Presentation on theme: "A Paradigm Shift: Integration of Positive Psychology into the Schools and Implications for Assessment Sarah Napolitan, Ed.S., NCSP Bensalem Township School."— Presentation transcript:
1 A Paradigm Shift: Integration of Positive Psychology into the Schools and Implications for AssessmentSarah Napolitan, Ed.S., NCSPBensalem Township School DistrictIndiana University of Pennsylvania
2 Overview The Medical Model Positive Psychology History, Origin, and ShortcomingsPositive PsychologyBeneficiariesResilience/Developmental AssetsPositive Psychological Approaches to AssessmentSpecific assessments, measures, tests, scalesPositive Psychological Approaches to the Psychoeducational EvaluationApplication to InterventionConclusions
3 A Brief History Prior to WWII Post WWII Development of three goals Cure mental illnessMake the lives of all people more fulfillingEnhance and identify human excellencePost WWIIFocus of psychology shiftedEnter the medical modelIQMental health(Terjesen, Jacofsky, Froh & DiGuiseppe, 2004)
4 The Medical Model Physical, mental, academic, social, etc. Primary foundationPathology, deficit, abnormalPhysical, mental, academic, social, etc.Treatment, therapy, programmingAlleviate deficits, restore normalcy
5 Concerns Surrounding this Model Issues with the Medical ModelReach and applicability to diverse groups in needEffectiveness with longstanding ‘dysfunction’ (Cowen & Kilmer, 2002)Positive aspects of existence overlookedsubjective well-beinghappinessquality of lifepositive emotion (Chaufouleas & Bray, 2004).
6 School Psychology and the Medical Model Most function within this modelFocus on identifying deficits within childrento make placement decisions and/or for service deliveryidentification of a deficit or pathology will guide treatmentCognitive tests, achievement tests, and behavioral scalesprimarily used as instruments deigned to pinpoint the extent to which a student is exhibiting a deficit
7 “Prescribing” to the Deficit When a student is ‘prescribed’ a treatment according to their deficitDirectly related to a struggle (reading or math)Can experience significant frustration and a decrease in their self-confidenceDrop Out Rate31% of students classified as having SLD, 29% of students with Mental Retardation, and 56% of students with an Emotional Disturbance(U.S. Department of Education, 2005).
8 The Birth of Positive Psychology Search for empirically supported researchDocumenting the positive effects of a variety of strengthsAct as buffers against what psychologists have been studying for so long (mental illness, anxiety, etc.)optimisminterpersonal skillsfaithwork ethichopehonestyperseveranceinsightcreativityfuture-mindedness(Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).
9 Positive Psychology Components Positive personal traits that contribute to a positive life experienceImplications for mental and physical healthThe fostering of excellence (including giftedness)Well-beingDevelopment of positivityNeuroscience and heritabilityEnjoyment and pleasureAuthenticityBufferingThese areas encompass the positive aspects of human existencebeing further examined to determine their benefitshow they can be fostered in people to help children and adults
10 Positive Psychology and School Psychology Not a new concept (2000 APA)ConsultationStrengths-based approachesResiliency
11 Positive Psychology and School Psychology, Who Benefits?
12 Positive Psychology and School Psychology: At-risk Youth Chen (1993)Children at-risk for school failurereported to have positive experiences of being effective and productive when working in their areas of strengthGardner- Harvardpromoting a likely increase oftheir own feelings ofsatisfaction and self-worth
13 Had the assessment been limited to these two areas (reading and math), these children’s strengths would have gone undetected and could not have served as a bridge for extending interest and involvement to other areas of the curriculum (Chen, 1993).
14 Positive Psychology and School Psychology: Cultural Implications School psychologists with more multicultural expertise think from a strengths perspective rather than diagnosticallyStrict separation of church and state when working with children and families, despite the fact that spirituality and faith may be aprimary source of support for thatfamily/child (Jones 2008).
15 “By learning about and exploring strengths within a given culture, the school psychologist learns what supports are currently working, who is involved with providing that support, and how to facilitate growth within that culture and the support network (Jones, 2008, p.1779)”
16 Positive Psychology and School Psychology: Urban School Psychology Strengths-based approachstudents have inherent strengthsstrengths may not coincide with the belief systems that traditionally spring from middle-class values
17 Urban School Psychology When working with at-risk youth in urban settingsPractitioners reportedly focus “only on the negatives” (Miranda & Olivo, 2008, p.1184)Difficult to see positive aspects that a student exhibitsMay inhibit the identification of a solution (Miranda & Olivo, 2008).
