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Educational Psychology. C83EDP 2nd semester 2008. Purpose. To introduce students to the professional practice of Educational Psychology by considering a range of relevant theoretical and practical issues. Lecturers:. Prof Andy Miller - Group Director Nathan Lambert - APT

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Educational Psychology

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Educational psychology

Educational Psychology


2nd semester 2008



  • To introduce students to the professional practice of Educational Psychology by considering a range of relevant theoretical and practical issues



  • Prof Andy Miller - Group Director

  • Nathan Lambert - APT

  • Anthea Gulliford - DAEP Co-director

  • Victoria Lewis - APT

  • Neil Ryrie - APT

  • Nick Durbin - DAEP Co-director

    All working as practitioner EPs in Local Authority settings.

Office hours

Office Hours

  • Each lecturer will offer an office contact time, usually about 2 or 3 weeks after their lecture.

  • Details will be posted on the website.





  • The module will be assessed by one two-hour examination at the end of the second semester.

  • You will be asked to answer two questions out of six.

General references

General References

  • Frederickson & Cline (2002) Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity. Buckingham: Open University Press

  • Beaver, R (1996) Educational Psychology casework. London: Jessica Kingsley

  • Frederickson, Miller & Cline (in press) Educational Psychology: Topics in Applied Psychology

  • Journals:

    • Educational Psychology in Practice

    • Educational & Child Psychology

    • Journal of School Psychology

History and development of the role and function of the educational psychologist

History and development of the role and function of the educational psychologist

Educational psychology is

Educational Psychology is …



Educational Psychology?


School Psychology?

Relevant theory

Relevant theory?

Domains of interest

Domains of interest

  • Problem-solving

  • Individual child

  • Whole class

  • Whole school

  • Local authority

    DfEE 2000

Historical landmarks

Historical landmarks

  • Cyril Burt, the first EP (1913)

    • Assessment of children’s ability and advice on the placement of children in special education

    • Development of mental tests.

    • Researching into causes of learning difficulties.

Historical landmarks1

Historical landmarks

  • Summerfield Report(1968)

    • To consider role and training of EPs and to advise on numbers

      • Individual diagnostic and therapeutic work with children

      • No serious consideration of other possible functions

  • Central core of activities seen as: the identification and treatment of learning and adjustment difficulties.

Historical landmarks2

Historical landmarks

  • The ‘Reconstructing’ developments (Gillham 1978)

    • Challenged the central position of assessment of difficulties.

    • Moved the focus onto alternative ways of working:

      • Research and project work

      • Working with schools as systems

    • Criticisms of the relevance of psychometrics

Historical landmarks3

Historical landmarks

  • Special needs legislation (1981 & 1996)

    • Gave EPs a statutory responsibility in the assessment and reviewing of children’s special educational needs

    • Every child in receipt of special educational provision would have a ‘Statement’ of SEN based on formal ‘Advice’ from, inter alia, EPs.

    • Gave EPs increasing involvement with Early Years and with parents

Historical landmarks4

Historical landmarks

  • DfEE working party report (2000)

    • 4 levels of work:

      • Individual child

      • Groups of children

      • Schools

      • LEAs

    • Other agencies

    • Recommendations about service delivery

The future

The future?

  • Extended training

  • ‘Every Child Matters’

    • Review of role and function (DfES 2006).

    • Integrated Children’s Services

Eps and assessment

EPs and ‘Assessment’

Debates in assessment

Debates in assessment?

  • Assessment vs Testing?

    • Purpose

    • Informs action

    • Tests hypotheses

    • Rigour

Over riding principles

Over-riding principles

  • Applied science

Debates in assessment1

Debates in assessment?

  • Normative vs Ipsative?

    • Normative assessment:

      • Compares a sample of behaviour with the same behaviour in a sample of the population.

      • Generalises from that sample

      • Requires validity

      • Requires reliability

      • Issues about relevance & equity

Debates in assessment2

Debates in assessment?

  • Normative vs Ipsative?

    • Normative assessment:

      • In the UK, typically involves:

        • Wechsler Scales: WISC IV, WPPSI III

        • British Ability Scales (BAS)

        • A range of attainment tests

      • Produces norm-referenced scores, typically IQ (or ‘Standard’) scores or percentile rankings

Debates in assessment3

Debates in assessment?

  • Normative vs Ipsative?

    • Ipsative assessment:

      • Compares a child with themselves

      • Can include normative assumptions

      • Can allow a focus on the learning / behaviour issues themselves.

Debates in assessment4

Debates in assessment?

  • Static vs ‘dynamic’?

    • Static assessment:

      • Looks at what a child has achieved;

      • Analyses strengths and difficulties;

      • Deals in snap-shots of behaviour/learning

      • Emphasises reliability and validity

Debates in assessment5

Debates in assessment?

  • Static vs ‘dynamic’?

    • dynamic assessment:

      • Based on Vygotsky’s work, developed by Feuerstein;

      • Looks at a child’s response to teaching

      • Focuses on modifiability and adaptability - therefore looks at change

Alternative methods

Alternative methods

  • Curriculum-based assessment

    • Ipsative by nature

    • Based on (social) learning theories

    • Looks at the child in context

    • Attempts to lead directly to action

    • Requires careful monitoring, evaluation and review

Challenges to practice

Challenges to practice

  • Keep the psychology

  • To maintain relevance to teachers

  • To understand the difficulties in terms of the interaction between the child and their environment.

  • To maintain an objective stance

  • To collect data rigorously and to transform that understanding of the child’s circumstances

Further reading

Further Reading

  • Anastasi, A. and Urbina, S. (1997). Psychological Testing (7th Edn). Upper Saddle River, NJ., Prentice Hall.

  • Deno, S.L. (1989) Curriculum based measurement: the emerging alternative. Exceptional Children, 52(3): 219-32

  • Dessent, T. (1978). The historical development of School Psychological Services. In: Reconstructing Educational Psychology. B. Gillham. London, Croom Helm.

  • DfEE (2000). Educational Psychology Services (England): Current Role, Good Practice and Future Directions. Nottingham: DfEE.

  • DfES (2006). A Review of the Functions and Contributions of Educational Psychologists in the Light of ‘Every Child Matters: Change for Children’ Nottingham: DfES Research Report 792

Further reading1

Further Reading

  • Gersch, I. S. (2004). "Educational Psychology in an age of uncertainty." The Psychologist17(3): 142-145.

  • Gillham, B., (Ed.) (1978). Reconstructing Educational Psychology. London, Croom Helm.

  • Leyden, G. (1999). "Time for change: the reformulation of applied psychology for LEAs and schools." Educational Psychology in Practice14(4): 222-228.

  • Mellor, N. J. (1999). From exploring practice to exploring inquiry: a practitioner researcher’s experience. University of Northumbria at Newcastle. PhD. (Chapter 2)

Further reading2

Further Reading

  • Miller, A. and Leyden, G. (1999). "A coherent framework for the application of psychology in schools." British Educational Research Journal25(3): 389-400.

  • Solity, J. and Bull, S. (1987). Special Needs: Bridging the Curriculum Gap. Milton Keynes, Open University Press.

  • Sternberg, R. J. and Grigorenko, E. L. (2002). "Difference scores in the identification of children with learning disabilities. It's time to use a different method." Journal of School Psychology40(1): 65-83.

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