PERCEPTIONS OF SPANISH/ENGLISH BILINGUAL SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGISTS REGARDING COMPETENCY IN ASSESSMENT AND FUTURE TRAINING NEEDS
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With the changing demographics of the school population, the need for bilingually competent school psychologists has become increasingly important. The current study examined the influence of training and regional factors on Spanish-speaking, bilingual school psychologists' self-perceptions of competence regarding assessment of non-native English-speaking students (English Language Learners (ELL)), of the value of their training experiences related to bilingual assessment, and of the need/desire for a separate bilingual school psychology credential or certificate. Research participants completed an internet-based survey of individuals who self-identified as Spanish-speaking bilinguals in the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) bilingual directory. The response rate of 44% was substantially higher than all other published surveys relating to this same topic area. Overall, respondents viewed themselves as very competent across all competency areas. In addition, all training and experience items were seen as at least "somewhat valuable" by the vast majority of respondents. Region was not correlated with perceptions of competence or with the perceived value of training experiences. Finally, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated they believed a separate certificate or credential was very important for the field as a whole, as well as for themselves personally. Recent developments related to bilingual school psychology are discussed and the implications for the future development of bilingual credential are explored.