School Psychology Service Provisions Within a Public Health Model
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The purpose of this study was to explore specific activities school psychologists performed related to both testing and placing within a medical model and prevention within a public health model. Spurred by landmark legal mandates, school districts are moving toward preventative practice within a framework consistent with tenets of a public health model or Response to Intervention (RtI) framework. These activities are counter to traditional test-and-place activities performed by school psychologists associated with a medical model of service delivery. School psychologists assigned to 41 elementary schools in the northwest corner of Oregon completed a survey that included activities associated with testing-and-placing students typified by a medical model and those activities akin to a public health model. All schools participating in this study implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is a widely implemented evidence-based practice in education that emphasizes prevention, and is a reflection of RtI or the public health model. Although PBIS was a common denominator across all schools, there were differences in overall implementation effectiveness as measured by the School-wide Evaluation Tool (SET). This study investigated the degree to which activities performed by school psychologists impacted PBIS implementation in their buildings. School psychologists estimated the frequency devoted to these activities. Frequency served as a proxy for priority and also defined the service models that guided their practices. In addition to this descriptive statistical analysis, inferential statistics were used to measure the correlation between the School Psychologist Survey, the SET-General Index scores, and the SET-Behavior Expectations Index scores. A multiple-regression analysis was also conducted to determine which variable (i.e., SET-General Index or SET-Behavior Expectations Index) was the best predictor of outcome data from the School Psychologist Survey. These data were also entered into scatterplots to provide interpretations of meaningful statistical significance for an in-depth analysis of the School Psychologist Survey, SET-General Index, and SET-Behavior Index scores. This study is important because it potentially provides school psychologists with specific preventative activities they can perform within a public health model of service delivery to make contributions for improving the overall school environment for students.