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A survey of school psychology practice in British Columbia Merx, Tanya M.

Abstract

Major questions regarding the roles of school psychologists and delivery system reforms have appeared in the school psychology literature over the last of couple decades (Benson & Hughes, 1985; Fagan & Wise, 2000; Jackson, Balinky, & Lambert, 1993; Jerrell, 1984; Lacayo, Morris, & Sherwood, 1981; Reschly, 1988; Reschly & Wilson, 1995; Roberts & Rust, 1994). Consequently, many U.S. national survey studies have been conducted (Anderson, Cancelli, & Kratochwill, 1984; Benson & Hughes, 1985; Curtis, Chesno Grier, Walker Abshier, Sutton, & Hunley, 2002; Fischer, Jenkins, & Crumbley, 1986; Hutton & Dubes, 1992; Lacayo et al., 1981; Reschly & Wilson, 1995; Smith, 1984; Smith, Clifford, Hesley, & Leifgren, 1992; Stinnett, Havey, & Oehler-Stinnett,1994). However, there is little current empirical research on the roles and functions of school psychologists in British Columbia. Research is needed to help assess the state of the art in this province and explain what psychologists are doing. The profession of school psychology is unregulated in B.C. and so it is possible that persons practicing in the schools have a variety of training and offer a variety of services. Further, there is much existing uncertainty regarding the future path of the profession (Benson, 2002). The purpose of this study is to explore the job roles and functions of practicing school psychologists in B.C. and to examine the impact of various personal, professional, and job-site characteristics and external influences on job roles and functions. Survey methodology (N=42) was used with five select follow-up interviews for a sample of school psychologists around the province. Results revealed that the majority of respondents held a masters degree in school or educational psychology. Although respondents allocated a majority of their professional time to the role of assessment, school psychologists occupied a broad number of roles and desired to increase their time allocated to the other roles of interventions, consultation, counseling, and research and evaluation. Further, job roles were impacted by the number of students and schools served by psychologists, and psychologists' supervisors' field of specialization.

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