Study Guide

Field 237: School Psychologist
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Each multiple-choice question has four answer choices. Read each question and its answer choices carefully and choose the ONE best answer.

During the test you should try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will NOT be penalized for choosing an incorrect response.

Objective 0001
Understand child and adolescent development and behavior.

1. Research studies suggest that chronic stress associated with living in poverty contributes most significantly to which of the following issues during adolescence?

  1. diminished sense of personal responsibility
  2. heightened sensitivity to nonverbal cues
  3. limited ability to empathize with others
  4. increased instances of risky decision making
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
(Objective 0001) Poverty is a source of chronic stress that affects individuals' cognitive development and executive functioning. Exposure to chronic stress actually shrinks neurons in the brain's frontal lobes—an area that includes the prefrontal cortex and is responsible for such functions as making judgments, planning, and regulating impulsivity. Researchers have found that risky decision making (such as alcohol or drug use) and poor social competency are correlated with adolescents' exposure to chronic stress.

Objective 0001
Understand child and adolescent development and behavior.

2. A 16-year-old student athlete has begun to exhibit mood swings, increased aggressiveness, and reckless behavior. The student has also gained a significant amount of weight, and the student's acne has worsened. This information most clearly suggests that the student may be:

  1. developing an addiction to opiates.
  2. failing to get an adequate amount of sleep.
  3. using performance-enhancing drugs.
  4. showing early symptoms of diabetes.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
(Objective 0001) Some athletes take one or more forms of steroids to increase their muscle mass and strength. Besides making muscles bigger, steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly. According to the Mayo Clinic, when used inappropriately, performance-enhancing drugs are associated with negative side effects, including aggressive feelings and behaviors, severe acne, and psychiatric disorders such as depression.

Objective 0002
Understand learning processes and learning environments that are responsive to students' diverse characteristics and needs.

3. A school psychologist who is observing a fifth-grade science lesson notes that the teacher briefly reviews the problem-solving process the students have learned using a think-aloud with a sample problem. The teacher then assigns students to small groups, with each group including students of varying ability levels. Each group uses the process to solve a problem related to the topic the class is studying. The lesson concludes with a class discussion of the groups' work. The teacher's approach in this lesson is best aligned with which of the following learning theories?

  1. discovery learning theory
  2. social development theory
  3. information-processing theory
  4. social learning theory
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
(Objective 0002) Social development learning theory is based on the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky's theory, one of the foundations of constructivism, asserts that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. The teacher's approach places student interaction at the center of learning by using cooperative learning groups. Another aspect of Vygotsky's theory is the more knowledgeable other, an individual who has a better understanding or higher ability level than the learner with respect to a particular task, process, or concept. The more knowledgeable other can be a teacher or peers. The teacher's use of modeling and heterogeneous grouping represents an application of this concept.

Objective 0002
Understand learning processes and learning environments that are responsive to students' diverse characteristics and needs.

4. A school psychologist can best facilitate a successful transition from kindergarten to first grade for a student with high-functioning autism by adopting which of the following approaches?

  1. assisting the kindergarten teacher in preparing a narrative of the student's personal and educational history for the first-grade teacher
  2. working with the kindergarten and first-grade teachers to replicate the materials, resources, and strategies that are currently in place for the student
  3. interviewing several peers in the kindergarten class to identify those students who would be the most effective first-grade buddies for the student
  4. collaborating with the student's parents/guardians and the kindergarten teacher to implement an intensive social skills program focused primarily on interpersonal communication
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
(Objective 0002) Though the transition from one grade to the next can be especially challenging for a student on the autism spectrum, the student can make this shift more easily with careful planning and preparation. One important aspect of this preparation is for the receiving teacher to participate in the student's transition planning meetings. At this time, information can be shared about effective instructional strategies, needed modifications and adaptations, positive behavior support strategies, and methods of communication. By learning about what is currently working for the student, the first-grade teacher will be able facilitate the student's continued progress.

Objective 0003
Understand issues of diversity in the school setting.
5. Which of the following statements describes the most important reason for school psychologists to pursue continuing education related to issues of diversity?

