|From the ERIC database
Cooperation between School Psychologists and Counselors in Assessment. ERIC Digest.
The role of school psychologists and counselors in assessment is well established and is a frequent research topic. For example, a review of the ERIC database from 1987 to 1994 revealed 64 entries for "assessment and school psychology" and 622 entries for "assessment and counseling." Similar results were obtained for a review of the Psychological Abstracts database with 146 entries for "assessment and school psychology" and 924 entries for "assessment and counseling." However, studies that explored the joint role of counselors and school psychologists in assessment could not be located. With the current emphasis on collaboration in schools and the use of a pupil services model to deliver services of counselors, school psychologists, school social workers and school nurses, it is important to examine ways in which school psychologists and counselors can work together in the assessment process.
SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS AND ASSESSMENT
COUNSELORS AND ASSESSMENT
Both school psychologists and counselors are involved in the assessment process with differing emphases and orientations that are complementary to each other. School psychologists often emphasize the use of quantitative approaches to measure ability and academic skills while counselors often utilize developmental as well as qualitative approaches to assess personality characteristics, interests, and aptitudes. The two approaches, when combined, can offer a more comprehensive picture of a student than either approach alone.
MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS AND COLLABORATION
Collaboration, of course, is not a new concept. Sullivan (1993) describes it as "a reform movement that has been gaining in momentum over the past five years" (p. 1) and suggests that it was created as a response to the fragmentation in service delivery that often occurs in educational and mental health settings. Both benefits and obstacles are associated with collaboration. A major benefit of collaboration is the opportunity to create a more comprehensive approach to service delivery. It facilitates development and sharing of new perspectives on how students can be served and promotes improved communication among those working with students. Collaboration can also foster an emphasis on prevention and can create more effective services by reducing duplication. In order for collaboration to be successful, however, it must receive support at all levels and participants must display cooperation and trust (Sullivan, 1993).
RECOMMENDATION FOR COLLABORATION
The increased focus on involving families in prevention and intervention programs offers counselors and school psychologists the opportunity to collaborate in a number of ways. Activities in which the two sets of professionals can work together include family counseling, parent training, and the development and implementation of behavior management programs in the home. The assessment skills of both specialties can also be utilized to develop evaluation procedures to examine the effectiveness of programs.
Within the school setting itself, a number of opportunities exist for counselors and school psychologists to work together. These include developing support groups for students, working with classroom teachers to implement developmental guidance materials and curriculum within the classroom, and developing aggression/violence prevention programs and curricula. By utilizing the unique assessment training and expertise of counselors and school psychologists we can develop a more accurate picture of the whole student and his or her specific needs. In this way more effective intervention and prevention programs can be developed and implemented.
Hood, A., & Johnson, R. (1991). Assessment in counseling: A guide to the use of psychological assessment procedures. Alexandria, VA: American Association for Counseling and Development.
Smith, D. K., Clifford, E. S., Hesley, J., & Leifgren, M. (1992). The school psychologist of 1991: A survey of practitioners. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association of School Psychologists, Nashville, TN.
Smith, D. K., & Mealy, N. S. (1988). Changes in school psychology practice: A five-year update. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of American Psychological Association, Atlanta, GA. ED 302 782.
Sullivan, D. (1993). Benefits and obstacles to collaboration. Madison, WI: Bureau for Pupil Services, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Vernon, A. (1993). Developmental assessment and intervention with children and adolescents. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.
Douglas K. Smith, Ph.D., NCSP, is Professor of School Psychology, Chairperson of the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, and directs the School Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
ERIC Digests are in the public domain and may be freely reproduced and disseminated. This publication was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Contract No. RR93002004. Opinions expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the positions of the U.S. Department of Education, OERI, or ERIC/CASS
Title: Cooperation between School Psychologists and Counselors in Assessment. ERIC Digest.
Descriptors: * Cooperation; Elementary Secondary Education; Evaluation Methods; Evaluation Problems; * Evaluators; Psychological Evaluation; Psychological Testing; * School Counselors; * School Psychologists; * Student Evaluation; Student Problems; Testing
Identifiers: ERIC Digests
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