A comparative study of the effects on teachers' perceptions of school psychologists and on the utilization of psychological reports of two approaches to the report recommendations

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Simmermon, Judith Lynnell
Bennett, Carson M.
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The purpose of this study was to determine if the type of recommendations made by the school psychologist on the psychological report affected teacher perception of the school psychologist and if the type of recommendations influenced the frequency of utilization of the report. An attempt was made in this study to make the recommendations of the report more useful to special education teachers. Since their training included knowledge of methods and materials to use with children with problems, areas typically covered in the recommendations of a psychological report, these areas were deleted. In this study the recommendations were made which directed the teachers to prewritten goals which could be used in writing a student's individual educational plan (IEP). As a requirement of the Education for Handicapped Children Act, 1975, an IEP with long and short-range goals must be written for each child in special education. An assumption was made that by lessening the teacher's work in writing the IEP, the school psychologist might be perceived as more useful. An end result might be a more positive attitude toward the school psychologist as well as an increased utilization of the report. The pre-written IEP goals used in the study were the 2,400 "identifying behaviors" of the Behavioral Characteristics Progression published by the Vort Corporation. These field-tested behaviors were developmentally sequenced into 59 goal areas.The subjects included all of the Coweta county (Georgia) special education teachers (N = 32) whose students were required to have a psychoeducational evaluation before entrance into those teachers' respective programs. All the teachers were licensed by the state of Georgia as certified or provisionally certified special education teachers.The posttest only control group design was used. The subjects were randomly assigned to groups Table of Random Numbers. Each group, control and experimental, had an N of 16. A six-month duration was set. Both groups received the exact treatment exception of the independent variable, the type of recommendations made in the written psychological report. All the subjects in both groups were asked to mark a tracking sheet which had been attached to each psychological report. The tracking sheet listed eight instances for which a psychological report could be used. The subjects were to mark the appropriate instance each time the report was used. The tracking sheet was developed by the researcher for this study. At the end of six' months the tracking sheets were collected and a semantic differential using 15 pairs of bipolar factor analyzed evaluation-loaded adjectives derived from C. E. Osgood's work was administered to all subjects. The semantic differential was used to measure attitude toward the school psychologist. The tracking sheets were used to determine frequency of utilization of the psychological reports.A t-test for independent samples was performed using the mean scores from the semantic differentials and yielded an insignificant difference (at the .05 level of confidence) in attitude toward the school psychologist as a result of the treatment of recommendations. One dimensional chi square statistical procedures were applied to determine if the frequency of utilization of the reports was significant between the two groups. The frequency of utilization was significantly greater (at the .05 level of confidence) as a result the treatment of the recommendations.Based upon analysis of the data the following conclusions were made:1. No significant difference in attitude toward the school psychologist existed between two groups of special education teachers as a result of the treatment of recommendations in the psychological report.2. As a result of the treatment of the recommendations in the psychological report, the frequency of utilization of the report significantly increased.