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Preview: Psychology in the Schools

Psychology in the Schools

Wiley Online Library : Psychology in the Schools

Published: 2017-09-01T00:00:00-05:00


Using 21st century video prompting technology to facilitate the independence of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities


Barriers in acquiring, maintaining, and generalizing daily living skills are factors that contribute to discrepancies in independent living outcomes among transition age youth and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Acquisition and generalization of daily living skills empowers transition age youth and young adults with disabilities to meet their own needs with minimal reliance on others. Infusing the use of technology as a self-prompting device facilitates the acquisition of tasks that may not be otherwise attainable. In this study, self-directed video prompting on an iPad with the My Pictures Talk application was used to help young adults with IDD in a postsecondary program acquire daily living skills in a single subject, multiple probe across subjects design. The effects of the intervention on generalization to tasks that were one, two, and three components different were also assessed. Results demonstrated a functional relationship between the introduction of the intervention and improvement in skill performance.

School and community factors involved in Chilean students’ perception of school safety


Identifying and understanding predictors of school safety perceptions is important due to its consequences for students. However, it is not clear what school-related factors most contribute to explaining students’ perception of school safety, and how they relate to community-related factors such as neighborhood safety. The purpose of this study was to understand the factors associated with Chilean elementary and middle school students’ perceptions of school safety. We used a sample of 5,455 students from low socioeconomic status public schools, and analyzed the predictive value of peer physical and verbal victimization; teacher and school staff victimization; teacher's social support; and perception of safety in the students’ neighborhoods on perceptions of school safety. Findings showed that although different forms of school violence, particularly peer physical victimization and physical and sexual victimization from teachers and school staff, contribute to students’ perception of school safety, the highest contribution came from students perceiving their neighborhoods as unsafe. In contrast, teacher social support contributed to increased levels of perceived school safety. We discuss the need for school-based interventions that address physical victimization and engage teachers in prosocial and less punitive approaches to foster a positive and safe school climate, and in fostering school–community partnerships.

Latino immigrant parents’ financial stress, depression, and academic involvement predicting child academic success


The current study examines Mexican-heritage immigrant parents’ financial stress, English language fluency, and depressive symptoms as risk factors for parental academic involvement and child academic outcomes. Participants were 68 Latino immigrant (from Mexico) third and fourth graders and their parents. Results from a structural equation model analysis indicated that Latino parents who reported greater financial stress also reported higher levels of depressive symptoms; this, in turn, was related to lower parent-reported levels of engagement in the monitoring and transmission of implicit and explicit valuing of academics. Parental monitoring of academics was positively associated with children's success in mathematics and transmission of implicit and explicit valuing of academics was positively associated with children's success in language arts. The current study extends support for the Family Economic Stress Model by demonstrating connections between parental stress, emotional well-being, and child academic outcomes, through parental involvement in children's academics in a Latino-heritage sample.

Validity evidence for the Chinese version Classroom Appraisal of Resources and Demands (CARD)


The Classroom Appraisal of Resources and Demands (CARD) was designed to evaluate teacher stress based on subjective evaluations of classroom demands and resources. However, the CARD has been mostly utilized in western countries. The aim of the current study was to provide aspects of the validity of responses to a Chinese version of the CARD that considers Chinese teachers’ unique vocational conditions in the classroom. A sample of 580 Chinese elementary school teachers (510 female teachers and 70 male teachers) were asked to respond to the Chinese version of the CARD. Confirmatory factor analyses showed that the data fit the theoretical model very well (e.g., CFI: .982; NFI: .977; GFI: .968; SRMR: .028; RMSEA: .075; where CFI is comparative fit index, NFI is normed fit index, GFI is goodness of fit, SRMR is standardized root mean square residual, RMSEA is root mean square error of approximation), thus providing evidence of construct validity. Latent constructs of the Chinese version of the CARD were also found to be significantly associated with other measures that are related to teacher stress such as self-efficacy, job satisfaction, personal habits to deal with stress, and intention to leave their current job.

