Edward S. Shapiro, Jaime Benson, Nathan Clemens, and Karen L. Gischlar
The assessment of academic skills is an essential and critical component of the life of all schools. Like the assessment of other areas of functioning, assessment of academic skills needs to include multiple methods, multiple modalities, and multiple perspectives to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the problem. The process of assessment needs to cut across the range of direct and indirect approaches in order to capture a complete viewpoint of the academic skill problems that the student is experiencing. Included in the chapter are brief reviews of direct assessment methods built on observation, curriculum-based assessment, normative or criterion-referenced standardized tests, permanent product or portfolio review, as well as indirect methods built upon rating scales and interviews with teachers and students.
Academic Interventions: What School Psychologists Need to Know for Their Assessment and Problem Solving Consultation Roles
Virginia W. Berninger, Michel Fayol, and Nicole Alston–Abel
This chapter provides an overview of critical concepts about academic interventions that school psychologists can apply in their assessment (prevention and diagnosis) and problem solving consultation roles. Topics covered include (a) general principles from research on reading, writing, math, and science instruction and learning; (b) home–school relationships; and (c) issues of diversity, motivation, and interpersonal relationships. School psychologists are encouraged to read widely and deeply the research literature on academic instruction and learning, to which many disciplines have contributed. School psychologists are also encouraged to practice and master the artful transformation of that research knowledge to the individual case at hand within a specific social context, including the family, classroom, school, community, and culture.
Maribeth Gettinger, Clarissa J. Schienebeck, Stephanie Seigel, and Laura J. Vollmer
The quality of classroom environments is a central variable in determining behavioral and learning outcomes of students. This chapter reviews learning environment research that links measurable dimensions of teaching and classroom environments to student performance, including effective teaching behaviors, classroom management, teacher–student relationships, academic learning time, emotional climate and support, grouping format, class size, and physical characteristics. A review of three approaches to assessing these dimensions of classroom environments is provided; specifically, classroom observations, classroom environment surveys, and eco-behavioral assessment. Finally, implications for classroom practice and future directions for research are presented.
Robert J. Volpe and Sandra M. Chafouleas
Given the considerable amount of research attention that has been provided to externalizing behavioral deficits, a wide array of assessment methodologies is available to reliably assess core features. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a guide for the assessment of externalizing behavior problems. The chapter begins with an overview of externalizing problems, with focus on disorders of attention and disruption. Discussion of relevant disorders is based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th Edition, text revision; DSM-IV-TR) and special education law. Next, a five-phase model is presented for school-based assessment of externalizing problems that addresses issues of classification (screening, multimethod assessment, interpretation of results) as well as design and evaluation of the treatment plan.
Randy W. Kamphaus and Kristen L. Mays
The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the assessment of internalizing problems in children and adolescents. The chapter consists of three sections. The first section summarizes the categorical and dimensional systems used to classify social and emotional problems in youth. The second section discusses a variety of assessment techniques (e.g., structured and semistructured interviews and behavioral rating scales) that can be used to evaluate internalizing problems. This section also provides descriptions of several assessment measures including the DISC-IV, K-SADS-PL, ASEBA, BASC-2, BYI-II, CDI, RCMAS-2, and STAIC. Finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of several practical issues to consider when evaluating the emotional and behavioral status of youth.
Research from both domestic and international assessments has revealed the problematic nature of mathematics instruction and assessment practice. The method of standardized testing is extremely influential in school psychology, dominating the evaluation and study of children’s thinking. Although increasing numbers of practitioners are relying on curriculum-based measurement (CBM) as an alternative assessment to standardized testing, the procedure used in CBM is notably similar to testing in previous decades in terms of the types of items and the methods of administration. This type of assessment does not allow in-depth examination of children’s dynamic mathematical thinking and development due to its “standardized” assessment procedures. Therefore, the potential for developing effective intervention and instruction to foster children’s mathematics learning is limited. The clinical interview, a powerful set of assessment strategies, presents an alternative, or supplementary method, for the study of children’s thinking and reasoning. Understanding the underlying cognitive processes in children’s problem solving is particularly important in the semantically complex domains in mathematics, such as fractions. Developing the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct clinical interviews are critical in developing evidence-based instruction and intervention in mathematics.
