Practicum and Internship Information
The practica sequence was developed in accordance with APA and NASP guidelines that require planned supervised experiences that include direct service and formally scheduled supervision. The primary focus of the practicum is to adequately prepare students for their internships. The practica experiences are designed to have a direct relationship to the objectives of the practicum as outlined in the document entitled Description of Practicum (2014). Further, the practicum experiences are provided under conditions of appropriate supervision and are distinct from and occur prior to the internship. The practicum is designed to provide students with planned, supervised experiences of directed observations and participation in educational settings with emphasis on empirically supported practices. In addition, the practicum is designed to ensure the student has sufficient supervised experiences to provide an early exposure and identification with the professional practice of school psychology. The field experiences are coordinated with coursework to allow students ample opportunity to combine their theoretical and practical knowledge in a supervised situation. Students are required to spend time in the public schools and may spend additional time in other approved school-related agencies or clinics. A student’s practicum placement will have implications for internship possibilities. Practicum settings are selected on the basis of their support of the program’s training objectives. Prior to, and during the practicum, students must complete specified practicum related coursework, as well as enroll in EPSY 5092 – Practicum in School Psychology, or EPSY 6494 – Doctoral Practicum in School Psychology. The practicum is the joint responsibility of the school psychology faculty at the
University and the participating school districts and mental health agencies, supervision is provided both on-site and within the University structure.
Practicum experiences in a school or related educational setting are a required component of program completion and graduation. Students must meet all standards and requirements necessary to complete required practicum including, but not limited to fingerprinting and/or criminal background checks. Failure to do so will result in an inability to complete the program.
It is important to note that the results of a student’s criminal background check may prevent a student from completing a practicum placement. The practicum placement will make the determination whether a student can receive experiences within that site. The School cannot guarantee that a student will be accepted into any required practicum placement sites. Failure to complete all required practicum activities will prevent a student from graduating from the program.
The internship in school psychology complies with APA and NASP standards. The full description of the internship is outlined in the document entitled Description of Internship (Syllabus). The internship occurs at or near the end of the student’s formal training. The internship is the joint responsibility of the School Psychology Program and the participating school districts and internship field placements. The internship settings are selected on the basis of their appropriateness relative to the specific training objectives of the program and with sensitivity to the student’s professional background and goals. The daily supervision of interns is conducted by approved field supervisors in concert with School Psychology Program faculty.
The field-based internship supervisors are either certified school psychologists, or in non-school settings, licensed psychologists. The field-based internship supervisors are responsible for no more than two interns at any given time. The University of Connecticut internship supervisor is responsible for no more than 12 interns at any given time. Further, the University-based supervisor maintains an on-going relationship with the field-based internship supervisors. In addition, interns are required to attend bi-weekly, on-campus meetings throughout the period of their internships.
The internship is designed to enhance the development of competencies and professionalism and to be the culminating experience of the student’s program. As such, the internship allows the student to participate in educational settings and the opportunity to integrate coursework, research, theory, and practical experiences in a supervised, applied setting. To be eligible for internship, the student must have: (1) completed a master’s degree program in School Psychology; (2) completed all practica requirements; (3) successfully passed the master’s
Qualifying Examination and the National School Psychology Examination (Praxis Series 0401); and (4) for doctoral students, the dissertation proposal must have been approved. While on internship, students must enroll in a minimum of 3 credit hours per semester.
The internship occurs on a full-time basis over a period of one academic year, or on a half-time basis over a period of two consecutive years. This amounts to approximately 1500 clock hours of supervised experiences relevant to the practice of school psychology of which a minimum of 600 hours must be in a school setting.
Doctoral students with prior, appropriately supervised, experience in school settings are not necessarily required to complete their 1500-hour internships in schools. These students may be placed in other supervised settings that are both appropriate to the professional practice of school psychology and compliment the student’s professional interests and goals
Students enrolled in the master’s/sixth-year program must pass the Qualifying Examination prior to being awarded the master’s degree. The examination occurs near the end of the student’s first year and after the student’s plan of study has been approved by the Executive Committee of the Graduate School. The master’s examination is constructed under the jurisdiction of the school psychology faculty and other Departmental faculty who were involved in the student’s first year of course instruction. At least 8 faculty members were involved in the preparation of questions that assessed fundamental knowledge across 8 different courses. The 100 item-analyzed multiple-choice examination affords feedback to the school psychology faculty regarding the student’s acquisition of fundamental knowledge in statistics, learning theory, measurement, roles and functions of school psychologists, individual differences, intellectual assessment, educational psychology foundations, and clinical diagnosis. The decision as to whether a student has passed or failed the examination is solely the responsibility of the student’s advisory committee. If the student fails the examination, he or she is allowed to take it once again during the subsequent semester. If the performance on the re-examination is unanimously judged by the advisory committee as unsatisfactory, the major advisor will communicate the results to the student and an official report is sent to the Graduate School. The student will be asked to retake the exam. If the student fails on the second attempt, then they will be asked to write a paper on the content area(s) that they failed on the exam.