Internalizing and externalizing in adolescence: the roles of academic self-efficacy and gender


This study examines academic self-efficacy and gender as predictors of internalizing and externalizing behaviors in adolescence. In addition, the role of gender was considered as a moderator in the relationship between academic self-efficacy and internalizing/externalizing difficulties. Participants were 4,318 predominantly African American, low-income high school students who completed self-report measures on the constructs of interest. Academic self-efficacy and gender were both significant predictors of risk for internalizing problems, whereas only academic self-efficacy predicted risk for externalizing (hyperactivity/distractibility) problems. Gender did not predict externalizing difficulties, nor did gender serve as a moderator in any analysis. Implications include focusing on academic self-efficacy in the development of strategies for prevention and intervention of internalizing and externalizing problems.

Relationship of teachers’ ratings of kindergarteners’ 21st century skills and student performance


This study investigated the relationship of kindergarten teachers’ ratings of their students’ 21st century skills (college readiness skills) with students’ behavioral and academic performance. Teachers rated the frequency that their students (n = 579) demonstrated persistence, curiosity, affective, and cognitive (e.g., critical thinking) behaviors within their classrooms via the Human Behavior Rating Scale: Brief (HBRS: Brief, a teacher rating scale. The relationship of the HBRS: Brief teachers’ ratings was compared with data the school annually collected (behavioral ratings, academic performance, student office discipline referrals [ODRs], and absences). Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that teachers’ ratings of students’ persistence and cognition behaviors were significantly associated with students’ academic performance. Teachers’ persistence, curiosity, and externalizing affect ratings were predictive of behavioral ratings and teachers’ externalizing affect ratings were significantly associated with ODRs. The results support the efficacy of investigating teacher perceptions of students’ 21st century skills with kindergarteners.

Bullying and repeated conventional transgressions in Swedish schools: How do gender and bullying roles affect students’ conceptions?


Bullying is a moral transgression. Recognizing the importance of approaching bullying from a moral perspective, the present study examines whether children's judgments and reasoning to justify their judgments differ between bullying and repeated conventional transgressions. Our study also explores differences by gender and differences among bullies, victims, and uninvolved students. Participants included 381 students from 13 elementary schools in Sweden. Findings indicate that children judge bullying as more wrong than repeated conventional transgressions; use moral reasons more frequently in their justifications about bullying than about repeated conventional transgressions; and use conventional reasons more frequently to justify their judgments on repeated conventional transgressions as compared with bullying. Female students and nonbullies judged bullying and repeated conventional transgressions as more wrong and used moral reasons more frequently in their justifications of judgments of bullying than did male students and bullies. Male students reported bullying more than did female students. Implications for practice are also discussed.



A multilevel mediated regression model was fit to Programme for International Student Assessment achievement, strategy use, gender, and family- and school-level socioeconomic status (SES). Two metacognitive strategies (i.e., understanding and summarizing) and one learning strategy (i.e., control strategies) were found to relate significantly and positively to achievement. These strategies were used more by females and students attending higher SES schools. In contrast, males and students attending lower SES schools tended to use a greater number of learning strategies that did not relate to achievement, including memorization and elaboration. In addition, the strategies that did not relate to achievement were used more frequently by students from higher SES families. The findings suggest that schools, as opposed to families, may be the primary vehicle for developing effective strategy use practices for students and thus, targeted interventions may be particularly useful for male students attending low SES schools.

Criterion-related validity of two curriculum-based measures of mathematical skill in relation to reading comprehension in secondary students


This study analyzed the relationship between benchmark scores from two curriculum-based measurement probes in mathematics (M-CBM) and student performance on a state-mandated high-stakes test. Participants were 298 students enrolled in grades 7 and 8 in a rural southeastern school. Specifically, we calculated the criterion-related and predictive validity of benchmark scores from CBM probes measuring math computation and math reasoning skills. Results of this study suggest that math reasoning probes have strong concurrent and predictive validity. The study also provides evidence that calculation skills, while important, do not have strong predictive strength at the secondary level when a state math assessment is the criterion. When reading comprehension skill is taken into account, math reasoning scores explained the greatest amount of variance in the criterion measure. Computation scores explained less than 5% of the variance in the high-stakes test, suggesting that it may have limitations as a universal screening measure for secondary students.

