A Critique Of Non-participatory Observations Within Educational Psychology Practice And The Process Of Psychological Assessment
According to the Professional Practice Guidelines for Educational Psychologists (EPs), psychological assessment in education is a continuous process, aiming to improve effective and inclusive education for children and young people (CYP) (British Psychological Society [BPS], 2002). Within this process, information about CYP can be gathered through consultation; curriculum-based assessment; psychometric and dynamic assessment; measures of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH); and observation. Regarding observation specifically, it can be considered that this method of information gathering is frequently used not only by EPs but also by special education teachers, teacher trainers and Ofsted, regarding quality of learning, teaching, and interventions (Bowles et al., 2016). In this sense, it may become necessary for EPs to be mindful of their role in, and purpose for, conducting observations within the process of assessment, not just watching behaviour but formulating and testing hypotheses about why behaviours occur (Hughes & Dexter, 2011). Additionally, while EPs' frequent use of observations could be considered positive due to various advantages (Tilstone, 2012), it’s prevalence within the profession also makes it necessary to consider and be aware of any potential limitations. This paper will, therefore, evaluate the use of observations within the process of psychological assessment, particularly regarding the legal, ethical and moral principles of EP practice; different observation techniques and related psychological frameworks; and the potential impact of individual differences between professionals.
Speed, E. (2019). The process of psychological assessment: A critique of non-participatory observations within educational psychology practice and the process of psychological assessment. Educational psychology research and practice, 5 (2), 1–8.