Attitudes and Professional Practices of School Psychologists Involved in the Evaluation of Students with Reading Disabilities
AuthorSammons, Janice Relph
AdvisorMishra, Shitala P.
Committee ChairMishra, Shitala P.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractReading problems are the most frequent referring reasons for special education evaluations. Recent changes in the law have implications for the changing role of the school psychologist, specifically the evaluation and identification of students with reading disabilities. Traditionally, the assessment of children with suspected reading disabilities has focused on the presence of an aptitude/achievement discrepancy in which general intellectual ability is significantly higher than reading skills. IDEA 2004 introduced a second model, Response to Intervention (RTI), in which children with a reading disability may be identified through a set of curriculum-based measures and progress monitoring data.In light of the broadening evaluation processes, the present study was designed to examine the relationship between school psychologists' attitudes and assessment practices in the identification of students suspected of reading disabilities. In addition, the study examined whether there were significant attitudes and practice differences related to school psychologists' prior teaching experience, gender status, number of years in practice, certification, grade of service delivery, professional credentials, and ethnicity. Finally, the study examined the variability in their practices for evaluating children with reading disabilities. The present study replicated and expanded the work (survey) of Nelson and Machek (2007) and Fish and Margolis (1988).Data were collected from 81 members of the Arizona Association of School Psychologists (AASP). Each participant completed a survey, which was made up of 30 items, regarding perceptions and practices psychologists use in the evaluation of students with reading difficulties using a 5-point Likert scale. Results indicated a relationship between attitudes and current practices suggesting that school psychologists' practices are compatible with their attitudes. In addition, the most remarkable correlations were observed in regard to school psychologists' attitudes that in order to identify children with a reading disability, school psychologists need to include measures of intelligence and cognitive processing, even within an RTI framework. In regard to the variability of assessment practices, school psychologists' practices for evaluating children with reading disabilities were similar.Implications from this study indicated the need for school psychologists to have a broad working knowledge of the evaluation requirements to identify children with reading disabilities beyond the aptitude/achievement model.
Degree ProgramSchool Psychology