Teachers’ recognition of anxiety and somatic symptoms in their pupils


Anxiety and somatic symptoms in children are common and debilitating, yet frequently go unidentified and untreated. This study investigated whether teachers can recognize children's anxiety and somatic symptoms, and how they identify children they perceive to be anxious or somatizing. A sample of 1,346 7- to 11-year-old children, their 51 class teachers, and 144 parents took part in the study. Data on children's anxiety and somatic symptoms were collected using standardized scales and simple 1–5 teacher rating scales. Teachers were also asked to identify children they perceived to have “debilitating” levels of anxiety and (separately) somatic symptoms and to provide brief qualitative descriptions to explain their choices. Small but significant positive associations were found between teachers’ and children's reports of anxiety and somatic symptoms. Identified children reported similar levels of anxiety than children not identified, but significantly greater levels of somatic symptoms, although the size of this difference was modest. Teachers commonly described crying and avoidance as signs of anxiety. Findings suggest that teachers show limited sensitivity to the variation in pupils’ levels of anxiety and somatic symptoms, and may struggle to identify children who may benefit from interventions or extra support in these domains.

A cross-national review of evidence-based psychosocial treatments for children and adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and United States


The most thoroughly researched topic in relation to autistic spectrum disorders (ASDs) is the evaluation of interventions. Educational psychology in the United Kingdom and Ireland is the most closely allied profession to school psychology in the United States. In considering what is published by and for the profession, it is important to include all of those journals that are directly relevant to the profession including educational psychology journals. This review reports on the type, focus, and quality of school-based ASD intervention research reported in school and educational psychology journals between 2005 and 2015. Twelve evaluation studies are reported, which evaluated 10 discrete interventions and two commercial packages. These interventions targeted academic, social, communication, and behavioral outcomes. Implications for the practice of school psychologists are discussed including the application of research to the idiographic nature of the work of school psychologists.

Intervention research productivity from 2005 to 2014: Faculty and university representation in school psychology journals


The purpose of this study was to identify authors and training programs making the most frequent contributions to intervention research published in six school psychology journals (School Psychology Review, School Psychology Quarterly, Journal of School Psychology, Psychology in the Schools, School Psychology International, and Journal of Applied School Psychology) over the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014. A total of 310 articles were identified as intervention articles; 919 unique authors, representing 289 universities or organizations, contributed to these publications. Top-ranked authors and universities were identified based on authorship rating and total publications, respectively. This evaluation highlights key contributors to the primary intervention research in school psychology, as well as themes of the publications of top-ranked individuals and programs.

Ethical and legal landmines: Causal inference in special education decisions


In this article, we discuss conflict between law and science relative to the presumption in special education law that multidisciplinary teams and others identify the causes of problems giving rise to special education needs. First, we explain eligibility criteria, highlighting ambiguities therein and why criteria constitute a mandate for causal inference, and present illustrative examples of how judges have interpreted this mandate. Second, we discuss as a counterpoint school psychologists’ ethical duties to conduct evaluations based on the best available science, and highlight the clear conflicts between the law, ethics, and research. We present the biopsychosocial model of development as a potential framework for reconciling one's legal duty to infer causation with the current evidence base. We conclude with implications for policy and practice and suggestions for future research.

Explaining student and home variance of Chinese reading achievement of the PIRLS 2011 Hong Kong


Hong Kong attained the top place in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2011, an international study of reading achievement, which arouses keen interest in understanding the reasons behind this remarkable achievement. Although factors associated with reading achievement in English have been widely studied, similar studies using Chinese as a different language system are limited. The present study proposes and tests a hypothetical model that attempts to explain the variance of reading achievement of Hong Kong pupils in the PIRLS 2011 study, focusing on parental and student factors. Data of 3,875 fourth graders from 132 primary schools and their parents or caregivers (n = 3,682) are involved in the analysis. Structural equation modeling supports the hypothesized model as tenable explaining 34% of the variance of reading achievement. Parental background acts as the fundamental factor that exerts an indirect effect on reading motivation, reading self-efficacy, and reading achievement of students via books at home and early reading abilities. Reading motivation and reading self-efficacy are found to be significant in influencing reading achievement. Implications for educational practices and future research are discussed.

