Study Guide

Field 033: School Psychologist 
Sample Selected-Response Questions

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General Test Directions

This test consists of two sections: 1) a section with selected-response questions and 2) a constructed-response section.

Each question in the first section is a selected-response question with four answer choices. Read each question and answer choice carefully and choose the  start uppercase ONE end uppercase  best answer.

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  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  be penalized for guessing.

The second section of this test consists of one constructed-response assignment. You will be asked to provide a written response to the assignment. Directions for completing your written response to the constructed-response assignment appear immediately before the assignment.

You may  start uppercase NOT end uppercase  use any type of calculator or reference materials during the test session.

Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001 
Apply knowledge of human development and behavior.

1. Sulynn is a middle school student with Tourette's syndrome. The classroom teacher notices that Sulynn's outbursts have decreased; however, she frequently appears drowsy and her coordination has diminished. The teacher consults with the school psychologist about these issues. Which of the following questions would be most appropriate for the psychologist to investigate  start italics first end italics ?

  1. Is Sulynn exhibiting signs of depression or emotional disorder?
  2. Are these changes reducing Sulynn's overall academic performance?
  3. Is Sulynn taking a new or increased dose of medication?
  4. Are these changes affecting the quality of Sulynn's interactions with peers?

Correct Response: C. Tourette's syndrome is a chronic neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by tics. These tics tend to be most severe in childhood and adolescence. Medications commonly used to treat tics can have side effects such as fatigue, stiff muscles, and social withdrawal. Changes in behavior such as those described here can be indicative of medication side effects. To address the changes in Sulynn's behavior, the psychologist would first seek the root cause, which could be a new or increased dosage of medication.

Competency 0002 
Apply knowledge of processes of learning and learning environments that are responsive to students' diverse strengths and needs.

2. A middle school psychologist is preparing for a meeting with eighth-grade teachers regarding a new student, Mason, who has been in four different foster care homes since he was in second grade. When discussing with the teachers how best to meet Mason's needs, the psychologist should emphasize the importance of:

  1. reducing the length of Mason's in-class and homework assignments while he is adjusting to his new school.
  2. encouraging Mason to maintain a journal of his experiences at school and at home and meeting with him regularly to review his journal.
  3. creating low-risk situations in which Mason can share his experiences in foster care with his peers.
  4. establishing a caring, supportive relationship with Mason and providing opportunities for him to participate in decisions about his learning.

Correct Response: D. Youth who enter the foster care system often must leave behind siblings, other family members, and friends. With each subsequent move, they again must leave people with whom they have established relationships. By working to establish a caring and supportive relationship with Mason, his teachers are providing a sense of belonging and stability. Including Mason in decisions about his learning will empower him and foster a sense of control over his life. Mason's participation in decision making will also help him develop self-advocacy skills.

Competency 0003 
Apply knowledge of curricula and instruction that promote learning, achievement, and competence in students with diverse strengths and needs.

3. David, a first grade-student in Ms. Woodbane's class, has poor receptive language skills. Ms. Woodbane is working with the school psychologist to identify instructional resources to support David's learning in an upcoming unit on the farm. Which of the following resources would be most appropriate for the psychologist to recommend for this purpose?

  1. visual cues to promote David's understanding of unit concepts and facilitate his participation in activities
  2. note-taking templates on which David can record important concepts and vocabulary during lessons
  3. color-coded cards for David to hold up during lessons to indicate his understanding of what is being said
  4. partially completed activity sheets to reduce the extent of information David is required to process

Correct Response: A. Receptive language is the comprehension of spoken language. Students who have poor receptive language skills have difficulty understanding and processing what is said to them. Visuals provide additional information to the student and assist with memory and processing. Liberal use of visual cues enables students to use visual reasoning skills to support their understanding of spoken information.

Competency 0004 
Apply knowledge of how to select, adapt, and develop assessments that provide accurate, useful information for determining appropriate interventions and making educational recommendations for students with diverse strengths and needs.

