General Information for Professionals

MATAL is a standard computerized battery of tests and questionnaires, developed for the purpose of diagnosing applicants to institutions of higher educations and students at these institutions who are requesting test accommodations and assistance in courses of study on account of learning disabilities.

MATAL was developed at the National Institute for Testing and Evaluation with the assistance of experts on learning disabilities. The system was developed for the benefit of those affected by learning disabilities as an initiative of the Council for Higher Education’s Planning and Budget Committee (PBC), and funded by it. Development was supervised by the PBC Steering Committee concerning Students with Learning Disabilities.

MATAL is targeted at diagnosing the common learning disabilities - dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, and also at assessing the probability of the presence of attention deficiency disorder (ADD).

Download Presentation: An Overview of MATAL

 

Diagnostic Tools

MATAL comprises two questionnaires and 20 tests assessing cognitive functions in the following domains: language (reading and writing), quantitative functions, attention, memory, visual perception and general processing speed. MATAL’s diagnostic tools (tests and questionnaires) were developed with the assistance of an advisory committee of experts and are based on up-to-date theoretical information. The efficacy of the tools for diagnosing learning disabilities was assessed by a comprehensive validation study performed at ten institutions for higher education. This study was used to assess the quality and administering process of the tests, and to validate the tests and performance metrics within clinical populations. Subsequently country-wide performance norms were collected for each diagnostic tool from a representative sample of applicants to and students at institutions for higher education. The sample included 508 native Hebrew speakers without learning disabilities studying in first degree programs in universities and colleges. A detailed list of MATAL’s diagnostic tools follows:

Native Language (Reading) Foreign Language (English) Attention
Reading comprehension English - reading comprehension Sustained attention (CPT)
Decoding text English - listening comprehension Attentional network (alerting attention, orienting of attention, and executive attention)
Decoding nonwords (production)   Questionnaire for diagnosing attention deficit disorder (ADD)
Decoding nonwords (identification)    
Phonemic deletion Quantitative functions Visual Perception
Phonemic count Computational automaticity
(retrieval of arithmetical facts)
Parallel processing
Rapid naming (RAN) Procedural knowledge Temporal processing
Verbal fluency Number sense  
Syntactic awareness    
Native Language (Writing) Auditory verbal memory Applicant’s personal questionnaire
Dictation Immediate recall Self-reporting questionnaire on developmental history and past and present learning deficiencies
  Delayed recall  

System features

  • All tests are conducted by computer
  • An examiner is present at every stage of the testing
  • Instructions for each test are displayed on screen and are also available as audio playback
  • Before each test sample assignments are given for practice
  • The computer records all of the examinee’s oral responses and allows them to be replayed.
  • Reaction time is measured for each response with ±7 millisecond precision.
  • The system includes monitoring to detect non-bona fide performance (malingering)

Target Population

Diagnosis via MATAL is conditional on the four requirements specified below. The first three requirements are intended to ensure that applicants come from the population for which the MATAL tests’ performance norms were developed.

  1. Age from 16 to 30.
  2. Command of Hebrew at native-speaker level (the system is not suited for diagnosing linguistic performance by test subjects who are not native Hebrew speakers, with the exception of Russian speakers, for whom tailored norms were developed).
  3. No physical limitations liable to interfere with the test subjects’ performance in the assignments and impair the accuracy of assessment (such as vision impairment, hearing impairment, or motor defects).
  4. Applicant has not been diagnosed via MATAL during the last three years.