18 Positive Programming: Resiliency and the Developmental Assets
19 Competence Development and Resiliency Directly related to certain competencies that serve as buffers to protect students from stressImportant that school psychologists pay attention and utilize what positive psychology has found in these areas (positive assessments)Enhancing personal competencies and protective factors across multiple environments is necessary to foster resiliency in whole populations of children and youth(Clonan, Chafouleas, McDougal, & Riley-Tillman, 2004)
20 Developmental Assets Programming Programs for at-risk students aimed at prevention which utilize developmental assets and resiliency building with at-risk students yield promising results(Edwards, Mumford, Shillingford, & Serra-Rodan, 2007)Using these internal and external developmental assets to build resiliency has been shown to be an effective preventative program for at-risk students(Morrison, Brown, D’Incau, O’Farrell, & Furlong, 2006)
21 Programs to Foster Resilience Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS)SkillstreamingPenn Resiliency ProgramGroup intervention for late elementary and middle school studentsTeaches cognitive-behavioral and social problem-solving skills and is based in part on cognitive-behavioral theories of depression by Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis, and Martin SeligmanOlweus Bullying ProgramPromote social norms that are positiveSkillbuilding, structuring and integration of school and family effortsFishful Thinking (new!)Helping parents foster resilience, optimism and support in their children
22 Positive Psychological Approaches to Assessment for School Psychologists
23 Why Positive Assessment? Developmental assets, resiliency factors, specific personality characteristics, and motivation levelsfacilitate and enhancehappiness, physical health,mental health, andacademic performance(Post, 2005; Gomez & Mei-Mei, 2006; Park & Peterson, 2003; Gillham, Gallop, & Seligman, 2007; Cox, 2006)
24 Applicability to the Field Reliable and valid instruments to assess these attributesDirect linkages to interventions tailored to strength-building, strength enhancementapplication of these strengths in the academic setting.
26 Assessment of Happiness Authentic Happiness Index (AHI)Contains 24 itemsHomework assignments, child can complete individually to increaseGood reliability and validityShown to increase a person’s level of happinessOnline ( and free(Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)
27 Strength Assessment VIA Signature Strength Survey for Children 180-item assessmentyields upwards of 24 different strengths in order of prevalence for the childGood reliability and validitySchool psychologists could use the VIA for children and encourage strength usageGuide to empower childrenStrength recognition(Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005)
28 Assessment of Perceived Life Quality PQOL ScaleGood reliability and validityAllow school psychologists to see how the student views their own classroom and life experienceAble to determine what variables need altered for best fostering of positive behavior(Huebner, Suldo, Smith, & McKnight, 2004)
29 Linking Assessment to Intervention Gain insight concerning how a student perceives his or her own lifeimplement interventions based on the resultsInterventions have been found which could possibly increase a child's PQOLstrengthening family and peer supports through parent consultation and social skills trainingincreased involvement in meaningful and structured activities (increased flow)improvement in problem-solving skillsaim to enhance the fit between the student and their environment.properly mediate behavior and environmental influences(Huebner, et. al., 2004).
31 Assessment of Hopefulness Children's Hope Scale (CHS)Identifies children who exhibit high hope levels (ages 8-16)Good reliability and validityThese children can serve as models for other children who may benefit from more hopeful thinking (Terjesen, et. al., 2004).Peer thinking programs to enhance positive thought?