Accuracy in direct behavior rating is minimally impacted by completion latency


Direct behavior ratings (DBRs) have been proposed as an efficient method to assess student behavior in the classroom due to their relative ease of administration compared to alternative methods like systematic direct observation. DBRs are considered low-inference assessments of behavior because they are designed to be completed immediately following a specified observation period of student behavior; however, in practice it is common for teachers and other respondents to delay completion of a DBR until they are reminded to do so. It is unclear what effect, if any, this latency between observation and DBR completion has on rater accuracy. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the effect of completion latency on accuracy in an analogue setting. Two-hundred forty-one undergraduate students (83.8% female) with a mean age of 21 participated across eight groups and were asked to complete an electronic DBR immediately after watching a video of student behavior or after a predetermined delay of 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, or 6 hours. A one-way analysis of variance revealed that there was no statistically significant relationship between completion latency and DBR accuracy, F(7, 233) = .959, p = .46, η2 = .028.

Factors related to resilience of academically gifted students in the chinese cultural and educational environment


This study examined variables in three domains (personal, parent support, and peer support) for their relationships with the resilience of academically gifted students in the Chinese cultural and educational environment. The participants were 484 academically gifted students in two highly competitive secondary schools (so-called “key” schools) in a metropolitan city in southern China. The constructs measured in the personal domain were resilience, hope, creativity, and curiosity. The constructs measured in the domain of parent support were parent trust, parent communication, and parent alienation. The constructs measured in the peer support domain were peer trust, peer communication, and peer alienation. Three nested regression models showed that the personal constructs (hope, creativity, and curiosity) were all related to the resilience of the academically gifted students. Parent support variables did not exhibit predictive effects over and above that of the personal constructs, but peer support variables did show additional predictive effects over and beyond personal variables and parent support variables. Explanations and implications were discussed for the findings, and some limitations of the study were also discussed.

Use of a technology-enhanced version of the good behavior game in an elementary school setting


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a variation of the Good Behavior Game (GBG) in which teachers used ClassDojo to manage each team's progress. ClassDojo is a computer-based program that enables teachers to award students with points for demonstrating target behaviors. Dependent variables included class-wide disruptive and academically engaged behavior, teachers’ ratings on the Behavior Intervention Rating Scale (BIRS), and the rate of teacher praise statements delivered in each phase. Overall, results indicated that the GBG with ClassDojo was effective at reducing disruptive behavior, increasing academically engaged behavior, and was rated as socially valid. Additionally, when the intervention was in place, increases in the amount of behavior-specific praise statements delivered were observed across all three classrooms.

Confirmatory factor analyses comparing parental involvement frameworks with secondary students


Given the lack of research on measurement models used to operationalize parental involvement with secondary students, the goal of this research is to examine the measurement properties of the three-domain conceptualization of parental involvement including school-based involvement, home-based involvement, and academic socialization, compared to a more nuanced six domain conceptualization school-based (1) school/parent communication, (2) attending school activities, home-based (3) home activities, (4) homework help, academic socialization, (5) parent–child communication about education, and (6) parental aspirations for child's education. When comparing the fit among the models, the six-factor model had best fit indices and indicated varied correlations among the subdomains. The six-factor model allowed for more nuanced variations among the subdomains that may be helpful when assessing parental involvement with high school students.

The relationship among achievement goals, standardized test scores, and elementary students’ focus in school


The study examined whether an academic, social, or both an academic and social focus might relate with achievement goals and academic achievement. Participants were 412 urban elementary school students. Results suggest that students with an academic focus toward school have more mastery-approach and less mastery-avoid achievement goals. Academic achievement (standardized test scores) did not relate with boys’ or girls’ focus toward school. These findings suggest that academic motivation, but not achievement, correspond with self-perceptions of school as being a place to learn or school as a place for social interactions.

