27 November 2019
Author: Amy James - Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy), Cardiff University, 2019
The role of the Educational Psychologist (EP) is multifaceted and offers a distinctive contribution to those in receipt of their services (Fallon et al.2010). A comprehensive written psychological report is acknowledged to a major role for the EP (Castillo, Curtis, & Gelley, 2012) but there is very little research available to support an EP in producing an effective and interpretive account of the work they have carried out.
Very generally, the psychological report aims to (a) increase others’ understanding of children and young people (C/YP), (b) communicate intervention, hypotheses, and advice in such a way that they are understood, appreciated, and implemented, and (c) ultimately support service users in facilitating change.
Unfortunately, research indicates the reports are often difficult to read, particularly for non-psychologists. They are likely to include jargon and poorly defined terms, to make vague or inappropriate recommendations, to emphasize numbers rather than explanations, and to be of an inappropriate length (Kamphaus, 1993; Ownby, 1997; Sattler, 2001; Tallent, 1993).
They are also likely to be written at a high level of reading difficulty, which is problematic in that they are read by multiple audiences with varied levels of educational background (Harvey, 1997; Weddig, 1984; Whitaker, 1994).
This thesis aimed to offer a current and UK based perspective of how EPs and common recipients of the EP report perceive its usefulness.
Results showed a much more positive outlook on the report as a whole, in comparison to similar studies carried out in America, Canada and Malta.
However, findings demonstrated common frustrations felt by recipients with regard to complex language and content within the reports.
Implications for educational psychologists are considered within the thesis alongside future direction for further study.