  1. The cultural backgrounds and viewpoints of the school community are the most significant factors in determining appropriate school curricula, services, and programs.
  2. The school psychologist will gain skills and techniques that can be applied broadly with different cultural groups within the school community.
  3. Expression of emotion, help-seeking behavior, and reaction to crisis tend to vary according to individual cultural backgrounds, viewpoints, and values.
  4. The school psychologist will be a more effective communicator with members of different cultural groups regarding school curricula, services, and programs.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
(Objective 0003) School psychologists have a significant role in creating and supporting a positive school climate, so it is important for school psychologists to understand how a child's home experiences and cultural background affect values related to learning, use of language, and style of interaction. Ongoing learning about diversity is necessary for school psychologists to become culturally competent, which includes components such as nondiscriminatory assessment, social justice, and crisis response that considers the needs and values of culturally diverse families.

Objective 0004
Understand curricula and instruction that promote learning, achievement, and competence in students with diverse strengths and needs.

6. A developmentally appropriate social science curriculum for middle school students should focus primarily on which of the following goals?

  1. mastering advanced research skills related to gathering, evaluating, and synthesizing information from multiple sources
  2. gaining foundational understandings of governance and community and civic engagement
  3. cultivating critical-thinking skills through inquiry into significant and relevant questions about their own lives, their community, and the larger world
  4. exploring historical and geographical content and themes in state and national contexts
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
(Objective 0004) The National Council for the Social Studies identifies four motifs that are infused in appropriate social science curricula for middle school students. These motifs include concern with self (development of self-esteem and a strong sense of identity), concern for right and wrong (development of ethics), concern for others (development of group and other-centeredness), and concern for the world (development of a global perspective). Recommended strategies include experiential learning that provides middle school students with opportunities to analyze common experiences and explore ideas and values. The Illinois Social Science Standards for middle school students include a focus on students working individually and collaboratively to engage in inquiry about important public issues, trends, and events that are relevant to students' lives.

Objective 0005
Understand the principles and practices of assessment and data-based decision making.

7. An examination of a student's score on a standardized assessment reveals a T-score of 40. Which of the following statements presents an accurate interpretation of the student's score?

  1. The student's score is one standard deviation below the mean.
  2. The student's score falls well outside the expected distribution.
  3. The student's score is comparable to performance at the 80th percentile.
  4. The student's score falls between one and two standard deviations from the mean.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
(Objective 0005) T-scores are a form of standardized scores. A score of 50 represents the mean. A difference of 10 from the mean indicates a difference of one standard deviation. Thus, a score of 40 is one standard deviation below the mean.

Objective 0006
Understand how to use assessment information within the multidisciplinary team process to make recommendations that are appropriate for students' identified needs and enhance students' educational functioning.

8. Which of the following practices by a school psychologist would be considered ethically questionable as part of the comprehensive evaluation process?

  1. reviewing students' cumulative records without consent of parents/guardians
  2. using assessment instruments with normative data that are 15 years old
  3. consulting with a colleague about the merits of specific assessment instruments
  4. incorporating anecdotal data from teachers and parents/guardians into a final report
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
(Objective 0006) An appropriate norm sample must represent the current population. The maximum useful life is approximately 15 years for norm samples used in ability assessments and seven years for samples used in achievement tests. Levels of skill and ability change over time, and old norms tend to overestimate a student's relative standing in the population. It would be unethical for the school psychologist to use instruments with normative data more than 15 years old because the results would not present an accurate picture of a student's strengths and needs.

Objective 0007
Understand strategies, processes, and the use of data in the development, monitoring, and evaluation of academic interventions for addressing students' identified learning needs.

9. An elementary school has established a schoolwide initiative to improve students' reading scores. The school psychologist, who meets regularly with grade-level teams, is working with third-grade teachers to develop academic goals to support the school's initiative. Which of the following potential goals is most closely aligned with the school's initiative?

  1. Students will develop positive dispositions toward reading as demonstrated by the number of books checked out from the school library media center.
  2. Students will select grade-level materials representing a balance of informational and literary texts for independent silent reading periods.
  3. Students will read grade-level passages orally at a rate of 110 to 130 words per minute with only minimal errors as measured by running records.
  4. Students will turn in fully completed in-class and homework reading assignments by the designated due date at least 90 percent of the time.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
(Objective 0007) Effective goals are defined in terms of clear and distinct outcomes. According to the SMART Goals model, goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time sensitive. The goal stated in the correct response is the only goal that meets all of these criteria.

