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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Educational Specialist (EdS)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Ashton Trice

Deborah Kipps-Vaughan

Laura Desportes

Abstract

In the years following the passage of Public Law 94-142, school psychologists’ main role was to facilitate the placement of children into different educational programs (Fagan & Wise, 2000). The role of the school psychologist has shifted since that time, and today school psychology training programs produce practitioners who are equipped to handle much more. A continuation in the departure from the assessment and eligibility determination role of the school psychologist allows for a more proactive approach to problematic childhood and adolescent behaviors. A barrier that stands in the way of this role transformation are teachers’ perceptions, knowledge, and reactions toward school psychologists. Teachers’ perceptions and knowledge are particularly influential in determining the diversity, variability, and usefulness of school psychological services, as they are the main source of referrals (Merrell, Ervin, & Peacock, 2011). Therefore, it is important to understand teachers’ perceptions of the role of the school psychologist because their perceptions influence how school psychologists are utilized to address student needs. Previous research in this area was conducted prior to the passage of Public Law 94-142 and does not reflect the changes mentioned above. The purpose of this study was to add updated research to this area and to understand the connection between teachers’ perceptions and the role of the school psychologist. Forty preservice teachers from three teacher training programs completed a survey with different scenarios and were their perceptions about school psychologist would be equipped to handle the situation. Results indicated that the preservice teachers recognized the assessment role of the school psychologist but had less recognition of other roles. This finding suggests that teacher orientation presentations should communicate the breadth and depth of the role of the school psychologist so that they may be used to their full capabilities.

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