32 Attributional StyleSeligman's Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire (1995) sample not availableFor students ages 8-13includes 48 items divided equally between positive (‘You get an ‘‘A’’ on a test’) and negative events (‘You break a glass’)Each option represents the presence or absence of one attribution dimension (for example, an internal or external cause)Child believes events to be caused primarily by internal or external factors and gives insight into a child's locus of controlGood reliability and validityCan request a sample for nonprofit research
33 Curiosity and Exploration The Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI)self-report instrumentindividual differences in the recognition, pursuit, and integration of novel and challenging experiences and informationshows moderately large positive relationships with intrinsic motivation, reward sensitivity, openness to experience, and subjective vitalitySchool psychologists may use this assessment in order to simultaneously examine motivation, positive affect, and sensitivity to rewards that can help guideinterventions for motivation increase andreward appropriateness(Kashdan, Rose & Fincham, in press)
34 Linking Assessment to Intervention Add attributional style to intervention design in order to enhance locus of control or take into consideration when implementing interventionsIncorporating assessment results and providing specific goals for the child within the IEP
35 What about the deficits? School psychologists and educators will be addressing and reinforcing student strengths, and thereby indirectly addressing student weaknesses (Terjesen, et. al.,2004).School psychologists are askinga different question, yet stillproviding an answer
36 Positive Assessment: School Success and School Environment
37 Assessment of School Success School Success Profile (SSP)(Bowen, Woolley, Richman, & Bowen, 2001)junior high and high school studentsElementary School Success Profile (ESSP)Grade 3-5(Bowen, 2006)
38 Assessment of School Success Measures the social environmental domains of neighborhood, school, friends, and family and collecting data from multiple sources, including parents, teachers, and childrenAssesses student well-being, behavior, and school performance.Free corresponding web site (www. schoolsuccessprofile.org) with links to evidence based interventionsGood reliability and validity
39 Positive Assessment of School Environment Assessing a students’ perceived quality of school lifeMultidimensional Students’ Life Satisfaction Scale (MSLSS)Emphasizing what teacher is doing correctlyShowing the particular school consistent strengths that are found within multiple students’ self-reports(MSLSS; Huebner, 1994)
40 Positive Assessment of School Environment Patterns of strengths and weaknessesallow school psychologists to identify supports already in place within the instructional environmenthelp teachers and districts maintain a positive perspective on their performance while still drawing attention to areas of need(MSLSS; Huebner, 1994)
41 Positive Approaches to the Psychoeducational Evaluation Process
42 Positive Psychology and the Psychoeducational Evaluation (Gleason, 2007) Observationsobserving the student holisticallyinterpretations grounded in contextnoticing what the child can do rather than what he or she cannot dostudying the events and contextual conditions that occur during the "best" timesusing quantitative measures that focus on strengthsand identifying potential next stepsWhat motivates this student?
43 Positive Psychology and the Psychoeducational Evaluation (Gleason, 2007) Parent/Teacher Interviewsasking parents what their child responds best towhat tribulations their child may have overcomeinquiring as to their child’s specific strengths“What classroom tasks does this child enjoy? What have you done that helps this student the most?”set the stage for outlining a students’ strengths and incorporating similar activities or instructional strategies into a child’s SDI/goals
44 Positive Psychology and the Psychoeducational Evaluation (Gleason, 2007) Student InterviewsStudent interviews can involve their own perception of their strengths, desires, and dreamsA vocational assessment (SDS) is especially appropriate to glean more information pertaining to career development in terms of strengths and interests
45 Positive Psychology and the Psychoeducational Evaluation (Gleason, 2007) Adaptive Measures/Behavioral ScalesBehavioral Assessment System for Children-Second Edition (BASC-II) or the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS)point out relative strengths and utilize those strengths in program developmentprovide a source of hope and enjoyment for a student within their education
46 Positive Psychology and the Psychoeducational Evaluation (Gleason, 2007) Feedback/MDEstrengths should always be reported to teachers and parentsMDE/IEP meetings can include creative brainstorming of interventions to match student strengthsexample, if John is close to his uncle and loves animals but is struggling in reading, have John read books about animals with his uncle
47 Application to Intervention Protective Factor/ StrengthRisk Factor/ NeedPositive Linkage to InterventionParent reports child loves to be around/work with younger childrenChild is highly disruptive during art classArrange for child to be helper/co-teacher for kindergarten art class 1-2 times/week
48 Application to Intervention Protective Factor/ StrengthRisk Factor/ NeedPositive Linkage to InterventionChild loves to create things and put things togetherChild cannot follow classroom routinePut daily routine in puzzle form, have child cut it out and put it together for the class
49 Application to Intervention Protective Factor/ StrengthRisk Factor/ NeedPositive Linkage to InterventionStudent had very high “A” score on SDSStudent is having trouble knowing when assignments are dueHave student create their own calendar in art class and insert homework assignments
50 ConclusionMajority of scales, questionnaires, and assessments have good test-retest reliability and validitymany have not been applied directly to an academic settinghave not been used for programming or interventionleaving much room for more research and exploration.Medical Model presents problems which could be alleviated- or at least balanced- by this new and hopeful methodology
51 Conclusion Assessments outlined alter instructional environment provide “jumping off” points for building developmental assets and resiliencyincorporate preventative measures for students who are identified as at-riskassess the instructional environment in a way that is less threatening to teachers and schools
52 ConclusionPositive assessment has the potential to help school psychologists provide hope, support, and appropriate interventions to students, parents, and schoolsmanner consistent with all of the goals of psychologywithout a sole focus on deficits
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