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
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)
- Reading comprehension
- Decoding text
- Decoding nonwords (production)
- Decoding nonwords (identification)
- Phonemic deletion
- Phonemic count
- Rapid naming (RAN)
- Verbal fluency
- Syntactic awareness
|Foreign Language (English)
- English - reading comprehension
- English - listening comprehension
- Sustained attention (CPT)
- Attentional network (alerting attention, orienting of attention, and executive attention)
- Questionnaire for diagnosing attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Computational automaticity (retrieval of arithmetical facts)
- Procedural knowledge
- Number sense
- Parallel processing
- Temporal processing
|Native Language (Writing)
|Auditory verbal memory
- Immediate recall
- Delayed recall
|Applicant’s personal questionnaire
- Self-reporting questionnaire on developmental history and past and present learning deficiencies
- 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)
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.
- Age from 16 to 30.
- 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).
- 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).
- Applicant has not been diagnosed via MATAL during the last three years.
General Information for Professionals
The Diagnostic Process
There are eight stages to the diagnostic process (see flowchart). The diagnosis entails three or four sessions with the applicant: two sessions of about two hours each for testing with the MATAL tests, and one or two sessions with an expert clinician for more detailed analysis and providing the applicant with feedback on the results of the diagnosis and their significance.
The clinician makes a final diagnosis as to whether the applicant has any learning disability and the probability of the presence of ADD. The diagnosis is based on all the data available to the clinician, including performance in the MATAL tests, the applicant’s developmental and educational history as documented in the material attached to the application and the personal questionnaire filled out by the applicant, behavioral observation of the applicant, and information gathered in the one-on-one meeting with the applicant.
Below is a detailed description of the eight stages of the diagnostic process:
1. Application to the diagnostic institution
On application to the diagnostic institution the secretariat of the institution provides the applicant with general information on the diagnostic process, checks the applicant’s eligibility for diagnosis by MATAL according to the requirements listed above and sends registration material to the applicant.
2. Filling out the personal questionnaire and submitting relevant documentation
The applicant is requested to fill out a detailed personal questionnaire and submit relevant documentation:
- School diplomas – elementary, middle and high school (all diplomas in your possession).
- Bagrut (high school matriculation) certificate or up-to-date transcript of Bagrut scores.
- Previous diagnostic reports
- Score certificate from the Psychometric Entrance Test
- Certificates of entitlement to accommodations in the Bagrut or Psychometric Entrance Test.
- Up-to-date score transcript from most recently attended educational institution
- Any other documentation liable to cast light on the applicant’s past and present difficulties such as: referrals for diagnosis, referrals for treatment and assistance, assessments by teachers or counselors, summaries of treatment, medication records.
3. Verification of eligibility for diagnosis by MATAL
On receipt of the background material the applicant’s eligibility for diagnosis by MATAL is verified. If the applicant is ineligible or if there is a reasonable basis to assume that the applicant’s difficulties are not a consequence of learning disabilities, the applicant will be referred to an appropriate professional for continued evaluation.
4. Administration of the test battery
The MATAL diagnostic tools are administered by a trained examiner in two sessions of about two hours each. The applicant’s responses in the production tests are documented in the personal diagnostic file. At the end of the session the examiner evaluates the applicant’s performance in the production tests and enters the scores into the scoring system.
5. Generation of a computerized report
After the administration of the diagnostic tools a computerized report is generated summarizing the results of the diagnosis. The report lists in full detail the applicant’s level of performance according to 54 metrics generated by the diagnostic tools. The results are reported as standard scores and percentage scores. The percentage scores are also displayed graphically. In addition, the test results are weighted for the purpose of producing a general assessment of the level of functioning in different domains: reading, writing, arithmetic and attention. The results are weighted by a mathematical algorithm (predictor function) developed both from empirical data collected during the MATAL validation study and norm research, and also based on theoretical considerations. The algorithm is based on advanced statistical methods.
6. Review of the diagnosis results and background material
The expert clinician reviews the applicant’s background information and the results of the evaluation documented in the computerized report and diagnostic file. The clinician arrives at a preliminary assessment of the presence of learning disabilities or ADD. In consequence the diagnostician formulates preliminary recommendations concerning granting accommodations in academic tests and assistance during study courses.
7. Meeting with the applicant
The meeting is devoted to a deeper analysis of the applicant’s difficulties, checking whether the difficulties reported by the applicant are consistent with the results of the diagnosis, giving the applicant feedback on the results of the diagnosis and their significance and discussing recommendations concerning granting accommodations and assistance.
8. Composition of a final report and communicating to the applicant
At the end of the data analysis process, the clinician writes a professional opinion including a report of the principal findings, final diagnosis and recommendations for accommodations in academic tests and assistance during study courses. The opinion is structured in a fixed format.
The final diagnostic report includes the computerized test report with results of functioning in all the MATAL tests and the clinician’s professional opinion. At the end of the diagnosis the applicant receives two signed copies of the report.
Admissibility of the Diagnosis
The validity of the MATAL diagnosis is conditional on the applicant’s full cooperation, both in submitting complete and correct information and in performing to the best of his or her ability in the test assignments. In the event that the picture emerging from the data as a whole is unlikely, incomplete or obscure, the clinician may not be able to arrive at an unambiguous diagnosis and recommendations for accommodations and assistance. In such cases the clinician will recommend additional investigation, separately from the diagnosis via MATAL.
Diagnosis via MATAL is admissible for the purposes of submitting a request for accommodations in the Psychometric Entrance Test, together with the additional documentation required by the Special Test Accommodations (BAMOT) unit of the National Institute for Testing and Evaluation.
Diagnosis via MATAL is admissible for the purposes of submitting a request for accommodations in academic tests at all institutions of higher educations funded by the Council for Higher Education, among others.
However, it should be clearly understood that these institutions are under no obligation to adopt the clinician’s opinion and recommendations with respect to granting accommodations. The right of the final decision on granting accommodations is reserved exclusively to each institution’s professional board.
In the event that an institution funded by the Council for Higher Education does not recognize a diagnosis via MATAL, you may apply to Ms. Noa Binstein, coordinator of the PBC Steering Committee concerning Students with Learning Disabilities by telephone 02-5679951, or email to email@example.com.
General Information for Professionals
Fee for Diagnosis
Diagnosis via MATAL is a service to the public offered on a non-profit basis.
The fee for diagnosis is ₪1,714, including an ₪95 fee for processing the application.
List of institutions performing diagnosis via MATAL
For other inquiries regarding the diagnostic system, please contact Dr. Inbal Heth, Professional Coordinator of the MATAL Diagnostic Centers, by telephone 02-6759587 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.