity for the full and effective use of RtI and data-driven decisions as part of a comprehensive evaluation when students are suspected of having a disability and are referred for consideration of special education services.

Mission: The mission of the SLD task force aligns with the mission of NCDPI. NCDPI will prepare and support LEAs to implement a Multi-tiered System of Support for total school improvement by providing professional development, coaching and technical assistance, research and evaluation, and communication and visibility that results in college and career readiness for all students. NCDPI believes that MTSS is the most effective and efficient approach to improving school outcomes and student performance thereby ensuring equitable access to a sound basic education.

Specific Learning Disabilities White Paper

This paper provides stakeholders a review of the research and findings of the Specific Learning Disability Task Force which culminated in policy changes for the definition, evaluation and identification of students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD).

What is the SLD Connection with MTSS?
In this video, Ed Shapiro, Professor of School Psychology and Director of the Center for Promoting Research to Practice at Lehigh University, explains why establishing a well-functioning, multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) is essential before implementing an RTI-based process for SLD determination.

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School Psychology Institute, NCDPI Exceptional Children Conference
November 18, 2015


On November 18th, nationally recognized neuropsychologist and scientist in the field of learning disabilities, Dr. Jack Fletcher, was welcomed to NC to present at the School Psychology Institute. His presentation was titled, Making Sense of Specific Learning Disabilities: Just Follow the Science.
Dr. Fletcher spent an entire day with 120 school psychologists from across the state and reviewed the existing research on reliability and validity issues with current methods of identification for SLD. Based on the existing research, Fletcher indicated the following:
Within the context of SLD evaluation, the focus should be on:
- Behavioral/Psychosocial Factors
- Environment
- Academic Skill Deficits
Stressing that “although we know that there is a neurobiological basis for SLD, there is no need, practically, to conduct neurobiological and cognitive assessments.”
He also presented a practical approach to the evaluation within the context of an instructional (RtI-based) model, along with evidence-based approaches to intervention for each of the six academically-based disabilities in IDEA 2004 (basic reading, reading fluency, reading comprehension, math calculations, math problem solving, and written expression).
Notable quotes from the day include:
“Measurement error exists due to the fact that we are trying to utilize imperfect measures to identify the hypothetical construct”
“A child with a learning disability = a child that does not learn despite our BEST efforts to teach
“IQ accounts for about 1% of variance in intervention response – IQ does not determine intervention response, can’t predict based on IQ”

SLD Eligibility was provided at the Exceptional Children Summer Institute 2014

January 27th, 2015 EC Division Webinar
"Specific Learning Disabilities Policy within a Multi-Tiered System of Support."


Kovaleski, J. VanDerHeyden, A, & Shapiro, E. (2013). The RtI Approach to Evaluating LD
For Book Study:

RtI-Based SLD Identification Toolkit: An Online Guide to RTI-Based Identification

Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children Position Paper, February 2014: Intensive Interventions for Students with Learning Disabilities in the RtI Era

National Center on Intensive Intervention

NCDPI Exceptional Children Division Considerations for Specially Designed Instruction

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