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This study investigated the stability of latent classes of students with learning disabilities among a heterogeneous sample of elementary-aged children whose first language is Spanish. To this end, children (N = 284) in Grades 1, 2, and 3 at Wave 1 (Year 1) were administered a battery of vocabulary, reading, math, and cognitive measures (short-term memory, working memory, rapid naming, inhibition) in both Spanish (L1) and English (L2). These same measures were administered 1 and 2 years later (Wave 2 and 3). Two stable latent classes of children at risk for learning disabilities (children with comorbid difficulties and children with high order difficulties) emerged that were distinct from two latent classes (balanced bilinguals, unbalanced bilinguals) of average achievers who varied in second language acquisition. Further, significant growth parameters that uniquely predicted the log-odds identifying latent classes across all status groups were measures of working memory. Finally, the significant contributions of L2 cognitive measures to latent class status were dependent on L1 cognitive performance. The results suggest that statistically distinct and stable latent classes of children with learning disabilities emerge under the umbrella of English language learners and that growth in the executive processes of working memory and first language cognitive performance play an important role in predictions of latent class status.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Educational Psychology, volume 115, issue 3, in 2023 following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.

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American Psychological Association



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