The goal of the Educational Specialist program is to train practitioners for the expanded role of the school psychologist who not only tests for placement in special education but also assesses, consults, and provides prevention and direct intervention services for school learning, behavior, and mental health problems.  In order to meet this goal the training program is organized with a scientist practitioner framework and the standards of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).  At the Educational Specialist Level, students are expected to be critical consumers of the research literature on the scientific foundations for the practice of school psychology and effective translators of this research knowledge base into practice.  The NASP standards cover values, knowledge base, practica, internship, performance-based program accountability, and structural requirements of the program.

Scientist Practitioner [+]

Students will acquire skills to be critical consumers of research literature that provides the scientific foundation for the practice of school psychology.  They will acquire these skills through coursework in statistics and research methodology and in content areas related to personality development and differences, cognitive development, human learning and academic skills acquisition, social and emotional development, family systems, multicultural issues, sociology of schools, exceptionalities, and neuropsychology.

Students will apply scientific knowledge from the research literature to practice in practica courses offered at the University prior to internship and in the internship during the third year of the program.

Values as a Program Foundation [+]

Students will learn about individual differences in coursework on psychopathology, cognitive development, social and emotional development, academic skills acquisition, exceptionalities (diabilities and giftedness), and brain development.  Students will apply this knowledge in practica and internships.

Students will learn about family systems and organizational change in coursework.  They will apply this knowledge in practica and internship.  Students will learn about cultural differences in coursework on culturally responsive practice, sociology of school systems, assessment, consultation, and intervention (academic, behavioral, mental health).  They will apply this knowledge in practica and internships.

Knowledge Base [+]

The training program is sequential yet integrated.  The primary goal of the first year is to provide students with a solid preparation in the scientific and professional foundations of practice.  The primary goal of the second year is to provide supervised pratica at the University in which the scientific and professional foundations acquired during the first year are applied to the practice of school psychology.  The primary goal of the third year is to provide a supervised year-long NASP requirement internship experience in which 600 of the 1200 hours are required to be in a school setting.  However, students may elect to do half of this internship in a non-school setting in order to understand how organizational variables may affect the practice of psychology.

Educational Foundations. Students are prepared to understand educational systems, the contributors to the educational and emotional development of children, and the ways in which mental health affects learning.  The Human Learning and Educational Practice course (EDPSY 501) and Foundations of Early Development course (EDPSY 502) cover principles of learning and thinking that can be applied to generating educational recommendations.  Applied Social Psychology (EDPSY 556) covers both foundational knowledge of interpersonal dynamics and development as well as mental health support of students.  Students learn about collaboration with school and communities throughout all three years of the EdS program (EDPSY 500, 505, 566, and EDUC 750).  Students also gain a general understanding of educational systems through the first-year field study course (EDPSY 500).

Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior. Students learn the fundamentals of cognition and emotion and their impact on learning through the assessment and intervention courses in the program.  Students learn to conduct assessments of cognitive abilities in the school psychological assessment course (EDPSY 540). They learn to be critical of intellectual assessment measures and determine the most appropriate assessment tools for populations who are underrepresented in norming samples for the most well-known measures.  They use knowledge of scientific principles to decide on appropriate assessment tools in socio-emotional assessment (EDPSY 572) Students also learn about the science and assessment of key academic skills and academic domains in the Educational Assessment & Consultation (EDPSY 507) and Preschool Assessment & Consultation (EDSPY 573) courses.

Social and Developmental Bases of Behavior. Students learn about social development in the Applied Social Psychology course (EDPSY 556) with a focus on social psychology, social development research, and understanding of the social bases of human behavior. The knowledge from the foundational course is applied in interventions as well.  Students prepare to do systems level work in the Introduction to Multi-tiered Systems of Support (EDPSY 554) course and in the field study courses (EDPSY 500/505).  They apply knowledge of social constructs in the context of behavior and interpersonal relationships.  Further, the Culturally Responsive Practice in School Psychology course (EDPSY 552) contributes additional understanding of the cultural and social influences on learning and behavior.