The Development and Model of Therapeutic Assessment with Children: Application to School-Based Assessment
Deborah J. Tharinger, Lauren S. Krumholz, Cynthia A. Austin, and May Matson
Therapeutic Assessment (TA) is a relatively new model of psychological assessment that, in addition to offering the benefits of a traditional assessment, also serves as a collaborative, short-term intervention. With variations, TA has been utilized with adults, adolescents, and children; research evidence on efficacy is encouraging. This chapter serves to introduce the model of TA with children to a wider audience, specifically school psychologists, as the use TA with children in schools stands to be a compelling and potent child–family–school intervention. In this chapter we review the development of TA, the rationale for and application of each step of the comprehensive model, and provide guidance to design meaningful feedback plans for parents, teachers and children. We also illustrate its use, with several examples of school-based special education assessment cases to demonstrate how including comprehensive or selected components of TA in school-based assessment of children can result in positive therapeutic change.
Susan M. Wilczynski, Laura Fisher, Leslie Sutro, Jennifer Bass, Dipti Mudgal, Victoria Zeiger, Lauren Christian, and Jesse Logue
This chapter provides an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and reviews a number of interventions for ASD that are well supported in the research literature. The informed practitioner must understand both the defining symptoms of ASD and the importance of careful differential diagnosis. A description of the diagnostic process is followed by a careful analysis of seven educational and behavioral interventions that have been found to be effective through well-controlled research. These interventions include: early intensive behavioral intervention, behavioral package, naturalistic teaching strategies such as incidental teaching or pivotal response treatments, joint attention, modeling, peer training, and self-management. The importance of selecting research-supported treatments in conjunction with other essential information (e.g., professional judgment and data-based clinical decision making, family values and preferences, and capacity) is addressed. Even among these empirically supported interventions, research must be extended to additional age groups, treatment targets, or diagnostic subgroups. Suggestions for future research are provided.
Mark W. Steege, Tonya S. Watson, and T. Steuart Watson
Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) refers to a wide range of methodologies whose primary purposes are to identify the individual and environmental variables that directly influence behavior, and to derive an individualized treatment plan based on those variables.
The principles, assumptions, methodologies, and procedures that comprise an empirically valid FBA are drawn from applied behavior analysis. This chapter first provides a description of the SMIRC model that guides the functional assessment process. The basic principles, components, and procedures of FBA are described, to assist with methodology selection and implementation. A discussion of the five most common errors committed when attempting to assess function is presented in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence. Finally, we address some of the most pertinent questions related to school based FBAs.
Bonnie Kaul Nastasi and Kris Varjas
The chapter explores converging international forces that provide the context for future development of school psychology, examines the current status of school psychology internationally, and proposes a model for guiding future development of the profession on a global level. A primary reason for universal insufficiency of mental health services for children and adolescents is shortage of mental health professionals such as school psychologists, due in part to the shortage or lack of professional development programs. Critical to the advancement of school psychology internationally is development of a theoretical and empirical basis for training and practice that addresses cultural and contextual diversity. Drawing on models for international development and prior work of the authors, a model for the cultural construction of international school psychology is proposed. Key features of the model include ongoing research and evaluation, and partnership with local stakeholders to facilitate capacity building and sustainability of local programming.
Richard J. Cowan
In a culture driven by legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act and No Child Left Behind, indices of accountability often focus on student performance in traditional academic subject areas such as reading, mathematics, writing, and spelling. However, over 40 years of research has informed parents, educators, and other professionals that social competence is correlated with academic performance, as well as other success indicators throughout the lifespan. This chapter addresses social skills assessment and intervention for school-aged children across grade and ability levels. Within the context of a three-tiered positive behavior support (PBS) approach to assessment and intervention, this chapter describes evidence-based approaches to addressing social skills related behaviors to promote success for all students. Following a brief review of this literature, the chapter concludes with a discussion of implications for the role of the practicing school psychologist.