Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Gayle Mindes

Second Advisor

Dr. Mojdeh Bayat

Third Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Hardman


Traditionally, school psychologists have used the I.Q. discrepancy model to measure academic achievement versus student academic ability in order to determine if the student may be eligible for special education services under the category of specific learning disability (SLD). With the reauthorization of IDEA 1997 in December 2004, new policies under Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) were signed into law and became effective July 1. 2005. While the use of the I.Q. discrepancy model is permitted, technically adequate assessments and researched based instructional practices must also be in place and student progress recorded before students can be diagnosed with a SLD.

Response to Intervention (RtI) has been presented as a means to provide scientifically researched based strategies and assessments to struggling students before the SLD diagnosis can be determined. RtI is a general education initiative that can provide early intervention strategies to all learners, and assist students in a general education environment. RtI may prevent the need for special education services for many students who would be diagnosed with a specific learning disability.

This qualitative phenomenological study will examine the views of three veteran school psychologists and their beliefs in what the role the school psychologist has been and will be with the implementation of RtI. Participants will discuss how that role may change as the use of the discrepancy model becomes secondary in the identification of SLD. The traditional role of the school psychologist will be examined using historical data to provide insight into the conventional use of the school psychologist. The evolution of school psychology from its philosophical roots in philosophy through the present day acceptance of school psychology as a science and a profession will also be researched.