Biological Bases of Behavior. The Educational Neuropsychology course (EDPSY 577) covers the structure, function, and development of the brain, and application of brain-behavior relationships to understanding handicapping conditions of students referred for special education. Students learn to apply their knowledge of brain function and development on the interpretation of cognitive assessments and make evidence-based decisions on interventions. Individual differences are introduced inthe Child and Adolescent Psychopathology course (EDPSY 548) and elaborated upon in the courses on Autism, Social Communication and Developmental Disabilities course (EDSPE 525) and Neuropsychology of Learning and Behavior course (EDPSY 577). Doctoral students apply this knowledge further in the History, Systems, and Contemporary Issues in School Psychology (EDPSY 585) seminar course as they analyze the current research literature to inform professional practice.

Exceptionalities, Individual, and Cultural Differences. School psychologists respect the dignity and worth of each individual and use their knowledge of human behavior to promote the welfare of all individuals. The program integrates exceptionalities, individual, and cultural factors in the foundational coursework to prepare school psychologists to work with students from diverse backgrounds in the schools.  Exceptionalities are addressed through the special education course on Autism, Social, Communication and Developmental Disabilities (EDSPE 525) where students learn the latest evidence-based approaches for working with students with autism and moderate to severe behavior disorders.  Our Special Populations course (EDPSY 553) is designed to support students' knowledge of evidence-based approaches to working with students from all marginalized identities and intersectionalities.  Similarly, the Child and Adolescent Psychopathology  (EDPSY 548) and Culturally Responsive Practice in School Psychology (EDPSY 552) courses focus on the most important variables and factors to consider in working with minoritized populations in schools.  All these variables are introduced in stand-alone courses during the first year of the program and then integrated into the practicum and advanced courses throughout the remainder of the program. The skills developed are applied in the school psychology internships.

Statistical Methods and Research Design. Students learn about scientific research and design through the Applied Measurement in Educational Research course (EDPSY 591) and the Basic Educational Statistics course (EDPSY 490) during the first year in the program.  In the first applied measurement course, students are exposed to the design of research studies and approaches for analyzing data collected in research projects.  In the statistics course, students learn to be critical reviewers to research articles and interpret the findings of research related to education and psychology.  The statistics course also prepares students for the psychological assessment courses as a foundation in statistics in needed to understand and interpret the findings from the psychological measurement tools they learn to administer (EDPSY 540, 507, 572).  They apply these skills to reading the research literature that is assigned during the second-year practicum (EDPSY 507, 540, 573) and third year case study (EDPSY 566). Doctoral students take the Research and Inquiry series (EDLPS 525 & 526), plus additional statistics courses such as Multiple Regression (EDPSY 538) and Multilevel Modeling (EDPSY 576).

Professional School Psychology. With a foundation in systems thinking and a scientific perspective of clinical practice, school psychology students are prepared to provide evidence-based assessment and intervention services. An introduction to the field is offered in the Introduction to School Psychology (EDPSY 570) course and the first year of the school psychology field experience (EDPSY 500).  Students learn about the legal and ethical guidelines of school psychology practice in EDPSY 500 and EDPSY 568. During the second-year practicum courses (EDPSY 540, 507, 564, 546, 573) students are taught to draw upon the unique contributions of individual differences, cultural differences, family systems, and organizational variables in understanding cases with whom they work.  Students apply to practice the theory and concepts, which were introduced in the first year, related to the individual, the individual in the group, and the common humanity that cuts across individual and cultural differences.

Practica [+]

Students acquire supervised practica experience in consultation; behavioral intervention; cognitive, academic, social emotional, and neuropsychological assessment; and individual counseling.  In addition, students receive supervision in interviewing and behavioral observations.

Practica, which are supervised experiences in applying knowledge to practice before entering the internship, begin the first year. The practica during the first quarter of the first year serves as an orientation to the educational process. In keeping with our program philosophy, the first year practica emphasize observing direct services in schools. Second year practica are on-site University-based training in assessment, consultation, and intervention that are supervised by school psychology faculty and off-site in schools. The faculty ensure that practica experiences are conducted in accordance with current legal and ethical standards of the profession and evaluate student performance. Students document their practica experience in a portfolio. They receive considerable oral and written feedback from faculty.

