The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale - Revised as predictor of grade point average among learning disabled college students
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 guarantees equal access for students with handicapping conditions to institutions of higher education that accept federal funding. In an attempt to assess academic potential for learning disabled applicants in a non-discriminatory manner, some institutions utilize the results of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised (WAIS-R) in the admissions process. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the validity of this practice by determining the extent to which WAIS-R data are predictive of grade point average when these data are regrouped according to Kaufman's factors and Bannatyne's categories and are entered into regression analyses. A secondary purpose was to contribute to a theoretical understanding of the cognitive profile of learning disabled college students through descriptive data. To these ends, data from the WAIS-R, GPA after two semesters of full-time enrollment and selected student characteristics were gathered for a sample of 49 learning disabled college students at a private, urban university. Mean Full Scale, Verbal and Performance IQs for this sample were comparable to those of similar samples in other studies. The cognitive strengths of the sample (reflected in comparatively high mean Comprehension and Similarities scores) and the cognitive weaknesses commonly attributed to learning disabilities (reflected in comparatively low mean Arithmetic and Digit Span scores) were also parallel to those of other samples. The hierarchy of the remaining mean scores more closely matched that of a study done with gifted learning disabled children than that of other studies done with learning disabled college students. Except for the Comprehension and similarities scores and Bannatyne's Verbal Conceptualizing Ability score, none of the WAIS-R data correlated significantly to GPA, a departure from the results of similar research with non-learning disabled college students in which Information and Vocabulary had the highest correlations to GPA. Given these results, none of Kaufman's factors nor Bannatyne's categories except for Bannatyne's Verbal Conceptualizing Ability category was significantly predictive of GPA. Consequently, university admissions personnel should exercise caution when employing WAIS-R data in the decision-making process for learning disabled applicants.