Kenneth A. Kavale, a noted scholar who studied learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, intellectual disabilities, and special education policies, died Saturday 13 December 2008 in Virginia Beach (VA, US). Professor Kavale, who was born in 1946 in Brooklyn (NY, US) and was most recently a distinguished professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach (VA, US), was widely known for his work on the nature, assessment, and treatment of students with disabilities. He was author or co-author of hundreds of articles, book chapters, and books and had presented scores of papers at professional meetings, conferences, and other public venues.
Professor Kavale, who had previously taught at the University of Georgia, University of Colorado, University of California at Riverside, and University of Iowa, earned a bachelors degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and a Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of Minnesota. He was widely known for having examined many aspects of special education policy and practice by systematically reviewing extant research. He was among the first to apply the methods of meta-analysis in education, and many of his reviews, which were conducted with his collaborator Steven R. Forness of the University of California at Los Angeles, revealed the weak or essentially absent scientific basis of some early special education interventions.
Professor Kavale also wrote more traditional analyses of the literature, bringing both a historical and scientific perspective to contemporary topics in special education. He published these works as books with titles such as these:
- The Science of Learning Disabilities (1985; with S. R. Forness);
- Handbook of Learning Disabilities: Dimensions and Diagnosis (1987; with S. R. Forness & M. Bender).
- The Nature of Learning Disabilities: Critical Elements of Diagnosis and Classification (1995; with S. R. Forness);
- Efficacy of Special Education and Related Services (1999; with S. R. Forness & G. N. Siperstein);
- The Positive Side of Special Education: Minimizing its Fads, Fancies, and Follies (2004; with M. P. Mostert);
- Challenging the Refusal of Reason in Special Education (2008; edited with M. Mostert & J. Kauffman.
Professor Kavale was the founding editor of Learning Disabilities Research (now Learning Disabilities Research & Practice) and served on the editorial boards of many other scholarly journals. Among the many honors accorded Professor Kavale were his election in 2008 to serve as president-elect of the Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children and his appointment to the executive board of the Learning Disability Association of America.
Link to Professor Kavale’s biography at Regent University, a bio for the Iowa Academy of Education, and a list of publications accessible via Google Scholar. See a video of Professor Kavale speaking about the discrepancy concept and its contribution to the identification of students with Learning Disabilities (snippet via the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities). Also see the ZoomInfo entry about Professor Kavale.
Original post 12:43 PM Monday 15 December.
Update (5:30 PM Monday 15 December): Regent University has issued a press release reporting Ken’s passing.