Meeting Professional Standards
Accreditation + Approval
The Emporia State University School Psychology Program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and is approved by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE).
Completion of the M.S. degree and Ed.S. candidacy readies a candidate for the practicum field experience. Upon completion of that and other Ed.S. requirements, the candidate is ready for the internship field experience as needed to complete the full program of study. Completion of the program requires completion of internship (post-Ed.S.) and passing of the Praxis II National School Psychology Examination at the cut score established by the state of Kansas, and leads to licensure as a school psychologist in Kansas public schools.
Program completion, and a sufficiently high Praxis II score which meets national standards, also makes candidates eligible to obtain the credential of Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) via the process for graduates of non-NASP approved programs. Among many other benefits, the NCSP allows for greater employment mobility across different states.
Additional information about the NCSP and its advantages can be reviewed at http://www.nasponline.org/certification/becomeNCSP.aspx. The program director will assist all program completers in this application process.
As part of ESU’s program meeting CAEP and KSDE program approvals, the School Psychology Program allows candidates to grow professionally through partnership with faculty in all facets of professional preparation, including degree planning, individualized supervision, monitored research projects and progress reviews at decision points.
Additionally, these program approvals mean that program faculty have demonstrated that they engage in reflective practices, and have an evaluation plan in which they document activities related to teaching, scholarship and service as a condition of employment. Ongoing program evaluation to assure effective practices and sustain CAEP and KSDE approval occurs as well.
Status of NASP Approval
Our degree programs are NASP-aligned, but not NASP-approved. Having submitted our first program folio to NASP in 1999, we have now voluntarily relinquished our NASP-approval as of June 2019. However, with one exception, nothing else has changed in the program. Whether in regard to standards attained, rubrics used, assessment data, portfolio requirements which align to NASP indicators, etc. we are still the same program.
All of these have met NASP Program Approval standards for close to 20 years and we will continue to meet all such NASP standards. Doing so will facilitate our program completers being able successfully apply for the Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) credential as a graduate of a non-approved program, without having to generate anything further than what’s needed to complete our program.
The only difference anticipated is that receipt of the NCSP for our program completers is expected to take approximately 3-4 months longer than if our program continued to be approved.
So if our programs have met all of the objective quality standards, why did we surrender our NASP approval? It is all about the exception cited above, the one NASP standard we have elected to not meet as of 2019.
The NASP standards assume that only trainers with a Ph.D. in school psychology are “qualified” trainers. This is a criterion we simply do not agree with. It is a standard despite -
- No data ever having been available to support the assertion that those with a Ph.D. in school psychology are superior in any way as practitioners or trainers to those with doctoral degrees in other fields.
- NASP’s arguments, in opposing the American Psychological Association’s Model Language Act, that practitioners with an Ed.S. degree are as competent and qualified school psychologists as those with the Ph.D.
- Those with a Ph.D. in school psychology not necessarily have any more core training in school psychology than those with an Ed.S. degree.
- A NASP report on graduate education in school psychology suggests there may be some Ed.S. programs which involve more credit hours than some Ph.D. programs.
According to NASP standards, the title of the trainer’s degree is the only relevant variable determining whether they are qualified. NASP considers irrelevant in determining the quality of a trainer of school psychologists the -
- credit hours and other variables related to the extent and duration of graduate training
- coursework specific to school psychology and related disciplines
- experience in the field
- impact in the field
- impact, involvement, and leadership in the profession, or
- quality of the trainer’s graduate experiences
Given the serious trainer shortage, most programs including ours have struggled to fill positions with only those with the Ph.D. in school psychology. As of spring 2019 there were more than 50 programs with vacant trainer positions. At a time when NASP has extensively strategized on how to address shortages of practitioners and trainers, NASP does not acknowledge the extent to which this outdated program standard has contributed to the problem.
Most crucially, this also means that most new trainers who apply for a tenure-track position in school psychology programs have just graduated from their own Ed.S. programs a couple of years earlier. They have little or no experience in the field as a regularly licensed school psychologist. Hiring such to be a trainer is anathema to the philosophy of our program and The Teachers College at Emporia State University.
We firmly believe the most qualified trainers in education including school psychology are those who are experienced, model educators and leaders in the field – and we have instructor effectiveness data to support that assertion.
We believe NASP’s criteria for what it takes to be qualified as a trainer is compromising program quality, the opposite of the intent of the NASP graduate training standards.
We communicated this to NASP’s Program Approval Board via two means, ahead of our decision to relinquish our NASP-approval, but with no response. In service as NASP delegate, the program director further communicated this to several dozen NASP delegates at assembly in fall 2015, without hearing from a single dissenter. He also communicated this to the NASP trainer listserv in spring 2018, where it is worth noting that more than 90% of respondents agreed the perspective stated here. Those respondents included prominent trainers from more than a dozen doctoral programs, including some of the most notable figures in NASP leadership.
We will continue to communicate with NASP in the hopes that the Program Approval Board reconsiders their criterion for qualified trainers. In the meantime, we are confident that our stance is best for our program candidates and with sustaining a quality training program.