School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Treg Hopkins


specific learning disorder, mental health, comorbid, academic achievement




The purpose of this research is to build on previous research that showed a significant relationship between students with socially devalued identities, poor mental health, and lower academic achievement and suggested tailored and targeted treatments as a possible protective factor. To develop programs to assist students in achieving higher scores, one must first determine the impact of comorbid mental health diagnosis and specific learning disorder on academic achievement. A quantitative causal-comparative study was used to determine if there is an impact of mental health diagnoses in combination with specific learning disorders for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plans on standardized test scores. The study participants were drawn from a convenience sample of 3rd, 8th, and 10th-grade students located in a rural area of northeast Florida during the 2018-2019 school year diagnosed with a specific learning disorder. Academic achievement was measured by student score on the Florida Standard Assessment (FSA). The sample size was 195 to 198 students from each grade level, divided into two groups depending on the presence or absence of a comorbid mental health diagnosis. The data was analyzed using three independent sample t tests. The results of the study indicated no significant difference between the two subgroups on academic achievement as measured by the FSA scores. The findings of this study showed a need for future studies to include replication of the study in additional populations and areas using a different scale of measurement and to compare students with a mental health disorder to mainstream students with no mental health disorder or specific learning disorder.

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