Using children's literature to decrease moral disengagement and victimization among elementary school students


Previous research has suggested that moral disengagement is strongly associated with bullying and bystander behavior. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of a 5-week classroom-wide bullying intervention, The Bullying Literature Project-Moral Disengagement Version (BLP-MD), on moral disengagement and bullying among elementary school students. A quasiexperimental design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the BLP-MD. A sample of 84 third grade students (Mage = 7.93 years, 53.6% female) from four classrooms and their teachers participated in this study. The results revealed significant time by treatment interactions for decreasing both victimization and moral disengagement in treatment classrooms compared to waitlist control classrooms. The program also resulted in improved perception of peer friendships and was rated as having high social validity for both students and their teachers. How to incorporate the BLP-MD into the general language arts curriculum to decrease moral disengagement and bullying, and promote positive bystanding is discussed.

Exploring the latent structure of the Luria model for the KABC-II at school age: Further insights from confirmatory factor analysis


The present study examined the factor structure of the Luria interpretive model for the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition (KABC-II) with normative sample participants aged 7–18 (N = 2,025) using confirmatory factor analysis with maximum-likelihood estimation. For the eight subtest Luria configuration, an alternative higher-order model with Pattern Reasoning being permitted to cross-load on the Planning and Simultaneous Processing factors provided the best fit to the normative sample data. Variance apportionment suggests that additional consideration, beyond the omnibus Mental Processing Index, of the contribution of the first-order factor-based scores (i.e., SQ, SM, P, and L), and in some cases the individual subtests themselves, may be warranted. Implications for clinical interpretation and the anticipated normative update of the measurement instrument are discussed.

Developing local oral reading fluency cut scores for predicting high-stakes test performance


This study evaluated the classification accuracy of a second grade oral reading fluency curriculum-based measure (R-CBM) in predicting third grade state test performance. It also compared the long-term classification accuracy of local and publisher-recommended R-CBM cut scores. Participants were 266 students who were divided into a calibration sample (n = 170) and two cross-validation samples (n = 46; n = 50), respectively. Using calibration sample data, local fall, winter, and spring R-CBM cut scores for predicting students’ state test performance were developed using three methods: discriminant analysis (DA), logistic regression (LR), and receiver operating characteristic curve analysis (ROC). The classification accuracy of local and publisher-recommended cut scores was evaluated across subsamples. Only DA and ROC produced cut scores that maintained adequate sensitivity (≥.70) across cohorts; however, LR and publisher-recommended scores had higher levels of specificity and overall correct classification. Implications for developing local cut scores are discussed.

A mixed-method efficacy and fidelity study of Check and Connect


The effectiveness of the Check and Connect dropout prevention program was examined, over the course of 2 ½ years, with 54 middle school students from diverse backgrounds experiencing one or more conditions of risk for dropout. Participants were randomly assigned to receive the Check and Connect intervention or business as usual (i.e., control) in sixth grade. Students in the treatment group had significantly better eighth grade attendance than the control. There were no significant differences between the two groups in eighth grade cumulative grade point average or office disciplinary referrals. An in-depth analysis of the quality and quantity of the intervention delivered to the students in the treatment group identified conditions that were associated with higher treatment integrity and better student outcomes.

Issue Information


The effect of instructional quality on low- and high-performing students


The study assessed the effects of the quality of reading and math instruction and classroom climate on the academic skills and engagement of 314 children in 245 classrooms at the end of third grade. All of the children in the study were from families with low incomes. On a classroom observation measure developed for the study, regression analyses revealed that relatively high ratings on the reading and math instruction subscales, which were scored after a half-day observation, predicted better reading and math achievement test scores, respectively, for third graders who had previously had poor academic performance, but did not have a significant effect for relatively high-performing students. High teacher ratings on the reading instruction and classroom climate observation scales predicted high levels of student engagement. The findings suggest the importance of high-quality teaching for economically disadvantaged children who have poor academic skills.

Academic growth expectations for students with emotional and behavior disorders


Computer adaptive assessments were used to monitor the academic status and growth of students with emotional behavior disorders (EBD) in reading (N = 321) and math (N = 322) in a regional service center serving 56 school districts. A cohort sequential model was used to compare that performance to the status and growth of a national user base of more than 7,500,000 students without disabilities. Consistent with numerous previous findings, status or level of performance of students with EBD was consistently low relative to their nondisabled peers. However, for the most part the students with significant EBD demonstrated rates of growth similar to the nationwide sample of nondisabled peers. There was considerable variability in the academic growth of students across grades and between treatment programs, and this variability is described and discussed. Implications for policy and practice in student progress monitoring and teacher evaluation systems are discussed.