4. The test-teach-test form of dynamic assessment is likely to be most useful for which of the following purposes?

  1. determining the most appropriate educational placement for addressing a student's specific learning needs
  2. identifying a student's specific areas of strength to use as a foundation for increasing the student's overall achievement level
  3. measuring a student's progress in reaching expected milestones in a specific developmental domain
  4. estimating the types and amount of intervention that will be necessary to produce significant improvement in a student's learning

Correct Response: D. The construct measured by dynamic assessment has been described as learning potential, responsiveness to instruction, or cognitive modifiability. The emphasis in the test-teach-test method of dynamic assessment is on the student's ability to acquire the knowledge or skills being tested after being exposed to instruction. For example: a student who is reading aloud misreads two words with the s t sound in them; the teacher then gives the student a short explanation of the blend by writing down and reading a few words that have the s t sound; the student then continues reading, with the teacher noting any misreads of the s t words.

Competency 0005 
Apply knowledge of how to conduct assessments of students who have diverse strengths and needs.

5. A school psychologist recently administered an individual achievement test to a new student. The student is new to the United States and the student's home culture differs significantly from mainstream U S culture. The student speaks and reads English with fluency and performs above average on classroom curriculum-based assessments. In reviewing the student's scores on the achievement test, the psychologist notes that the student's performance is well below average. Which of the following statements describes the most likely reason for this discrepancy in the student's performance?

  1. The student may have an undiagnosed learning disability.
  2. The student misunderstood how to mark the achievement test answer sheet.
  3. The achievement test instrument had a high level of cultural loading.
  4. Little value is placed on formal assessment in the student's culture.

Correct Response: C. Cultural loading is the degree to which a test or item is specific to a particular culture. A test with greater cultural loading has greater potential bias when administered to students of diverse cultures. Many standardized achievement tests, developed and normed in the United States, require specific prior knowledge of and experience with mainstream U S culture. Given the difference between the student's home culture and mainstream U S culture, the student's level of English proficiency, and the student's performance on classroom assessments, a logical hypothesis in this situation is that the achievement test administered by the school psychologist has a high level of cultural loading.

Competency 0006 
Apply knowledge of how to interpret assessment results to increase knowledge about students' individual strengths and needs.

6.  start bold Use the information below to answer the question that follows. end bold 

Achievement Scores
This cell left intentionally blank Previous 
Reading Composite 10 12
Oral Language Composite 20 24
Written Language Composite 8 10
Mathematics Composite 25 28

Enid is a high school sophomore who has an intellectual disability. The school psychologist is comparing Enid's scores on a recent achievement test with her scores from her reevaluation three years ago. Which of the following statements represents a valid conclusion that can be drawn from these data?

  1. Enid's oral language skills continue to be her area of greatest strength.
  2. Enid's overall pattern of learning strengths and needs has remained consistent.
  3. Enid's growth in reading has outpaced her growth in written language.
  4. Enid's overall academic achievement has improved significantly.

Correct Response: B. Enid's achievement test scores show some improvement in all areas since her previous reevaluation. Upon further comparison of the scores, Enid's areas of relative strength continue to be oral language and mathematics. Areas of weakness continue to be reading and written language. These overall patterns have remained consistent from her previous reevaluation to her current reevaluation.

Competency 0007 
Apply knowledge of how to use assessment information within the multidisciplinary team process to make recommendations and develop interventions that respond to students' identified educational and mental health needs and enhance students' educational functioning.

7. Greta is a fourth-grade student with learning disabilities in reading and writing. Her Individualized Education Program ( I E P ) stipulates that Greta will receive support in the form of direct instruction from the special education teacher in these areas three times a week along with modified assignments. Near the end of the first month of the school year, Greta began demonstrating anger and disruptive behavior (i.e., slamming books on the floor and refusing to complete assignments). Her classroom teacher has tried using time-outs, sometimes several times a day, as a consequence for these behaviors with little success. The results of a functional behavioral assessment ( F B A ) conducted by the school psychologist suggest that the primary function of Greta's inappropriate behavior is to escape difficult academic tasks. Given this information, which of the following behavioral goals would be most appropriate to include in Greta's  I E P ?

