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Learning problems and impairments: research and practice


NB Language of instruction is English

Admission requirements



This course provides an interdisciplinary view plus unique balance between theory, diagnosis and teaching strategies, including case studies. Students study recent research published in main journals (e.g., Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Learning Disabilities). Attendance of all classroom sessions is obligatory.

The selection of research papers includes traditional themes related to learning problems (dyslexia, dyscalculia) but adds coverage on at risk preschool children, language delayed children, teacher as collaborative consultant, meaning based approaches to reading, attention deficit disorders, using computers to enhance learning, social interaction and learning, and other high-interest current topics in the field.

Students are expected to reflect critically on scientific literature and on their own scientific behavior, to determine one’s position based on transparent scientific reasoning.

Course objectives

  • State of the art

  • Development of scientific reasoning

  • Presenting a small scale study

Achievement levels (Master Education and Child Studies)

1 Substantive knowledge

1.1 has profound knowledge of the various theories and methodological approaches common within the domain of one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme;
1.2 is able to analyse and conceptualise questions and problems in one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme;
1.3 has the capacity to identify a theoretical framework suitable for addressing problems and issues relevant for one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme;
1.4 has knowledge of models and methods of prevention and intervention relevant for one of the specialisations offered by the Master’s programme;
1.5 is acquainted with the professional field of the Master’s specialisation.

2 Research methods and statistics

2.1 is competent in methodological and technical research skills that are current in Education and Child Studies in general, and in the Master’s specialisation in particular;
2.3 is able to critically evaluate aspects of study design and methodology in empirical research.

3 Academic skills

3.1 describing and analysing practical and theoretical issues in human development from both a scientific and an ethical point of view;
3.2 analysing and evaluating scientific literature critically to establish its practical or theoretical relevance;
3.3 formulating a consistent line of reasoning, based on scientific arguments;
3.4 reporting orally and in writing on issues in human development both in an academic and in a professional context.

4 Professional conduct

4.1 connect scientific knowledge and insights to practical issues in human development;
4.2 analyse child-raising and/or educational issues and establish appropriate professional strategies.

Achievement levels (Research Master Developmental Psychopathology in Education and Child Studies) 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11.


Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Written exam with open and MC-questions (66.6%)

  • Written reviews (33.3%)

  • Presentations

  • Knowledge clip

Research Masterstudents write all exams and reviews in English. They also give a presentation of their review in English. The standards of assessment of their reviews and exams are stricter, especially with respect to scientific underpinning of arguments.


  • A detailed course description will be uploaded on Blackboard.

  • Students use the discussion board to upload questions in preparation for each lecture.

  • Under ‘assignments’ students can download a review form and information about the presentations and the assignment.

  • The discussion board facilitates the online tutorial and subscription for certain assignments.

  • All course announcements will be placed on Blackboard.

  • Students hand in their reviews and a knowledge clip on Blackboard.

Reading list

  • Hulme, C. & Snowling, M. J. (2009). Developmental Disorders of Language Learning and Cognition. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Scientific papers (to be announced, see course description on Blackboard).

Small changes are possible (also in the reading list), see Blackboard!


Please note that separate uSis registration is mandatory for lectures, seminars, exams and re-exams. Student who do not register, cannot attend courses or take exams.


  • Registration for the lectures of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first lecture at the latest;

  • Registration for the seminars of the course is possible as of 100 calendar days through 10 calendar days before the first seminar at the latest.


Student must register for each exam through uSis. This is only possible until 10 calendar days before the exam. More information on exam registration

Contact information

Co-ordinator if this course is dr. T. M. Sikkema-de Jong. She will hold office hours (the hour following the lecture) and will be available by email or by appointment.