Use the information below to answer the three questions that follow.

Jordan is a nine-year-old fourth grader who is having academic difficulties. Her teacher explains to the school psychologist that Jordan shows great potential in some areas, such as mathematics and writing, but she has a lot of trouble following directions and often gives up when attempting challenging tasks. He also reports that Jordan frequently appears discouraged in class and that he is concerned that Jordan will not meet her potential. The school psychologist and the teacher are examining assessment information for Jordan to identify strategies for supporting her learning.

Woodcock-Johnson® IV Tests for Achievement (WJ IV™)
Subtest Standard
Score
Percentile
Rank
Letter-Word Identification 94 34
Reading Fluency 85 15
Story Recall 81 10
Understanding Directions 85 15
Spelling 96 40
Writing Fluency 100 50
Passage Comprehension 105 63
Writing Samples 103 57
Modality Preference Inventory
OftenSometimesNever
1. I remember information better if I write it down. X
2. If I hear something, I will remember it. X
3. I would rather listen and learn than read and learn. X
4. I like to listen to my teacher read a story. X
5. I need to write down directions, not just take them verbally. X
6. When I am learning something new, it helps me to talk about it. X
7. I like teachers who spend a lot of time explaining. X
8. I prefer to get new information in diagrams, graphs, or maps. X
9. I more easily remember something I have done X
Objective 0004
Understand curricula and instruction that promote learning, achievement, and competence in students with diverse strengths and needs.

10. Considering the data presented, when developing interventions to address Jordan's specific learning needs, the school psychologist and the teacher should begin by using an instructional approach that:

  1. utilizes questioning strategies at multiple levels of complexity to elicit student responses.
  2. makes extensive use of self-selected independent activities as part of the instructional sequence.
  3. requires choral response from the class to questions and scenarios provided by the teacher.
  4. incorporates tools such as a white board or computer presentations to support spoken instruction.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
(Objective 0004) Jordan's assessment information indicates that she has difficulty following directions and recalling information as well as a preference for visual learning. Incorporation of visual supports in classroom instruction promotes comprehension of spoken information. The use of two modalities is aligned with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which is a proven strategy for meeting the needs of students with diverse learning needs.

Objective 0005
Understand the principles and practices of assessment and data-based decision making.

11. The information provided for Jordan most clearly suggests that she may have a specific need in which of the following areas?

  1. expressive language
  2. visual discrimination
  3. auditory processing
  4. reading comprehension
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
(Objective 0005) Auditory processing refers to how the brain perceives and interprets sound information. Several skills determine auditory processing ability—or listening success. They are the ability to attend to important auditory information; the ability to understand longer auditory messages, including following directions; the ability to retain auditory information both immediately and after a delay; and the ability to interpret, retain, organize, and manipulate spoken language for higher-level learning and communication. Jordan's difficulties with story recall, understanding directions, and preferences for visual representations signal some difficulty with auditory processing.

Objective 0007
Understand strategies, processes, and the use of data in the development, monitoring, and evaluation of academic interventions for addressing students' identified learning needs.

12. For an upcoming science unit, the school psychologist recommends that the teacher provide Jordan with preferential seating near the teacher and use keywords, such as first, remember, and again, to signal important concepts in the lesson. Which of the following outcomes represents the most important benefit of this modification for Jordan?

  1. helping Jordan understand how information is organized within a lesson
  2. enhancing Jordan's ability to attend to and comprehend academic content
  3. developing Jordan's ability to take accurate notes on instructional content
  4. reducing the need for Jordan to engage in active listening during instruction
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
(Objective 0007) Proximity tends to make it easier for an individual to focus on a presentation or speaker. Signal words are words and phrases that show the connections between ideas. The use of signal words helps make the logic of explanations clearer to the listener. The combination of these two strategies would be an effective approach for increasing the comprehensibility of instruction for Jordan.

Objective 0008
Understand strategies, processes, and the uses of data in the development, monitoring, and evaluation of interventions for addressing students' identified social/emotional and behavioral needs.

