Institute of Mental Health1
Dyscalculia is a specific math learning condition included in the DSM-5. However, the precise assessment and diagnosis of this condition is challenging due to high rates of comorbidities and overlaps in variant features with other learning disorders. Current literature demonstrates differing perspectives in whether comprehensive or domain-specific evaluation of learning proficiencies are more useful in understanding dyscalculia. This review seeks to examine the role and trends of the use of diagnostic tools in assessing dyscalculia.
Systematic literature searches were conducted on PubMed, PsycINFO and Scopus databases using the search terms: 1) dyscalculia and 2) diagnostic tools or assessment or screener. Included were peer reviewed articles in English published since 2000, which initially yielded 270 results. Using the following inclusion criteria: 1) includes samples with operationalized definitions of developmental dyscalculia; 2) reports at least 1 psychometric approach evaluating diagnostic measures of numerical processing or capacity, and 3) reliance on statistical evaluation of findings, 17 articles were included in this review.
Mediums of assessments fell into four broad categories (paper-pencil, computerized, neuropsychological, mixed-methods) and there were common parameters found across diagnostic tools. 16 studies employed the comprehensive evaluation approach in combination of parameters, and only 1 study adopted domain-specific evaluation pertaining to fraction knowledge.
Although there are similarities in how dyscalculia is screened, the variety of tools and psychometric models suggest that a standardized approach to the assessment of dyscalculia is still being explored. This has clinical implications in diagnostic accuracy and treatment of the condition.