Department of Teacher Education
Dr. Korrine M. Gust
3 May 2007
Interview of School Psychologist
On Thursday April 26, 2007, I interviewed Kimberly Mobley, School Psychologist for Whitko Community Schools: During our interview, we discussed several tests and other topics related to special education. We began our interview talking about a presentation that Kimberly gave about Response to Intervention (RtI), and how it can be used to aide in determining eligibility for special education services.
As learned earlier in the semester, until recently, the discrepancy model was used as the main instrument in determining eligibility for services; however with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) (2002) a greater demand was placed on actual tests to show eligibility more clearly, in addition to multiple means to determine eligibility. Kimberly stated from her own research that there was "a greater need for scientific data that involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to education activities and programs.” (http://eric.uoregon.edu/publications/digests/digest167.html) From this statement, I thought back to Educational Psychology and other classes, where we learned that goals and objectives must be measurable and attainable. With the increasing demands by the state, for teachers, we must be sure that what we teach our students that we meet those objectives.
The second point that Kimberly talked about was the need for schools to meet Annual Yearly Progress and how No Child Left Behind requires Disaggregated Data. She stated that the point behind disaggregating the data "is to remove the special education 'label' from students." She also said "the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) does not always guarantee that students will be exposed to the best interventions, thereby improving performance," and that "progress monitoring is done best by using authentic assessment, or student produced works." Using authentic assessment would compare a student only to him/herself over time, as opposed to the entire school. Doing so would allow educators to give more precise and specific intervention to a particular student, thereby increasing success of that student. We also talked briefly about overrepresentation of students. Kimberly stated that the National Association of State Directors of Special Education defines Response to Intervention as “a general education practice of providing high-quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make decisions about changes in instruction or goals and applying child response data to important educational decisions.” What this does for special education is that it gives an increased student centered emphasis, where the individual student is the main focus more so than the special education program as a whole. In terms of developing the Individualized Education Plan, this approach to intervention allows for educators to take the data they collect over time, and develop educational goals and objectives from the data. After this discussion, we moved into talking about test administration.
We first talked about norm-referenced assessment. Norm-referenced tests are "tests designed to yield average performance scores, which maybe used for comparing individual student performances.” Kimberly named several norm-referenced tests she uses; however, she said the most used is the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children Fourth Edition. (Weschler, 2003) This test designed, for students 6-0 to 16-11 is scored using full scale IQ in addition to index scores for each individual. Kimberly stated that there are four main indexes to this test: Verbal Comprehension Index, Perceptual Reasoning Index, Working Memory Index and Processing Speed Index. The...