During the April 1st preliminary meeting held in preparation for the National Day for Students with Learning Difficulties, SKILD Center briefed the participants about the National Screening for Learning Difficulties in Public Schools that the Center had conducted in May and June 2014.
Hiba Al Jamal, Director of SKILD Center explained that the study explored the prevalence of students in cycles 1 and 2, i.e. grades 1 to 6, at risk of having learning difficulties (LD). Language arts (spelling, writing fluency), and mathematics (computational and quantitative) were the main areas evaluated directly by the student. As for behaviour, the scale was administered to the main classroom teacher of each grade; s/he was asked to rate the pupil on fifteen items describing each student’s behavioural characteristics.
Al Jamal shared the following major findings:
· The most prevalent learning difficulty in all grades was behavioral.
· 39.8% of the students appeared at high risk of having learning difficulties due to their inability to maintain good behaviour in class at least in one area.
· 46.1% of the male students had a behavioral learning difficulty compared to 31.7% of female students.
· On average, 59.5% of the surveyed pupils were considered as having a potential learning difficulty in at least one other area (vocabulary, spelling, writing Fluency, mathematics …).
This is the first time that such a screening is undertaken in elementary public schools in Lebanon. These and other findings provide a scientific basis on which SKILD can build to start its intervention scheme in elementary public schools, an important step forward towards reducing dropout in public schools in Lebanon; and consequently, reducing the number of street children and delinquency among teenagers.
Maysa Hajj | LSESD | April 1st, 2015