13. Use the information below to answer the question that follows.

Source 1 Source 2 Source 3
Direct Observation Teacher lesson plans and discussion with Amy's teacher Informal interview with Amy
Amy's inappropriate comments occur most frequently during class discussions of assigned reading and independent work. Amy's comments decrease drastically during small-group work. An examination of lesson plans reveals Amy's inappropriate comments are more frequent during assignments that require a lot of reading. Amy reveals that she sometimes feels frustrated when she has to read a lot of material because reading is hard for her.
Interpretation: Amy's problems with reading cause her frustration.
Maintaining Consequences: Amy's comments distract her peers and teacher.
Function(s): Amy avoids a potentially embarrassing or frustrating situation.

An elementary school psychologist prepared the data triangulation chart shown as part of a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) for Amy, a fifth-grade student who has been interrupting class activities by making inappropriate comments. Amy's comments disrupt instruction and distract classmates. In addition to indicating that Amy may need academic support in reading, the information in the data triangulation chart suggests that a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) for Amy should include which of the following supports?

  1. exempting Amy from some reading tasks to use the computer to reinforce basic skills
  2. allowing Amy to take a brief walk when she feels overwhelmed by challenging reading tasks
  3. requesting that Amy be provided a paraprofessional to assist her with reading tasks
  4. providing frequent opportunities for Amy to work with a small group on reading tasks
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
(Objective 0008) Given the notes from the direct observation about the frequency of Amy's inappropriate comments, it would be reasonable to hypothesize that Amy functions more effectively in small-group settings. Additionally, small-group activities can be used as a form of scaffolding when a student works with peers who have acquired skills the student is striving to master, which would help address Amy's reading needs.

Objective 0008
Understand strategies, processes, and the uses of data in the development, monitoring, and evaluation of interventions for addressing students' identified social/emotional and behavioral needs.

14. A high school psychologist will be leading a professional development workshop for school staff. The goal of the workshop is to help create a school climate that is proactive in supporting students' mental health. With this purpose in mind, which of the following topics would be most important to address in the workshop?

  1. Strategies to Promote Connectedness and Positive Relationships in the School Environment
  2. Techniques for Working with Adolescents Who Have Experienced Trauma
  3. Processes and Milestones in the Social and Emotional Development of Adolescents
  4. Research Findings Related to Implementing Effective Prevention and Intervention Programs
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
(Objective 0008) Strong scientific evidence demonstrates that increased student connection to school decreases absenteeism, fighting, bullying, and vandalism while promoting educational motivation, classroom engagement, academic performance, school attendance, and completion rates. Students are more likely to succeed when they have a sense of belonging and being part of a school and when they perceive that teachers are supportive and caring. Professional development focused on these topics would most likely promote improvement in the overall school climate.

Objective 0009
Understand research- and evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies and resources for addressing individual, group, and schoolwide needs.

15. Several high school students who are members of the LGBTQ community were recently harassed online, and their vehicles were vandalized. The school psychologist immediately intervened to provide students with supports for coping with these events. After several individual and group counseling sessions, two of the students expressed continued feelings of depression and thoughts of self-harm related to the events. The school psychologist can best respond to the needs of these students by:

  1. extending in-school counseling.
  2. connecting the students to local support agencies.
  3. providing literature about mental health.
  4. referring the students to online resources.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
(Objective 0009) Societal factors such as bullying, violence, and discrimination heighten health risks for anyone. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth experience elevated risk and associated negative health and mental health outcomes. There is no one way to respond to students in distress, as each student processes distress differently. It is important for the school psychologist to recognize the seriousness of issues such as depression and thoughts of self-harm and understand his or her personal and professional limits. Connecting students to local support agencies would provide students with access to resources and individuals who specialize in meeting the needs of LGBTQ students.

Objective 0010
Understand consultation, communication, and collaboration in school and community settings.

16. A school psychologist in a high school is facilitating a meeting of an action team that includes teachers, parents/guardians, and community representatives. The team is charged with identifying possible strategies for addressing the issue of increased student involvement in gang-related activities. Early in the meeting, the school psychologist observes that the team is polarized regarding the causes of the issue and discussions begin to focus on assigning blame. According to the principles of conflict resolution, the school psychologist should take which of the following steps at this point?

