Clinical utility of the colorado learning difficulties questionnaire

Kristina E. Patrick, Mark D. Mccurdy, Douglas L. Chute, E. Mark Mahone, T. Andrew Zabel, Lisa A. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Behavioral disorders are highly comorbid with childhood learning disabilities (LDs), and accurate identification of LDs is vital for guiding appropriate interventions. However, it is difficult to conduct comprehensive assessment of academic skills within the context of primary care visits, lending utility to screening of academic skills via informant reports. The current study evaluated the clinical utility of a parentreported screening measure in identifying children with learning difficulties. METHODS: Participants included 440 children (66.7% male), ages 5.25 to 17.83 years (mean = 10.32 years, SD = 3.06 years), referred for neuropsychological assessment. Academic difficulties were screened by parent report using the Colorado Learning Difficulties Questionnaire (CLDQ). Reading and math skills were assessed via individually administered academic achievement measures. Sensitivity, specificity, classification accuracy, and conditional probabilities were calculated to evaluate the efficacy of the CLDQ in predicting academic impairment. RESULTS: Correlations between the CLDQ reading scale and reading achievement measures ranged from 20.35 to 20.65 and from 20.24 to 20.46 between the CLDQ math scale and math achievement measures (all P , .01). Sensitivity was good for both reading and math scales, whereas specificity was low. Taking into account the high base rate of reading and math LDs within our sample, the conditional probability of true negatives (96.2% reading, 85.1% math) was higher than for true positives (40.5% reading, 37.9% math). CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the CLDQ may more accurately predict children without LDs than children with LDs. As such, the absence of parentreported difficulties may be adequate to rule out an overt LD, whereas elevated scores likely indicate the need for more comprehensive assessment. Pediatrics 2013;132:e1257-e1264.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1257-e1264
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013


  • Achievement testing
  • Adhd
  • Learning disorders
  • Rating scales
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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