Robert M. KLASSEN, Paul NEUFELD, Fiona MUNRO : When IQ is Irrelevant to the Definition of Learning Disabilities, Australian School Psychologists’ Beliefs and Practice

By Robert M. Klassen, Fremantle Education District, Fremantle, Western Australia ; Paul Neufeld, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada and Fiona Munro, Fremantle Education District, Fremantle, Western Australia.

Published in School Psychology International, Vol. 26, No. 3, 297-316 (2005) DOI : 10.1177/0143034305055975

School psychologists in North America are facing a transformation of their professional practices brought about by impending changes in operational definitions of learning disabilities (LD). This multimethod study explores the learning disabilities-related beliefs and practices of school psychologists in Western Australia, where these changes have already taken place, and where learning disabilities are not typically defined through IQ-achievement discrepancy models. School psychologists from Western Australia completed individual surveys and participated in focus group sessions that explored their range of practice in schools and their beliefs about the nature of LD. Results from the survey revealed that in contrast to North American practitioners, West Australian school psychologists spend less time on psychometric assessment, and more time on consultation and counselling activities. Surprisingly, most West Australian school psychologists continue to use IQ tests in LD assessment and to hold beliefs about LD that are consistent with ‘traditional’ definitions.

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