  1. requesting that team members pause for a few minutes and write down their most important thoughts on the issue to share with the group
  2. setting a timer to provide each team member with an equal opportunity to express his or her ideas about how to address the issue
  3. discontinuing the meeting and asking the team members to review existing data on the issue before reconvening
  4. invoking the team's common goal and helping team members identify aspects of the issue on which they agree
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
(Objective 0010) Facilitation is the process of helping groups or individuals learn, find a solution, or reach consensus with the overall goal being to build a culture of commitment and accountability to the assigned task within the team. If the discussion becomes emotional, the facilitator needs to bring the focus back to the issues at hand. In most cases, participants share some common objectives. Conflict may often be over a very isolated detail or subsection of the bigger picture. To begin to resolve the situation, the facilitator should start by helping the group build a foundation of assumptions and objectives that are shared by involved parties.

Objective 0011
Understand research methods and program evaluation.

17. A high school psychologist finds a research study on a new approach for creating a learning environment to help reduce student stress and text anxiety. The school psychologist believes that the approach could be beneficial to students in the school. Before bringing this technique to the attention of school leadership, the school psychologist should take which of the following actions?

  1. seeking out one or two teachers to try the new approach in their classrooms and provide feedback on its potential usefulness
  2. meeting with a focus group of parents/guardians and members of the school community to explain the new approach and seek their support
  3. distributing the research to department heads along with a request for suggestions about how the new approach could be applied at the school
  4. conducting further review of relevant research to evaluate the success of the new approach where it has been applied at similar schools
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
(Objective 0011) Principals typically have tremendous demands on their time. Communicating effectively with administrators requires understanding the scope of their responsibilities and the issues for which they are accountable. Principals are responsible for the success of the school. Before engaging the principal, it is important to gather evidence to support ideas. Principals are focused on student achievement and success, so relevant research is one way to help an administrator see the likely value of a new approach for the school's students.

Objective 0011
Understand research methods and program evaluation.

18. Elementary school teachers in grade-level teams are engaging in a midyear evaluation of students' academic progress in reading. The teachers have gathered all relevant data and information about students' performance and growth in reading. The school psychologist can most appropriately support the teachers in their evaluation task by:

  1. providing assistance to each team in the analysis and interpretation of various types of data.
  2. serving as a recorder of the observations and decisions made by each team.
  3. making recommendations about how each team should adjust instruction based on the data.
  4. guiding each team in formulating achievable goals for the second half of the year.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
(Objective 0011) The traditional practice of the school psychologist involves three basic roles: assessment, intervention, and consultation. School psychologists have a strong foundation in measurement theory and assessment of cognitive abilities, achievement, social and emotional functioning, personality, and development. Additionally, the school psychologist has expertise in the analysis of data from standardized achievement tests, performance assessments, self-reports, and other assessment methods. This body of expertise makes the school psychologist's most appropriate role to support teachers in analyzing and interpreting the data they have gathered.

Objective 0012
Understand the foundations of the school psychology profession and the professional roles and responsibilities of the school psychologist.

19. In 2014, official guidance provided by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education extended Title IX protections to include discrimination or harassment based on:

  1. gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity.
  2. public expressions of support for nontraditional views of family and/or marriage.
  3. membership in an all-female or all-male religious organization or club.
  4. participation in activities to promote legislative changes in gender policies.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
(Objective 0012) Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The guidance regarding Title IX protections provided by the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education states that "any student can experience sexual violence: from elementary to professional school students; male and female students; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students; part-time and full-time students; students with and without disabilities; and students of different races and national origins."

Objective 0012
Understand the foundations of the school psychology profession and the professional roles and responsibilities of the school psychologist.

20. Which of the following statements describes best practice with regard to allowing parents/guardians to review test protocols for their child?

  1. The parents/guardians come to the school to view protocols in the presence of the school psychologist.
  2. The school psychologist submits the parents'/guardians' written request to view protocols to the school principal for approval.
  3. The parents/guardians petition school district records personnel, who then provide the school psychologist with temporary access to the protocols.
  4. The school psychologist provides the parents/guardians with copies of test protocols prior to a consultation with the parents/guardians.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
(Objective 0012) Test protocols are the answers provided to educational testing, and explanations and interpretations of test questions even if the answers are integrated with the test question. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) all require that parents/guardians be given access to school records (including test protocols), and that this access is limited to a review of records unless the records cannot be provided for review within 45 days. Having parents/guardians view test protocols in the presence of the school psychologist helps preserve the confidentiality of the documents.