School Psychology Services for English Language Learners

This research theme has pursued a number of projects centered around school psychology services for English Learners.

ELL Assessment Practices of Washington School Psychologists

This project will explore current practices and also training needs of school psychologists in the area of assessment of English Language Learners. One the most challenging assessment situations for school psychologists is dealing with a referral for academic concerns for English Language Learners. School psychologists need to rule out the possible influence of various other factors when determining whether a learning disability might be the primary contributor to academic difficulties. Many of the assessment tools (academic and cognitive tests) that school psychologists use may not be appropriate for use with students who are English Language Learners, and when they are used extreme care is needed when interpreting results. This project will explore a number of issues related to this assessment situation by surveying current school psychologists.

The first phase of the project was a survey of school psychologists in WA state. The survey was adapted from a previously published study conducted in the Midwestern US (Marrs & Eccles, 2009 LINK). During the 2017-2018 academic year, the research team surveyed school psychologists across the state and some initial data analysis was completed. Data analysis and presentation of results is currently ongoing.

Screening and Progress Monitoring for English Language Learners

With the growth in the English Language Learner (ELL) population, an important issue for schools is using screening and progress monitoring data on academic skills to effectively support ELLs. This project is focused on developing best practices for school teams in the evaluation of screening and progress monitoring data (such as Curriculum-based Measurement) for students at various levels of English proficiency. Better use of screening and progress monitoring data may help to reduce the reliance on standardized test results and lead to more appropriate intervention and eligibility decisions.

Needs of Mixtec Students in Washington Schools

This project explored the educational and social needs of a unique cultural group in the state of Washington. Many students from Mixtec backgrounds have unique needs due to their previous experiences with education as well as their language backgrounds. This project is focused on developing a broader knowledge of Mixtec students and identifying ideas for school districts to better serve this population.