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School Psychologists’ Perspectives on Social Justice Martha Ellen Wynne, Ph.D., David Shriberg, Ph.D., Angela Lombardo, M.Ed., Alissa Briggs, M.Ed., Gina.

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Presentation on theme: "School Psychologists’ Perspectives on Social Justice Martha Ellen Wynne, Ph.D., David Shriberg, Ph.D., Angela Lombardo, M.Ed., Alissa Briggs, M.Ed., Gina."— Presentation transcript:

1 School Psychologists’ Perspectives on Social Justice Martha Ellen Wynne, Ph.D., David Shriberg, Ph.D., Angela Lombardo, M.Ed., Alissa Briggs, M.Ed., Gina Bartucci, M.Ed., & Jennifer Costello, M.Ed. Loyola University Chicago Introduction and Study Goals Within the past few years, the construct “social justice” has been the subject of significant research, practice, and advocacy from professional groups related to school psychology (e.g., American Counseling Association [ACA], 2003; American Psychological Association [APA], 2003; Cambron-McCabe & McCarthy, 2005; Goodman et al., 2004; North, 2006). While socially just practice may be an aspiration that most, if not all, school psychologists likely support, there is a lack of research delineating how this term translates realistically to school psychology training and practice. In order to address this gap, this study sought to expand the discipline’s knowledge base and potential action steps related to social justice vis-à-vis a survey of a random sample of members of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Methods Participants Participants were 1,000 randomly selected NASP members. The survey response rate was 21.4%. Compared to recent NASP data reported by Curtis, Lopez, Batsche, and Smith (2006), respondents in this study were more likely to be female (78.8% versus 74%), less likely to be Caucasian (85.2% versus 92.6%), and were on average younger (M = 41.5 versus M = 46.2) than the typical NASP member. Instrument The Social Justice in School Psychology (SJSP) survey was piloted in the summer of 2008 with 44 participants. Survey items were developed based on study goals, using constructs identified in the Shriberg et al. (2008) Delphi study as conceptual anchors. The final version of the SJSP contained six primary sections plus a demographic section. The SJSP includes 27 items that ask participants to rate on a seven point Likert scale several constructs believed to be important to social justice. The SJSP also contains several open-ended questions asking respondents to provide examples and priorities for social justice within their work setting. Procedure In the fall of 2008, in partnership with NASP’s social justice interest group, 1,000 randomly selected NASP members received an email inviting them to complete the SJSP. Two follow-up emails were sent in subsequent weeks. All surveys were completed online. For the Likert items, a series of one-way ANOVAs were conducted to determine if there are differences in items based on the age, degree, and years of experience of respondents. Where significant differences were found, a post-hoc Tukey’s or Dunnets C (if equal variances could not be assumed) tests were conducted. In addition, paired-sample t-tests were used to determine if there were differences between item means. This survey contained four qualitative questions related to barriers and supports to social justice in school psychology at both the field wide and individual practice level. The responses to these questions were analyzed utilizing an inductive content analysis procedure following a process outlined by Creswell (2009). Results Goal #1: Defining Social Justice Respondents’ Mean Ratings Regarding Possible Components of the Definition of Social Justice ItemMSD Ensuring the protection of educational rights and opportunities for all students* 6.700.66 Promoting nondiscriminatory practice*6.670.67 Advocating for individuals or groups of students who may not be able to advocate for themselves 6.470.81 Being culturally responsive in service delivery 6.360.87 Preventing the over identification of minority groups for special education 5.981.22 Working to eliminate the achievement gap5.661.50 Connecting students and families to community resources 5.501.36 1= unimportant to the dimension, 7= critical to the definition *Items rated significantly higher than all others (except each other), p<.001 Goal #4: Social Justice and School Psychology Graduate Training Goal #2: Importance of Social Justice ItemMSD Best prevention and intervention practices 6.590.82 Ethical codes of conduct6.560.81 Issues related to cultural diversity6.360.84 Best assessment practices6.341.02 Issues related to children's mental health6.310.82 Effective collaboration skills6.310.90 Education law6.260.94 Current issues in education6.000.92 Utilizing school resources5.841.04 Utilizing community resources5.821.09 Consultation models5.811.15 Counseling skills5.761.17 Educational theory5.261.22 Psychological theories5.251.26 1= extremely unimportant, 7=extremely important *Item rated significantly higher than all others, p<.001 Building off the constructs developed by Shriberg et al. (2008) in their Delphi study on multicultural experts in psychology’s perspectives on social justice, this study sought to obtain NASP members’ perspectives on: 1.The definition of social justice within a school psychology perspective 2.The importance of the construct of social justice to school psychology research, practice, NASP, and continuing education 3.The relevance of institutional power as a key topic area in school psychology and social justice 4.The role of social justice within school psychology graduate training 5.The identification of practitioner activities that support social justice 6.The relative importance of barriers and supports related to promoting and implementing socially just school psychology practices 1= extremely unimportant, 7=extremely important *Item rated significantly higher than all others, p<.001 Respondents’ Mean Ratings Regarding the Importance of Social Justice to Four Areas ItemMSD How important is attention to social justice in school psychology practice?