Teachers' Perceptions of School Psychologists: The Impact of Response to Intervention (RtI) Services
Past research has shown varied perceptions of the role of school psychologists. Administrators and teachers have been surveyed to assess their knowledge of the roles of school psychologists and whether school psychological services are helpful. As Response to Intervention (RtI) has been implemented in the schools since the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), another layer has been added to the role of school psychologists. There is limited research assessing the impact RtI has had on teachers' perceptions of school psychologists. The present study assessed teachers' perceptions of the role of school psychologists and explored the impact that RtI has had on these perceptions, particularly whether RtI implementation changes teachers' perceptions. This study explored how knowledgeable teachers were about school psychologists' roles, how helpful school psychological services were perceived and characteristics associated with school psychologists. A total of 110 teachers from Baldwin Union Free School District, in Baldwin, NY completed the survey; teachers' responses were examined based on their background regarding RtI implementation, as well their teaching experiences in special vs regular education. Results indicated that teachers who implemented RtI reported more knowledge of RtI services (p < .001), and more awareness of how often school psychologists engaged in team meetings (p = .04) and RtI services (p < .001) than teachers who had not implemented RtI. Teachers who implemented RtI services also reported more awareness of various services offered by school psychologists including, in-service training (p = .01), Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Intervention Plan (FBA/MP) development (p = .03) and providing RtI services (p < .001). Special education teachers reported more awareness of how often school psychologists engaged in individual counseling (p = .04) and in FBA/BIP development than general education teachers (p < .001). Special education teachers also reported more awareness of the various services offered by school psychologists including, in-service training (p = .01), team meetings (p = .01) and FBA/BIP development (p = .04). Special education teachers reported utilizing the services of the school psychologist ( p < .001), and the recommendations in a psychological report more (p < .001) than general education teachers. An unexpected result was found regarding teachers' ratings of the degree of problem severity required to involve the school psychologist, the difference between special and general education teachers' ratings was actually significantly greater (p < .01) when RtI was implemented. There were significant relationships between school psychologists' interpersonal skills, problem solving skills, consultation skills, professionalism and likability and teachers' ratings of perceived helpfulness (p < .01) and general satisfaction (p < .05) of their school psychologist. These findings appear to underscore the importance of teachers' experience with RtI and special education as factors that significantly influence differences in their knowledge of perceived satisfaction with and helpfulness of certain school psychological services. With RtI implementation, general education teachers may be more inclined to seek help from school psychologists sooner. Implications for school psychologists and future research are discussed.^
Ilana Christine Ricks,
"Teachers' Perceptions of School Psychologists: The Impact of Response to Intervention (RtI) Services"
(January 1, 2015).
ETD Collection for Pace University.