Linking Assessment to Intervention
In our cognitive hypothesis-testing (CHT) model, emphasis is placed on helping a majority of children through systematic prereferral services. As a psychologist, you must intervene to assess: You must develop an effective prereferral intervention program, using a team approach such as an intervention assistance team (see Ross, 1995) and problem-solving consultation, to reduce the number of referrals for formal evaluation. A large majority of children can be helped via an indirect service delivery model, and consultative approaches can effectively reduce the number of referrals for formal standardized evaluation. This is the only way in which the comprehensive CHT evaluations we argue for will be feasible; reducing referrals means gaining more time to conduct both interventions and more comprehensive evaluations.
Of course, there have been calls for more emphasis on prereferral interventions, or a move to interventions instead of referrals, for many years. Since Public Law 94-142 originally mandated serving children with disabilities rather than excluding them, school psychology has tried to emphasize interventions. The National Association of School Psychologists issued a volume titled Alternative Educational Delivery Systems(Graden, Zins, & Curtis, 1988), which called for more consultation, more teacher assistance teams, and more interventions. The 25th-anniversary issue of the School Psychology Review (Harrison, 1996) called for the same, as did Best Practices in School Psychology IV (Thomas & Grimes, 2002). Despite these numerous calls for professional change, however, school psychologists continue to spend the majority of their time in determining eligibility for special education (Hosp & Reschly, 2002). Why is this? There are probably several reasons. Intervention resources often depend on special education eligibility. Also, the funding to pay school psychologists may come from special education money. High student–psychologist ratios, as well as a high number of required assessments, may contribute to a lack of time to spend in alternative roles (e.g., Wilczynski, Mandal, & Fusilier, 2000). How can we increase the perceived