Together, the first and second year practica provide supervised experiences in assessment, consultation, and intervention -- the major objectives of our training program. Successful completion of these practica is a prerequisite for entering the third-year internship. The document entitled Practica contains additional information about the practica.

Portfolio [+]

Work products are one of the best records of student growth and accomplishment.  During the Educational Specialist program and internship, students are asked to keep records and self reflections about the assessment, consultation, and intervention activities.  Please see the Educational Specialist’s Student Handbook for development of the School Psychology Portfolio.

Internships [+]

Students receive supervised experiences in assessment, consultation, and intervention per their approved internship plan.  Students apply professional, ethical, and legal standards to practice while on internship. Students must complete a 1200 hour internship for their residency certification, at least half of which must be in a school setting, as the culminating experience in their training.

An internship plan, which is signed by the intern, university-based internship supervisor, field-based internship supervisor, and authorizing official of the agency, must be on file before the internship begins. This internship plan must provide supervised experiences in all the assessment, consultation, and intervention experiences required for the student’s portfolio. In addition, the internship site must agree to abide by the ethical principles of the National Association of School Psychologists and Washington State Legal Code.

Students must be supervised by a field-based internship supervisor who holds a professional certification as a school psychologist in Washington State and has no more than two interns at any one time. The field-based supervisor must agree, in writing, to provide at least two hours per week, on the average, of direct individual supervision for the intern. The agency where the internship takes place must agree, in writing, to support the internship experience.

The university-based internship supervisor is responsible for no more than 16 interns at any given time and meets with these interns a minimum of two hours a week for direct, group supervision. The university internship supervisor also visits each intern and supervisor on-site twice a year (once in autumn and one in winter). The internship supervisor visits the university during spring quarter to participate in the intern’s exit exam, which leads to theleads to the education specialist degree and initial certification.

Performance Based Program [+]

In keeping with the growing emphasis on accountability in education, the School Psychology Program faculty utilize a variety of mechanisms to monitor and improve the quality of the program. In practicum courses, students are evaluated on skill development and competency. At least once a quarter, the faculty evaluate the performance of students in coursework, practicum, and internship. Students are provided feedback using a rubric that assesses the following categories: written communication, ethical responsibility, time management, interpersonal relationships, supervision/feedback, and overall performance. These categories are evaluated on a four-point scale through an online recording system (Canvas).

Evaluations of performance are completed at the end of each practicum experience.  At the end of the second year, (before the precertification internship) students are required to submit a portfolio of their work along with a written paper that addresses serving a diverse population in school psychology. Students take an Educational Specialist’s Oral Exam that consists of 10 questions that assess a student’s content knowledge and clinical experience during the first two years of the program.  Formal evaluations are completed for each of these requirements.

Prior to completion of the internship, students also take the PRAXIS II Exam (national certification exam for school psychologists) to demonstrate that they can integrate domains of knowledge and apply professional skills to service delivery. Students also complete two comprehensive case studies (academic and behavioral) in which they integrate assessment and a direct and/or indirect intervention and evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention. The case studies provide an opportunity for the intern to demonstrate how their interventions result in measurable changes for the educational and mental health needs of children and youth.

Certification [+]

The Washington State approved internship program at the University of Washington is open only to graduate students who have successfully completed the Educational Specialist program in School Psychology at the University of Washington and are currently matriculated as full-time students at the post-education specialist or doctoral levels.  Washington State Certification is awarded by successfully passing the Praxis II Exam and by successfully completing a 9-month field-based practica (internship) of 1200 hours or more (half of which must be in a school setting) and 6 credit hours of university case study supervision (EDPSY 566 Case Study Seminar) and 30 hours of internship credit (EDUC 750 Internship).  Students who successfully complete the internship may also apply for National Certification as a School Psychologist (NCSP).