Protective factors for depressive symptoms in adolescents: Interpersonal relationships and perceived social support


The association between interpersonal relationships, perceived social support, and depressive symptoms in adolescents was investigated in the present study. The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depressive Symptoms Scale (CES-D-SF), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS), and Interpersonal Relationship Scale (IRS) were administered to 1,573 high school students. There were four main findings: all three types of interpersonal relationships (same-sex peer, opposite-sex peer, and teacher–student relationship) and perceived social support had direct effects on depressive symptoms; perceived social support was a mediator in the relationship between interpersonal relationships and depressive symptoms; gender differences were present in the relationship between interpersonal relationships and depressive symptoms; and the three types of interpersonal relationships exerted different effects on depressive symptoms between adolescent boys and girls. Same-sex relationships exerted the strongest effect on depressive symptoms among girls, whereas teacher–student relationships exerted the strongest effect among boys.

Using iPad tablets for self-modeling with preschoolers: Videos versus photos


As technology becomes more accessible and acceptable in the preschool setting, teachers need effective strategies of incorporating it to address challenging behaviors. A nonconcurrent delayed multiple baseline design in combination with an alternating treatment design was utilized to investigate the effects of using iPad tablets to display video self-modeling and activity photos for three preschoolers during circle time. During baseline, all three children demonstrated low levels of engagement and high levels of off-task behavior compared to peers. The intervention phase consisted of alternating between showing the child the self-video and photos prior to circle time. A child preference phase was conducted whereby each child self-selected the video or photo prior to circle time. For all three children both videos and photos led to increased engagement and decreased off-task behaviors. During the child preference phase, all three children selected the video most frequently. Social validity data demonstrated teacher and child preference for the video self-modeling condition.

Dynamic testing of gifted and average-ability children's analogy problem solving: Does executive functioning play a role?


In this study, dynamic testing principles were applied to examine progression of analogy problem solving, the roles that cognitive flexibility and metacognition play in children's progression as well as training benefits, and instructional needs of 7- to 8-year-old gifted and average-ability children. Utilizing a pretest training posttest control group design, participants were split in four subgroups: gifted dynamic testing (n = 22), gifted unguided practice (n = 23), average-ability dynamic testing (n = 31), and average-ability unguided practice (n = 37). Results revealed that dynamic testing led to more advanced progression than unguided practice, and that gifted and average-ability children showed equivalent progression lines and instructional needs. For children in both ability categories, cognitive flexibility was not found to be related to progression in analogy problem solving or training benefits. In addition, metacognition was revealed to be associated with training benefits. Implications for educational practice were provided in the discussion.

Implementing self-management within a group counseling context: Effects on academic enabling behaviors


Self-management interventions have been adapted to serve as targeted interventions to increase academic enabling behaviors in groups of students. However, a trade-off exists between adapting these interventions to feasibly fit group contexts and maintaining theoretical intervention components. This study examines the use of self-management within fourteen 40-minute group counseling sessions delivered by school psychology personnel to increase the academic enabling behaviors of three middle school students as rated by their teachers. Results of a multiple baseline design across students revealed slight to moderate improvements in academic enabling behaviors for two of the three students. Furthermore, usability results suggested that students found the intervention to be generally acceptable, understandable, and feasible. Implications for both future research and applied practice are discussed.

Evaluation of a school-based transition program designed to facilitate school reentry following a mental health crisis or psychiatric hospitalization


In recent decades, increasing attention has been paid to the number of adolescents experiencing extended absences from school due to mental health crises. Upon returning to school, these students often face difficulties in functioning, risk of relapse, and vulnerability to academic failure and social isolation. This paper presents results of a study examining a school-based support program model designed to provide short-term academic, social, and emotional support to help students successfully reacclimatize to school after an extended absence. The paper describes demographic, academic, and clinical characteristics of 189 program participants across eight high schools. Improvements were observed in participants’ day-to-day functioning based on the results of pre/postassessments completed by program clinicians. Preliminary data showed positive trends in participants’ school attendance and high school graduation rates. Finally, the paper considers implications for school-based mental health practice and next steps in related research.