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The primary goal of the present systematic review was to examine the criteria and measures used for assessing students with specific comprehension deficit (SCD), who have adequate decoding skills, but still perform poorly on reading comprehension assessments. From a systematic review of 32 studies, we found four predominant selection approaches for classifying students with SCD and a wide range of measurements of reading skills used to distinguish students with SCD from skilled readers. In addition, to develop a reading profile for students with SCD, we performed a meta-analysis to quantify the characteristics of SCD by comparing their reading skills to those of skilled readers. Results revealed that students with SCD demonstrated deficits in oral language (i.e., vocabulary and listening comprehension) and reading comprehension, despite adequate decoding and fluency skills. Their reading comprehension deficits (Hedges’s g = −3.28) were also more severe than their oral language deficits (Hedges’s g = −0.95). We provide recommendations and implications for future researchers and classroom teachers.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Learning Disability Quarterly, published by SAGE on behalf of the Hammill Institute on Disabilities. Copyright restrictions may apply.

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