Student Performance Goals and Objectives [+]

These goals and objectives will be documented in students’ transcripts, performance portfolio (which is kept throughout the program), internship evaluations, and PRAXIS II exam results.

Review Procedures

All students in the program are evaluated on a quarterly basis by the faculty.  The ratings are based on faculty discussion and consensus.  A minimum of three faculty are present at the time of the discussion and all must agree on the score. The ratings include: "exceeds expectations," "meets expectations," "approaching expectations," and "does not meet expectations." All students are expected to receive a “3-meets expectations” rating.

For a student to be considered as making satisfactory progress, all  the following conditions must be met:

  • The student must maintain a 3.0 GPA in all course work.
  • The student must demonstrate a minimum standard of clinical competence by receiving no less than a 3.2 grade in each practicum course.  This standard must also be met before an internship can be approved and begun.
  • The student must demonstrate competence in the interpersonal skills necessary to communicate effectively with colleagues, faculty, school personnel, families and school children.

For purposes of this review, normal progress will be presumed when no course grade is incomplete and falls below 3.0, and when no faculty member expresses concern about the student’s academic and/or interpersonal competence.  When either of the above conditions occurs, the faculty advisor or class instructor may call a meeting of the School Psychology faculty to discuss the student’s future in the program and means for them to overcome the noted deficiencies.  The faculty advisor will then present recommendations to the student for implementation.

PLEASE NOTE: It is strongly recommended that students do not work more than 20 hours outside of course requirements because of negative impacts on performance in coursework.

Course Sequence [+]

The course sequence is organized so that all basic foundation courses are completed the first year; the second year provides practice at the University of Washington, and the third year serves as the School Internship in the public schools.

STATISTICS AND RESEARCH (6 credits minimum)
EDPSY 490 Basic Educational Statistics 3      
EDPSY 517 Educational Measurment in Education Research  3      

COGNITION AND LEARNING (6 credits minimum)  
EDPSY 501 Human Learning and Educational Practice  3      
EDPSY 502 Developmental Foundations of Early Learning 3      

EDPSY 556 Applied Social Psychology 3     

EXCEPTIONALITY (6 credits minimum)  
EDSPE 525 Autism, and Other Social, Communication and Developmental Disabilities 3        

BIOLOGICAL BASES OF BEHAVIOR (3 credits minimum)  
EDPSY 577 Neuropsychology of Learning and Behavior 3      

EDPSY 570 Introduction to School Psychology 2      

ETHICS AND SCHOOL LAW (3 credits minimum)  
EDPSY 568 Seminar: Professional Issues and Ethics 3      

INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES (9 credits minimum)
EDPSY 548 Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 3      
EDPSY 552 Culturally Responsive Practice in School Psychology  3      
EDPSY 553 Special Populations 3      

SCHOOL-BASED PRACTICUM (4 credits minimum)  
EDPSY 505 Field Study II: Tier III Interventions 4

ASSESSMENT (23 credits)
EDPSY 507 Educational Assessment and Intervention 5      
EDPSY 540 School Psychological Assessment 5      
EDPSY 564 Practicum in Assessment/Consultation 5      
EDPSY 572 Social-Emotional Assessment 3      
EDPSY 573 Psychological Assessment of Preschool Children 5      

INTERVENTION (11 credits) 
EDPSY 544 Counseling Theories and Practicum in School Psychology 4     
EDPSY 546 Counseling Practicum in School Psychology 4
EDPSY 557 Tier III interventions for School Psychologists 3      

CONSULTATION  (5 credits minimum)  
EDPSY 554 Introduction to Multi-tiered Systems of Support 3  
EDPSY 500 Field Study 1: Academic Consultation  3 

INTERNSHIP  (30 credits)  
EDUC 750 Internship 30 

EDPSY 566 Case Study Seminar 6
Requirement of Educational Psychology

NOTE: At least one course relevant to the student's field of study must be taken from a department other than Education. Faculty advise that this out-of-department course be taken early during student's graduate study.

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. ;