An Examination of Multicultural Competency of Northern New England School Psychologists

Frances Berry-Worcester (2010)

The author conducted a needs assessment and exploratory study of multicultural competence in Northern New England school psychologists. The author sampled Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont school and clinical psychologists with masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees who do assessment work with school children. Results from this study will be shared with regional leaders to start local and regional conversations about school psychologists' multicultural competencies in assessment and their training needs, and to contribute to future systemic changes in both employment settings and graduate training programs. Participants completed the School Psychology Multicultural Competency and Needs Survey (SPMCN), which was developed by the author. Descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, and content analysis were used to assess psychologists' traditional and multicultural (MC) assessment practices, self-reports of multicultural awareness and client-therapist relationship, and extent of diversity training. Pearson correlations, one-way analyses of variance, and simultaneous multiple regression analyses were conducted to determine the degree of relationships and differences among demographic variables, MC assessment practices, MC self-awareness and relationship, and disparity-discomfort related to preparedness for MC work in school settings. Pearson correlations indicated that older psychologists, those who had worked more years, worked in larger school districts, and had more graduate and post-graduate diversity trainings were using more multicultural educational resources and conducting more multicultural assessments. Individuals who reported greater disparity between their current practices and preparedness to evaluate multicultural children also reported greater discomfort. Males reported more MC assessment practices than females Those with masters' or specialist degrees conducted more MC assessments. The youngest and oldest groups reported a higher level of disparity and discomfort with regard to their MC practices versus the middle-age group. Similarly, those with the least years and those with the most years of experience reported higher levels of MC self-awareness and relationship.