* 6.420.93 How important is attention to social justice in school psychology research? 6.101.06 How important is it for NASP to focus attention on social justice issues? 6.071.06 How important is social justice in planning professional development opportunities in school psychology? 5.941.13 Participants’ Ratings Regarding the Importance of Each Topic Area Toward School Psychology Graduate Students Becoming Prepared to Become Effective Agents of Social Justice Participants’ Ratings Regarding the Importance of Practice of Each of These Topic Areas in Practicum Experiences in Order to Prepare Students to be Effective Agents of Social Justice Item MSD Follow ethical codes of conduct*6.740.58 Employ best prevention and intervention practices6.510.87 Compliance with education law6.450.77 Employ best assessment practices6.440.89 Be informed on issues related to cultural diversity6.370.93 Employ effective collaboration skills6.300.91 Address children's mental health6.190.87 Practice consultation skills6.180.87 Be informed on current issues in education5.910.96 Utilize school resources5.911.08 Utilize community resources5.781.11 Practice counseling skills5.691.18 Practice various consultation models5.641.12 Apply psychological theories5.221.24 Apply educational theory5.151.25 Goal #3: Relevance of Institutional Power Respondents were asked, “Institutional power could be considered a topic that is salient to the discussion of social justice in school psychology. If institutional power could be defined as the exertion of control on individuals or groups by society's primary institutions, (i.e., schools, local education agencies, and government), do you agree or disagree that it is salient to the discussion of social justice in school psychology?” Given answer options of “agree or disagree,” 95% of respondents agreed that consideration of institutional power is salient to the discussion of social justice within school psychology. Respondents’ Mean Ratings Regarding Actions that School Psychologists Could Realistically Take in Order to Support Social Justice Item MSD Promote best practices in school psychology * 6.520.70 Conduct culturally fair assessments *6.470.86 Advocate for the rights of children and families * 6.460.76 Ensure adherence to laws6.390.81 Speak up when injustices are done6.260.90 Educate families on school and community resources6.021.11 Be leaders in the educational setting5.971.00 Build positive schools5.801.11 Take personal responsibility in being a social change agent 5.751.27 Build alliances between school personnel and the community 5.521.21 Be active outside of schools (i.e., in research and associations) 5.251.18 Work towards organizational change5.231.29 Take personal risks in promoting institutional change**4.731.52 Goal #5: Practitioner Activities That Support Social Justice 1= extremely unrealistic, 7=extremely realistic *Items rated significantly higher than all other items (except each other), p<.001. **Item rated significantly lower than all other items, p<.001 Respondents’ Ratings Regarding Degree to Which Certain Factors Facilitate or Impede the Achievement of Social Justice through Service Delivery 1=extremely impeding, 7=extremely facilitating Goal #6: Barriers and Supports Conclusion Ensuring the protection of rights and opportunities and promoting non-discriminatory practice identified as most central components of social justice definition (matches North (2006) model well) Knowledge of best prevention and intervention practices and ethical practice seen as most central to graduate training and practicum experiences in support of social justice Promoting best practices, conducting fair assessments, and advocating for the rights of children and families seen as most realistic actions school psychologists can take to support social justice Taking personal risks in promoting institutional change seen as least realistic action school psychologists can take to support social justice Knowledge of the law seen as a bigger factor than anticipated as a facilitator of the achievement of social justice through effective service delivery Caseloads and excessive testing and assessment emerged as biggest barriers to achieving social justice ItemMSD Knowledge of the law5.421.37 Community involvement4.821.58 Family involvement4.711.70 Equity of placement and services4.311.66 Amount of time spent in violence interventions + 4.101.17 Role of school administration3.941.85 Allocation of resources + 3.461.77 Lack of cultural diversity in the field of school psychology3.431.48 Culturally insensitive testing and assessment + 3.271.81 Schedules3.171.58 Excessive testing and assessment2.961.60 School psychologists' case loads2.721.83


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