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School Psychology Quarterly - Vol 32, Iss 3

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School Psychology Quarterly The flagship scholarly journal in the field of school psychology, the journal publishes empirical studies, theoretical analyses and literature reviews encompassing a full range of methodologies and orientations, including educational, cognitive, social, cognitive behavioral, preventive, dynamic, multicultural, and organizational psychology. Focusing primarily on children, youth, and the adults who serve them, School Psychology Quarterly publishes information pertaining to populations across the life span.
Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association
  • Meta-analysis of the effects of academic interventions and modifications on student behavior outcomes.
    The current study examined the effect of academic interventions and modifications on behavioral outcomes in a meta-analysis of 32 single-case design studies. Academic interventions included modifying task difficulty, providing instruction in reading, mathematics, or writing, and contingent reinforcement for academic performance. There was an overall small to moderate effect (ϕ = .56) on behavioral outcomes, with a stronger effect on increasing time on task (ϕ = .64) than on decreasing disruptive behavior (ϕ = .42). There was a small effect for using a performance-based contingent reinforcer (ϕ = .48). Interventions completed in an individual setting resulted in a moderate to large effects on behavior outcomes. Results of the current meta-analysis suggest that academic interventions can offer both positive academic and behavioral outcomes. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are included. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • On-Task in a Box: An evaluation of a package-ready intervention for increasing levels of on-task behavior and academic performance.
    The present study tested the efficacy of the On-Task in a Box program for increasing on-task behavior and academic accuracy of highly off-task students. Six students in 2nd and 3rd grades were identified by their classroom teacher as highly off-task. Following identification, the students participated in the On-Task in a Box intervention. Results of the study found immediate and large effects, which were maintained following discontinuation of the intervention. Collateral improvements in accuracy on math probes completed during independent seatwork were also observed. Teacher and participant responses to intervention acceptability questionnaires indicate the program was viewed positively. Implications for school-based adoption of the program are presented, and limitations and future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Effects of mischievous responding on universal mental health screening: I love rum raisin ice cream, really I do!
    Student surveys are often used for school-based mental health screening; hence, it is critical to evaluate the authenticity of information obtained via the self-report format. The objective of this study was to examine the possible effects of mischievous response patterns on school-based screening results. The present study included 1,857 high school students who completed a schoolwide screening for complete mental health. Student responses were reviewed to detect possible mischievous responses and to examine their association with other survey results. Consistent with previous research, mischievous responding was evaluated by items that are legitimate to ask of all students (e.g., How much do you weigh? and How many siblings do you have?). Responses were considered “mischievous” when a student selected multiple extreme, unusual (less than 5% incidence) response options, such as weighing more than 225 pounds and having 10 or more siblings. Only 1.8% of the students responded in extreme ways to 2 or more of 7 mischievous response items. When compared with other students, the mischievous responders were less likely to declare that they answered items honestly, were more likely to finish the survey in less than 10 min, reported lower levels of life satisfaction and school connectedness, and reported higher levels of emotional and behavioral distress. When applying a dual-factor mental health screening framework to the responses, mischievous responders were less likely to be categorized as having complete mental health. Implications for school-based mental health screening are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Longitudinal models of reading achievement of students with learning disabilities and without disabilities.
    Objective: Accurate estimation of developmental trajectories can inform instruction and intervention. We compared the fit of linear, quadratic, and piecewise mixed-effects models of reading development among students with learning disabilities relative to their typically developing peers. Method: We drew an analytic sample of 1,990 students from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort of 1998, using reading achievement scores from kindergarten through eighth grade to estimate three models of students’ reading growth. Results: The piecewise mixed-effects models provided the best functional form of the students’ reading trajectories as indicated by model fit indices. Results showed slightly different trajectories between students with learning disabilities and without disabilities, with varying but divergent rates of growth throughout elementary grades, as well as an increasing gap over time. Conclusions: These results highlight the need for additional research on appropriate methods for modeling reading trajectories and the implications for students’ response to instruction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Association of grade configuration with school climate for 7th and 8th grade students.
    Educational authorities have questioned whether middle schools provide the best school climate for 7th and 8th grade students, and proposed that other grade configurations such as K–8th grade schools may provide a better learning environment. The purpose of this study was to compare 7th and 8th grade students’ perceptions of 4 key features of school climate (disciplinary structure, student support, student engagement, and prevalence of teasing and bullying) in middle schools versus elementary or high schools. Multilevel multivariate modeling in a statewide sample of 39,036 7th and 8th grade students attending 418 schools revealed that students attending middle schools had a more negative perception of school climate than students in schools with other grade configurations. Seventh grade students placed in middle schools reported lower disciplinary structure and a higher prevalence of teasing and bullying in comparison to those in elementary schools. Eighth grade students in middle schools reported poorer disciplinary structure, lower student engagement, and a higher prevalence of teasing and bullying compared to those in high schools. These findings can guide school psychologists in identifying aspects of school climate that may be troublesome for 7th and 8th grade students in schools with different grade configurations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Evaluating a computer flash-card sight-word recognition intervention with self-determined response intervals in elementary students with intellectual disability.