  1. Greta will go to time-out no more than three times per week in a single grading period.
  2. By midyear, Greta will ask for help from the teacher or a peer with difficult reading and writing assignments eight out of ten times.
  3. Greta will mark a weekly consequence chart each time she has to go to time-out.
  4. For nine weeks, Greta will be excused from reading and writing homework and given extra time to complete difficult assignments.

Correct Response: B. Given the information about Greta, the teacher's attempts to manage Greta's behaviors served to support the function of the inappropriate behavior by enabling Greta to escape from difficult tasks through time-outs. An appropriate goal for reducing Greta's inappropriate behaviors should identify an alternate action that Greta can take when faced with difficult academic tasks left paren e.g., asking for assistance right paren. Effective goals should also articulate measurable outcomes, in this case the number of times in ten instances that Greta asks for assistance.

Competency 0008 
Apply knowledge of evidence-based prevention and intervention techniques and resources for addressing individual, group, and schoolwide needs.

8. A high school psychologist is organizing a counseling group for students who have experienced domestic violence. Best practice in group counseling suggests that the first meeting of this group should be devoted primarily to:

  1. asking individual group members what goals they would like to achieve through group counseling.
  2. gathering background information from individual group members regarding their personal circumstances.
  3. explaining to group members the psychologist's experience in counseling other students on this issue.
  4. establishing parameters with group members regarding confidentiality, rules, and expectations for participation.

Correct Response: D. Counseling groups function most effectively when they are governed by basic rules, which should be few and clear and follow ethical standards. Participants must be aware of and agree to rules about confidentiality and interactions. The psychologist should plan to emphasize the rules in initial sessions. Addressing these issues at the beginning will help establish trust and a sense of safety that will enable participants to focus on the goals of the group.

Competency 0009 
Apply knowledge of research methods, program evaluation, and principles of data-based decision making and accountability.

9. A middle school implemented a conflict-resolution program at the beginning of the school year to help address the number of discipline referrals for verbally and physically aggressive behavior. The program includes instruction in conflict-resolution strategies at all grade levels as well as small-group counseling of students who need additional behavioral support. The school psychologist has been asked to help evaluate the outcomes of this program at the end of the first year of implementation. The psychologist can best begin this evaluation by taking which of the following steps?

  1. meeting with teachers in each grade level to discuss their perceptions regarding changes in the number of referrals and the program's usefulness
  2. discussing with the school principal the specific criteria that will be used to qualify the program as successful
  3. analyzing data showing the number of referrals from the previous school year and the number of referrals by month since the program's implementation
  4. examining the school's current behavior expectations as well as the goals and objectives of the program

Correct Response: C. The beginning point for program evaluation should always be baseline data showing conditions prior to implementation of the program. A second component of program evaluation is the collection of data relevant to the program goals. In the situation described, baseline data would be the number of referrals from the year prior to implementation of the conflict-resolution program. Data relevant to the goals of the program would be the number of referrals by month during the program's first year. With this information, the school psychologist can begin an analysis of the data for evidence of a reduction in referrals that will help determine the effectiveness of the conflict-resolution program at the end of the first year of implementation.

Competency 0011 
Apply knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of school psychologists in Oklahoma.

10. The problem-solving stage in the instructional consultant model of service delivery begins with the school psychologist engaging in which of the following activities?

  1. working with the teacher to articulate concerns in observable and measurable terms, defined as a gap between current and expected performance
  2. gathering information from the teacher and the family to include in a complete academic and behavioral history for the student in question
  3. explaining the expectations and responsibilities of participants throughout the consultation process
  4. observing the student in question during classroom instruction as well as in nonacademic settings

Correct Response: A. Instructional consultation is a problem-solving model that focuses on collaboration between the consultant left paren school psychologist right paren and consultee left paren teacher right paren for the purpose of not only remediating student deficits but also addressing potential challenges with task demands and instructional approaches. Once the consultation relationship is established, the model comprises the following stages–problem identification and analysis, intervention design and planning, intervention implementation and evaluation, and closure. The goal of the problem identification and analysis stage is to define the problem in a way that is measurable and that is descriptive of how the student is currently performing in relation to how the student is expected to be performing.