The second examination, the Praxis Series – School Psychologist (code 0401; 2008) is administered by the Educational Testing Service. Students take the examination (1) after admission to the sixth-year program; (2) after completing approximately 42 hours of their coursework in the master’s/sixth-year program; and (3) prior to beginning their internship. The standardized examination provides an assessment of content in concert with national standards, and allows for the evaluation of our students relative to a nation-wide reference group. Beginning in September 2014, a new version of the Praxis will be administered. It is designed to align with the NASP 2010 Standards. The examination involves multiple-choice questions covering the following four content areas:
(1) Professional Practices, Practices that Permeate All Aspects of Service and Delivery
(2) Direct and Indirect Services for Children, Families, and Schools (Student-Level Services)
(3) System-Level Services
(4) Foundations of School Psychological Service Delivery
Upon submitting evidence of successfully passing the exam (score of 147 or above), the student will be allowed to enter internship. After successful completion of the internship, students will receive their sixth-year diploma, and are eligible for state certification in school psychology and certification by the National School Psychology Certification Board.
The course requirements, timetable for the completion of Sixth-Year program requirements, and the recommended sequence of coursework are appended. The course sequence included in this handbook is intended for students who are entering the program in the fall of 2014. Current students may follow the course sequence in the handbook that they received as incoming students.
The University of Connecticut’s Graduate School policies regarding students who feel aggrieved or uncertain about whether or not they have been treated fairly by a faculty or staff member have several routes that can be taken to seek resolution or redress. Because many difficulties can result from misunderstandings, clear communication and informal mediation are believed to be the most effective and least anxiety-provoking mechanisms to resolve student grievances. Usually, the first approach is for the student to request a meeting with the faculty or staff member in order to state the problem and to attempt a direct solution. If that proves unsatisfactory or should such a meeting seem undesirable given the particular circumstance, there are several choices. Sometimes appropriate mediation can be provided by other faculty or staff in the School or at other campus units such as the Women’s Center or one of the cultural centers or religious institutions. Alternatively, the student may consult with the Director of the Graduate Program, the Department Head, or the Dean, usually in that order. It is the responsibility of the academic administrator, then, to gather the facts in the case and seek a mutually acceptable resolution. All faculty and staff in the School report ultimately to the Dean and formal action can be taken at that level, if appropriate. In the event that the initial collection of facts suggests a violation of law or of explicit university policy concerning prejudice or harassment, the administrator will immediately consult with appropriate staff in Human Resources or the Chancellor’s Office regarding appropriate action. The School Psychology Program’s grievance procedures are as follows:
Step 1. If a student has a grievance with faculty or staff associated with the program, the student should meet first with the person who is believed responsible for the grievance in an attempt to informally resolve the problem. It is believed that most student concerns can be resolved through direct and open communication between the parties concerned.
Step 2. If the student is not satisfied with the results of the informal meeting, s/he should submit a written complaint to the primary faculty, along with a request for a meeting with the core faculty. One of these faculty members, who is not involved in the grievance, will be selected to serve as a mediator. The written grievance should be presented promptly to the primary faculty and prior to the scheduled meeting. The student grievant may be accompanied by a representative of his/her choice at any step of the process. Subsequent to this meeting, the
program coordinator will return a written response to the student grievant within ten working days. If the grievance is resolved, a copy of the written resolution should be included in the student’s file.
Step 3. If the student grievant is dissatisfied with the results of Step 2, s/he may appeal in writing to the Head of the Department of Educational Psychology within ten working days of the date of the Step 2 response. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Department Head will schedule a meeting with the grievant and the individual at whom the grievance is directed within ten working days. After the Step 3 meeting, a written response will be issued to both parties within fifteen working days.
Step 4. If either party is dissatisfied with the results Step 3, s/he may appeal in writing to the Associate Dean of the Neag School of Education within ten working days from the date of the Step 3 response. Upon receipt of the appeal, the Associate Dean will schedule a meeting with the grievant and the individual at whom the grievance is directed within ten working days. A written response will be issued to both parties within fifteen working days. The Step 4 decision shall be deemed final and binding. A copy of the final grievance and results will be maintained in the student’s file for historical purposes.