School Psychology Review

General Issue
Volume 46, Issue 4 (2017)

Editor: Amy L. Reschly

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  • The Toxicity of Bullying by Teachers and Other School Staff

    Pooja Datta, Dewey Cornell & Francis Huang

    pp. 335–348

    Abstract. Although the toxic effects of peer bullying among middle school students are widely recognized, bullying by teachers and other school staff has received little attention. This study compared the prevalence and school adjustment of students bullied by teachers/staff, students bullied by peers, and students who were not bullied. The sample consisted of 56,508 students in Grades 7 and 8 who completed a statewide school climate survey. Students were classified into four groups: (a) not bullied (87.2%); (b) bullied only by peers (9.3%); (c) bullied only by teachers/staff (1.2%); and (d) bullied by peers and teachers/staff (1.5%). In comparison to students who reported no bullying, students bullied by teachers and other school staff were significantly more likely to report lower school engagement and self-reported grades and more negative perceptions of school climate. Students bullied only by peers reported more distress symptoms than those bullied by teachers and other school staff. These findings call for more attention to the problem of teacher and other school staff bullying.

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  • Examining the Influence of Interval Length on the Dependability of Observational Estimates

    Amy M. Briesch, Tyler David Ferguson, Brian Daniels, Robert J. Volpe & Adam B. Feinberg

    pp. 426–432

    Abstract. Systematic direct observation is a tool commonly employed by school psychologists to investigate student behavior. As these data are used for educational decision-making, ensuring the psychometric adequacy of the obtained data is an important consideration. Given that procedural aspects of systematic direct observation have been shown to influence the psychometric properties of obtained data, this study was designed to explore how interval length influences the dependability of academic engagement data when using a momentary time sampling procedure. Twenty seventh-grade students were each observed for two 15-min sessions during math instruction. A series of generalizability studies were conducted to examine how manipulations to interval length influenced reliability-like coefficients. In general, shorter interval lengths (i.e., 10 s, 15 s) were shown to produce higher levels of dependability. For example, an acceptable level of dependability (i.e., ϕ = .70) required twice as many 30-min observations when utilizing 20- or 30-s sampling as were required when utilizing 10- or 15-s sampling. Furthermore, whereas an acceptable level of dependability (i.e., ϕ = .70) could not be obtained using any interval length when conducting a single observation, this criterion was met using either 10- or 15-s sampling across two 30-min observations.

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  • Examining Oral Passage Reading Rate Across Three Curriculum-Based Measurement Tools for Predicting Grade-Level Proficiency

    Jeremy W. Ford, Kristen N. Missall, John L. Hosp & Jennifer L. Kuhle

    pp. 363–378

    Abstract. Curriculum-based measurement (CBM) for oral passage reading (OPR) is among the most commonly used tools for making screening decisions regarding academic proficiency status for students in first through sixth grades. Multiple publishers make available OPR tools, and while they are designed to measure the same broad construct of reading, research suggests that student performance varies within grades and across publishers. Despite the existence of multiple publishers of CBM tools for OPR, many of which include publisher-specific recommendations comparing student performance to a proficiency standard, the use of normative-based cut scores to interpret student performance remains prevalent. In the current study, three commercially available CBM tools for OPR were administered to 1,482 students in first through sixth grade. Results suggest differences between normative and criterion-based approaches to determining cut scores for screening decisions. Implications regarding resource allocation for students in need of additional intervention are discussed.

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  • Meeting Current Challenges in School Psychology Training: The Role of Problem-Based Learning

    Sandra Dunsmuir, Norah Frederickson & Jane Lang

    pp. 395–407

    Abstract. This article reports a national study of 13 of the 16 school psychology programs in the United Kingdom that utilize problem-based learning (PBL) approaches to train psychologists. Each program identified a key informant who could describe the strengths, weaknesses, and possibilities for development of this instructional approach. Telephone interview transcripts were analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis procedures. Strengths identified included the compatibility of a PBL approach with existing program philosophy and the benefits of student self-directed learning to build generalizable knowledge, deal with uncertainty, enhance confidence, work collaboratively, and integrate psychological theory and practice. Themes relating to the perceived weaknesses of PBL included assessment challenges, ensuring adequate time and curriculum coverage, and issues relating to group dynamics. Adaptations made by programs delivering PBL involved updating content, revising structures, developing assessments, and implementing tutor training to facilitate PBL. This study highlights the key lessons learned from implementing PBL in one context, offering the potential for school psychology trainers to develop this approach more widely.

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  • Toward Feasible Implementation Support: E-Mailed Prompts to Promote Teachers’ Treatment Integrity

    Melissa A. Collier-Meek, Lindsay M. Fallon & Emily R. DeFouw

    pp. 379–394

    Abstract. Although high levels of intervention implementation are more likely to lead to improved student outcomes, educators struggle to maintain high implementation levels over time. School psychologists might provide research-supported, consequence-oriented supports (e.g., performance feedback) to promote educators’ implementation, yet these are reactive and potentially time intensive. This study evaluated whether a proactive, antecedent- oriented support (i.e., daily, preprogrammed e-mailed prompts) could effectively promote educators’ implementation. Findings indicate that for 3 of 4 teachers who participated in this multiple baseline single case design study, implementation of the class-wide behavior intervention improved upon receiving e-mailed prompts. In addition, increases in praise, decreases in corrective statements, and corresponding improvements in student outcomes were noted. This initial study suggests that prompts may be a feasible and effective Tier 1 implementation support that can be incorporated by school psychologists to support educators responsible for delivering interventions in the classroom. Additional implications for future research and school-based practice are discussed.

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  • Posttest Probabilities: An Empirical Demonstration of Their Use in Evaluating the Performance of Universal Screening Measures Across Settings

    Ethan R. Van Norman, David A. Klingbeil & Peter M. Nelson

    pp. 349–362

    Abstract. Some researchers have advocated for the use of posttest probabilities when using universal screening data to make decisions for individual students. However, said arguments are largely conceptual in nature, and to date there have been few convincing empirical demonstrations of the utility of posttest probabilities over and above traditional diagnostic accuracy metrics (e.g., sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values) in school settings. We demonstrate how posttest probabilities change as a function of a student’s level of preexisting risk using screening instruments reviewed by the Center on Response to Intervention. Our results illustrate that knowing the sensitivity and specificity of a tool alone is not adequate to make defensible rule-in and rule-out decisions for individual students. Recommendations for practitioners to assess the appropriateness of screening tools for their schools are offered. A rationale for researchers to supplement traditional diagnostic accuracy indexes with posttest probabilities is given.

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  • Cross-Modality Generalization in Reading and Spelling Instruction

    pp. 408–425

    Abstract. Reading and spelling are essential skills for educational success. Spelling instruction research has examined varied modalities but has never directly compared written versus oral spelling. Theoretical and empirical indications exist that either method may be superior to the other. Study 1 compared written and oral spelling instruction for rates of spelling acquisition and generalization to reading. Results indicated written spelling instruction resulted in more rapid acquisition of spelling and reading accuracy compared to oral spelling instruction. Previous research has demonstrated cross-modality generalization can occur between reading and spelling (Noell, Connell, & Duhon, 2006); however, methodological issues limited these investigations. Study 2 compared reading instruction alone, spelling instruction alone, and combined reading and spelling instruction while controlling for instructional time. Results indicated that combined instruction led to the most rapid acquisition of spelling and reading accuracy. These findings are discussed in relation to behavioral concepts such as stimulus control and generalization.

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