What Does An Educational Psychologist Do?
Educational psychologists work at the institutional level to enhance the educational system and make learning a better one for all students. In many cases, they will be working with other professionals and stakeholders of the educational system like teachers and school administrators to design and implement programs that would improve the curriculum and the entire school experience.
Research is one of the cornerstones of the work of educational psychologists. Through questionnaires, interviews and case studies, they are able to gather data to determine if educational strategies or policies need to be implemented. For example, a local school board may ask an educational psychologist to assess if a particular curriculum needs to be revised or changed entirely. At a wider level, the federal government may implement policies throughout the entire school system after educational psychologists have done the necessary research to validate that such rules are indeed necessary.
Educational psychologists conduct psychometric testing as one of the methods of research. They usually utilize psychometric tests to gauge how students are performing academically. They also use these tests to assess intelligence and personality attributes. Educational psychologists also work to develop tests that will best evaluate the performance of a particular segment of the student population, such as those of students with special needs.
Educational programs also need to be evaluated to determine their efficacy and impact. Educational psychologists may conduct formative evaluations, summative evaluations and stakeholder based evaluations. Formative evaluations are done to determine whether an educational program has been implemented well while summative evaluations are conducted to check if the program has had its desired impact. A stakeholder based evaluation, on the other hand, is done to find out if the program has met the needs of those for whom the program has been established.
The topics of research that educational psychologists who are working for research organizations don’t necessarily have to do with school programs. Rather, they go beyond the confines of the school to look into the different issues that impact learning. For example, they may study the factors in the home that affect a student’s academic performance or whether playing video games have an influence on memory and retention. Any questions delving on learning and things related to it are subjects of interest for the educational psychologist. From these information as well as what they know about human growth and development and behavior, they are able to come up with generalizations and theories about learning that can help schools and educational programs.
Aside from working to improve academic programs, educational psychologists also come up with courses and activities that can address various behavioral issues faced by students in school. These include things like bullying, self-confidence and their emotional and social wellbeing. In many cases, educational psychologists coordinate with other professionals in the school system to come up with ways to improve the entire learning experience of the students that they are caring for. These meetings and discussions also enable them to talk about changes in policies and curricular developments and how these would affect students.
In a typical day, educational psychologists can expect to meet with students, teachers, parents, school administrators and other stakeholders to talk about programs and activities regarding the school system. They do tests, surveys and interviews to gather data for their research. They also attend conferences and meetings that discuss how best to implement new programs. They may also advocate for new regulations or persuade legislators the importance of establishing particular policies using the research and data they have.
Educational psychologists also do a lot of writing and public speaking. They write their reports after performing their research and submit these to journals and other publications. They may also make formal written recommendations on various programs and policies. They may also present the findings of their research to fellow psychologists and other educators to enlighten them on student behavior and learning and hopefully improve the learning process in the country. Educational psychologists may also train new teachers especially if there are new policies and programs that need to be put in place. By ensuring that educators know how best to apply interventions borne out of solid research, educational psychologists do their share in promoting the holistic development of children and enhancing school systems.