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Monday, November 4, 2013

Who are we leaving behind?

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requires those working in education to use evidence-based interventions. Interventions that research has determined to be effective in an educational setting include: one-on-one tutoring by qualified tutors for at risk readers in grades 1-3; life-skills training for junior high students; reducing class size in grades K-3; instruction for early readers in phonemic awareness and phonics; and high-quality educational care and preschool for low-income children.
Further identification of evidence-based interventions and supports is ongoing. Educational institutions no longer wish to waste precious time trying various programs without scientific evidence behind them. Due to a slower than expected rise in achievement levels in public schools, the U.S. Department of Education is looking to advance evidence-based policy in its own department and the broader policy community. Therefore, evidence-based practices have emerged out of the NCLB mandates that have not only effected how the Department of Education approaches educational strategies but also how practitioners in the schools will manage intervention policies from a school-wide to classroom perspective.

In order to create effective evidence based curricula and interventions, children need to be tested to establish which approach is most effective. While education should strive to implement programs and interventions that have been shown to work over time, many are not in favor of children being tested multiple times -- pre-tests, post-tests and standardized tests -- in order to establish the statistical information needed. What is your opinion regarding the implementation of evidence-based interventions? The effect of multiple-testing scenarios with elementary age and older public education students?

One of the most critical functions a school psychologist performs is the selection of effective interventions. As school psychologists we must follow certain guidelines and criteria to examine research support of interventions before choosing the ones we will implement. There are four main categories which are recommended when examining the evidence base to support an intervention and determining if interventions are flexible and sensitive to realities of schools and school-based practice. These categories consist of scientific basics, key features, clinical utility, and feasibility and cost-effectiveness.

Scientific basics relates to the empirical/theoretical basis, general design qualities, and statistical treatment of the prevention or intervention under review. Key features relates to the internal and construct validity criteria. Clinical utility relates to external validity and how appropriate an intervention is for a person’s specific needs. Lastly, feasibility and cost-effectiveness relate to the simplicity and compliance of others to put an intervention into place, as well as budget related factors. As a school psychologist, do you think that meeting all four of these guidelines is necessary? Which of the guidelines do you find to be the most or least important and why?

There has been an increased emphasis on parent teacher partnerships in schools due to the significant relationship between home environment and school behavior. The school psychologist often takes on the role of a ‘broker” in these partnerships. Chapter 3 analyzes appropriate actions that a school psychologist must take and knowledge that he or she must possess in order to consult to parents. Consistent with this chapter, it is the duty of the school psychologist to educate parents on issues such as rule-governed behavior, child development, and child learning, and others.

It is up to the school psychologist to guide parents to perceive certain behaviors through the eyes of their child and in this way to understand why they do what they do and what can be done to change the behavior. The chapter talks about different treatment applications that parents typically practice such as time out and task-based grounding. It also mentions negative effects of punitive consequences that some parents use. A common example is a child running into the street when a car is approaching; the parent gets scared and as a result yells at the child. Many people believe that the parent is wrong for yelling at the child while others believe this method will in fact teach the child not to run into the street again. What do you think about punitive consequences? Are there ever situations when they are appropriate? As a school psychologist, what would you recommend the parent do instead of, or in addition to, punitive consequences?

Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. (2002). Bringing evidence-driven progress to education: A recommended strategy for the U.S. Department of Education.

Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. (2003). Identifying and implementing education practices supported by rigorous evidence: A user friendly guide.

Daly, E.J., Ervin, R.A., Merrell, K.W., & Peacock, G.G. (2010). Practical Handbook of School Psychology. New York, NY: The Guilford

This Blog was created by: Lisa Kleitsch, Rozanna Shindelman, and Keri Georgewitz

Interventions that WORK

In education, multiple interventions such as retention, ability grouping, after-school programs and school wide reform programs have been attempted to improve educational outcomes. However, such interventions were not supported by rigorous evidence. As a result there has been no progress in raising elementary and secondary school achievement the past 30 years according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. This lack of progress has occurred despite a 90% increase in spending per student for the same time period.

