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Definitions: Assessments administered by guidance officers or psychologists

Guidance officer

School based personnel classified as teachers who have additional mandatory qualifications (see role description Adobe PDF document[an error occurred while processing this directive]) who provide professional expertise, leadership and support to school communities and networks in the development and implementation of plans, programs, and procedures to assist students in achieving positive educational, developmental and lifelong learning outcomes. Guidance officers collaboratively negotiate, develop and implement programs for students that have a focus on preventative and early intervention strategies; are responsive to identified personal, social and educational needs; and aim to foster resilience and personal skills development.

Guidance officers contribute towards, and are accountable for the provision of a comprehensive student support program that is responsive to the identified and changing needs of students. The program will be negotiated with and authorised by a line manager, usually the school principal. Guidance officers are required to provide this service in collaboration with other school-based personnel and external support providers in a variety of educational contexts, including schools and alternative education programs.

Guidance officers are required to participate in regular clinical and technical supervision with a senior guidance officer or their nominee, to ensure the provision of ongoing professional support and development.

Senior guidance officer

Senior guidance officers are required to hold the same mandatory qualifications as a guidance officer and are also classified as teachers (see role description Adobe PDF document[an error occurred while processing this directive]). Senior guidance officers may be region or school based. The precise balance of duties in each setting will be determined by local needs. Senior guidance officers generally specialise in either primary/developmental or secondary/post-compulsory areas. It is likely that regions will need to cooperate to provide supervision from appropriately skilled senior guidance officers across the P-12 range. The senior guidance officer coordinates and supports the provision of guidance and counselling services to schools in consultation with school principals. They develop and implement a system of clinical and technical supervision in collaboration with school principals to ensure that guidance practices are appropriate.

Psychologist

Psychologists are non-teaching staff (see role description) Adobe PDF document[an error occurred while processing this directive] who provide professional support and information to schools as well as provide parent and community links that facilitate partnerships in decision making for the enhancement of all children's learning. Psychologists provide professional follow up support to individuals and families and assist in the establishment of an open and participative school environment for parents and the community.

Educational difficulties

Academic, behavioural, social and/or emotional (mental health) difficulties impacting directly upon educational outcomes

Psychoeducational assessment

Process in which the guidance officer or psychologist gathers student background information; determines whether a psychoeducational test needs to be administered; informs parents, and where appropriate the student, of the purpose, nature and implications of psychoeducational assessment; gains informed written consent of parents and administers the psychoeducational test, if required; makes professional observations during the assessment process; interprets and reports assessment results within the context of all relevant behaviour; and recommends educational practices and strategies based on the assessment information.

Psychoeducational assessment capabilities

Demonstrated capability requires:

  1. demonstrated understanding of the theoretical constructs upon which the test is based, the psychometric properties and limitations of the test
  2. a minimum of two satisfactory observed administrations of the specific test, which incorporates the differential administration required for separate age clusters. Satisfactory completion includes:
    • accurate administration according to the test administration guidelines. Where a test specific checklist is used completion is considered satisfactory at 95% or better of the completed items
    • observation of recognised good practice in standardised test administration resulting in reliable and valid scores.
  3. demonstrated ability to synthesise, interpret and report on the available data in a coherent manner.

Restricted psychoeducational tests

Tests for which users must have training or qualifications beyond those generally possessed by teachers. Test developers, publishers, or distributors may restrict purchase of these tests to certain professional groups or to individuals with particular qualifications. Generally, manuals of such tests indicate the level of qualifications or training required.

Student guidance file

Permanent record of psychoeducational assessments, actions, reports and other material relevant to a student's education.

Supervision of psychoeducational assessment

Participation by guidance officers and psychologists in a process focusing on the individual's assessment practices. These include test administration, interpretation and reporting. Guidance officers and psychologists using restricted psychoeducational tests are required to participate in ongoing professional supervision with a senior guidance officer so that professional accountability is ensured.

Test categories

Restricted psychoeducational tests approved for use by personnel employed as guidance officers and psychologists have been categorised according to following criteria:

R1

Tests that require tertiary studies in psychoeducational assessment as a prerequisite for use or interpretation. Some R1 tests may be administered by other personnel, as specified in the test manuals, under supervision of a senior guidance officer with appropriate qualifications and training to satisfy requirements for administering restricted psychoeducational tests.

R2

Tests that require specific training in administration and interpretation as well as tertiary studies in psychoeducational assessment, and supervision of a senior guidance officer with appropriate qualifications and training to satisfy requirements for administering restricted psychoeducational tests.

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