Chapter 3: Discrepancy = Underachievement

Words to know for chapter Three:

Discrepancy – a difference between two things

Ability – what you are able to do

Achievement – what you have already done

Underachievement – not working up to your ability

Basic Reading – sounding out words

Reading Comprehension – understanding what you have read Math Calculation – solving basic number problems

Math Reasoning – solving story problems or real-life math situations

Written Expression – giving information in writing

Oral Expression – giving information by talking

Listening Comprehension – understanding what you hear

“According to the definition, a learning disability causes a “discrepancy” between ability and achievement. In fact, this “discrepancy” is the first sign of your learning disability that parents or teachers will notice. But what is a discrepancy?

When talking about learning disabilities, discrepancy means the same thing as underachievement. You simply are not able to “achieve” as well as you should in school. Maybe you are smart enough to get A”s but can only earn C”s or D”s, no matter how hard you work. You’re not dumb, you just have trouble learning. That is a discrepancy.

It is like a very fast sports car that gets bogged down in heavy traffic or road construction. Even though the car has the “ability” to go very fast, it can’t “achieve” a very high speed.

With a learning disability, it is information that gets bogged down while
traveling through your brain.

Most (in fact, almost all) students are able to achieve at or very close to their ability level as shown in the chart below:

But LD students aren’t able to show how smart they are:

The first sign of this discrepancy is underachievement in the classroom. Your parents or teachers might say that you aren’t doing as well as they think you should.

They may say things like:

“you’re lazy”

“you’re not motivated” or

“you’re not trying”
But what they are really saying is that they know you are smarter than you may appear in school.

After your “underachievement” has been noticed, testing is done by special education teachers and school psychologists to measure your “discrepancy” and see how serious your learning difficulties really are.

To have a learning disability you must have a “severe discrepancy ” in at least one of the following areas:

Basic Reading

Written Expression

Math Calculation

Math Reasoning

Oral Expression

Listening Comprehension

Reading Comprehension

“Now, on with the case……………..”

Underachievement Worksheet

Place an X along the arrow to indicate where you think your skills are in each area.

Proceed to Chapter 4 -Processing: The Key to the Mystery

Published with Permission Of Writer: Scott L. Crouse, Ph.D. A website dedicated to the advancement of practical knowledge and understanding about the often mysterious world of Learning Disabilities. 

Copyright © 1996 Scott L. Crouse