Since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act educators have been encouraged to use “scientifically-based research” to guide their decisions about which interventions to implement. The belief is that with the implementation of scientifically–based interventions there will be advances in the effectiveness of education in America. School psychologist play an important role in assisting school personnel with the implementation of interventions for students.

• What evidence based interventions have you seen being used in your practicum placements?
• What role does the school psychologist play in the implementation of these interventions?
• Do you feel that schools over, under or appropriately utilize school psychologists’ in the implementation of evidence based interventions?

There is a need for school psychologists to function as evidence-based practitioners who apply evaluation procedures in conjunction with intervention implementation. Unfortunately most research that's available does not address some of the most important issues being faced in real world educational settings. As raised in our midterm, there are a number of factors interfering with school psychologist’s ability to apply interventions. These factors vary in the degree to which they affect the ways interventions are selected and applied at the individual and systems level (Peacock, Ervin, Daly III, & Merrell, 2010). Evidence-based guidelines have been developed in order to educate school professionals with the purpose of promoting the implementation of effective practices. These guidelines were created to help professionals, in our case school psychologists, work through the process of "systematically finding, appraising, and using research findings as the basis for selecting and implementing interventions" (Peacock et al., 2010).

An intervention will not guarantee success. Intervention success does not simply rely on the effectiveness of the intervention but rather on the characteristics of the student or the district one is working with. Although we have learned the importance of research support in selecting interventions, it is evident every child has individual needs and what may be successful for one child may not be for another. An intervention that is based on a group's success may not necessarily produce success for an individual student.

The School Psychology Task Force on Evidence-Based Interventions has established four categories that will examine the evidence base to support an intervention. The four categories are as follows: scientific basis, key features, clinical utility aspects, and feasibility, and cost-effectiveness (Peacock et al., 2010). Do you believe these categories are sufficient in proving the effectiveness of an intervention? Which criteria do you think are most or least important?

Based on the four set of criteria, two interventions were mentioned in the chapter, parent-child interactions therapy (PCIT) and the Incredible Years series. PCIT focuses on direct interaction with the child and parent while the Incredible Years series includes child, parent, and teacher interaction. Although both are supported by a great deal of evidence, which would you recommend to a parent with a child experiencing behavioral concerns? What factors would guide your decision?

Some applications of behavior intervention methods discussed in the chapter were time-out (TO) and time-in (TI), task-based grounding (TBG), the classroom pass program, and home-school notes. All applications have shown successful outcomes and aid in the partnership between the school psychologist and parents. TO is commonly used by parents but if not implemented correctly, it will prove to be ineffective. TO will almost always require professional input (Peacock et al., 2010). TBG should encourage children to complete the tasks given by their parents rather than encourage inappropriate behavioral issues. The classroom pass allows children an escape option in an aversive situation which provides a sense of control while home-school notes facilitate communication between the home and school settings (Peacock et al., 2010).

• Of the previously mentioned applications, which do you think result in long lasting results?

• What are major disadvantages a parent and school psychologist may experience while attempting to implement such applications?

• As a future school psychologist, how would you recommend a specific at home intervention without offending parents?


Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy (2002). Bringing evidence-driven progress to education: A recommended strategy for the U.S. Department of Education. http://www.excelgov.org/usermedia/images/uploads/PDFs/coalitionFinRpt.pdf

Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy. (2003). Identifying and implementing education practices supported by rigorous evidence: A user friendly guide. http://excelgov.org/usermedia/images/uploads/PDFs/User-Friendly_Guide_12.2.03.pdf

Peacock, G. G., Ervin, R. A., Dally III, E. J., Merrell, K. W. (2010). Practical handbook of school psychology: Effective practices for the 21st century. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

This Blog was created by: Estela Lopez & Roseann Brizan