    A concurrent multiple-baseline across-tasks design was used to evaluate the effectiveness of a computer flash-card sight-word recognition intervention with elementary-school students with intellectual disability. This intervention allowed the participants to self-determine each response interval and resulted in both participants acquiring previously unknown words across all word sets. Discussion focuses on the need to evaluate and compare computer flash-card sight-word recognition interventions with fixed and self-determined response intervals across students and dependent variables, including rates of inappropriate behavior and self-determination in students with intellectual disability. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Technical adequacy of growth estimates from a computer adaptive test: Implications for progress monitoring.
    Computer adaptive tests (CATs) hold promise to monitor student progress within multitiered systems of support. However, the relationship between how long and how often data are collected and the technical adequacy of growth estimates from CATs has not been explored. Given CAT administration times, it is important to identify optimal data collection schedules to minimize missed instructional time. We used simulation methodology to investigate how the duration and frequency of data collection influenced the reliability, validity, and precision of growth estimates from a math CAT. A progress monitoring dataset of 746 Grade 4, 664 Grade 5, and 400 Grade 6 students from 40 schools in the upper Midwest was used to generate model parameters. Across grades, 53% of students were female and 53% were White. Grade level was not as influential as the duration and frequency of data collection on the technical adequacy of growth estimates. Low-stakes decisions were possible after 14–18 weeks when data were collected weekly (420–540 min of assessment), 20–24 weeks when collected every other week (300–360 min of assessment), and 20–28 weeks (150–210 min of assessment) when data were collected once a month, depending on student grade level. The validity and precision of growth estimates improved when the duration and frequency of progress monitoring increased. Given the amount of time required to obtain technically adequate growth estimates in the present study, results highlight the importance of weighing the potential costs of missed instructional time relative to other types of assessments, such as curriculum-based measures. Implications for practice, research, as well as future directions are also discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The relative contribution of subjective office referrals to racial disproportionality in school discipline.
    To improve our understanding of where to target interventions, the study examined the extent to which school discipline disproportionality between African American and White students was attributable to racial disparities in teachers’ discretionary versus nondiscretionary decisions. The sample consisted of office discipline referral (ODR) records for 1,154,686 students enrolled in 1,824 U.S. schools. Analyses compared the relative contributions of disproportionality in ODRs for subjectively and objectively defined behaviors to overall disproportionality, controlling for relevant school characteristics. Results showed that disproportionality in subjective ODRs explained the vast majority of variance in total disproportionality. These findings suggest that providing educators with strategies to neutralize the effects of implicit bias, which is known to influence discretionary decisions and interpretations of ambiguous behaviors, may be a promising avenue for achieving equity in school discipline. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Single measure and gated screening approaches for identifying students at-risk for academic problems: Implications for sensitivity and specificity.
    Educators need recommendations to improve screening practices without limiting students’ instructional opportunities. Repurposing previous years’ state test scores has shown promise in identifying at-risk students within multitiered systems of support. However, researchers have not directly compared the diagnostic accuracy of previous years’ state test scores with data collected during fall screening periods to identify at-risk students. In addition, the benefit of using previous state test scores in conjunction with data from a separate measure to identify at-risk students has not been explored. The diagnostic accuracy of 3 types of screening approaches were tested to predict proficiency on end-of-year high-stakes assessments: state test data obtained during the previous year, data from a different measure administered in the fall, and both measures combined (i.e., a gated model). Extant reading and math data (N = 2,996) from 10 schools in the Midwest were analyzed. When used alone, both measures yielded similar sensitivity and specificity values. The gated model yielded superior specificity values compared with using either measure alone, at the expense of sensitivity. Implications, limitations, and ideas for future research are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Social validity of the Social Skills Improvement System—Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) in the primary grades.
    The purpose of this study was to examine the social validity of the Social Skills Improvement System-Classwide Intervention Program (SSIS-CIP) for teachers in the primary grades. Participants included 45 first and second grade teachers who completed a 16-item social validity questionnaire during each year of the SSIS-CIP efficacy trial. Findings indicated that teachers generally perceived the SSIS-CIP as a socially valid and feasible intervention for primary grades; however, teachers’ ratings regarding ease of implementation and relevance and sequence demonstrated differences across grade levels in the second year of implementation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Economic costs of bias-based bullying.
    Because many school districts receive funding based on student attendance, absenteeism results in a high cost for the public education system. This study shows the direct links between bias-based bullying, school absenteeism because of feeling unsafe at school, and loss of funds for school districts in California. Data from the 2011–2013 California Healthy Kids Survey and the California Department of Education were utilized. Results indicate that annually, California school districts lose an estimated $276 million of unallocated funds because of student absences resulting from feeling unsafe at school. Experiences of bias-based bullying were significantly associated with student absenteeism, and the combination of these experiences resulted in a loss of funds to school districts. For example, the absence of students who experienced bullying based on their race or ethnicity resulted in a projected loss of $78 million in unallocated funds. These data indicate that in addition to fostering student safety and well-being, schools have the societal obligation and economic responsibility to prevent bias-based bullying and related absenteeism. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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