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Writing Useful, Accessible, and Legally Defensible Psychoeducational Reports

Book Description

"This book focuses on how to write a psychological report that is first and foremost helpful to consumers, while also being technically and legally defensible. Like the reports the authors describe, the book is carefully organized, beautifully written, and accessible to practitioners as well as graduate students. It is a brilliant accomplishment that should be required reading for every school psychologist."

—Brent Duncan, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Humboldt State University, Arcata CA,


From clearly identifying reasons for referral to making recommendations based on assessment results, Writing Useful, Accessible, and Legally Defensible Psychoeducational Reports offers practical guidance for creating reports that enhance the understanding of children and their strengths and challenges in order to better meet their educational and functional needs.

The authors offer step-by-step guidelines for developing an assessment plan in a collaborative process with parents, teachers, and other professionals, choosing appropriate assessment and data collection tools, gathering relevant information, and providing clear and feasible individualized recommendations that directly respond to referral concerns in a format easily understood by parents and teachers.

Ideal for graduate students in school psychology, school psychologists, and other professionals in related fields who work with children in a school setting, Writing Useful, Accessible, and Legally Defensible Psychoeducational Reports:

  • Provides specific suggestions for increasing the usefulness and accessibility of reports including readability, positive phrasing, and vocabulary

  • Illustrates how to develop well-formed questions and how to choose assessment tools to answer referral questions

  • Reviews the legal mandates of report writing and discusses what must be included

  • Demonstrates how to accurately document and integrate data from record review, interviews, observations, and tests

  • Discusses how the use of the referral-based consultative assessment and report writing model can promote more active involvement in collaboration, prevention, and intervention

  • Features numerous real-world cases, helpful checklists, examples of question-driven referral reports, and a model interview protocol

  • Table of Contents

    1. Acknowledgments
    2. Chapter 1: Why Is Another Book on Report Writing Needed?
      1. Report Writing Is Important
      2. Assessment and Report Writing Consumes a Lot of Our Time and Is a Fundamental Task for School Psychologists
      3. Reports Should Clearly Communicate Information to Consumers That Makes a Difference in the Lives of the Children Involved
    3. Chapter 2: What Makes a Report Legally Defensible?
      1. Understand the Difference Between What Legally Must Be Included in Your Reports and What Must Be True About Your Assessment
      2. What Must Be True About Your Evaluations (and Therefore Reflected in Your Reports) According to Federal Legal Mandate?
      3. The Evaluation Should Be Comprehensive
      4. The Evaluator Should Use a Variety of Assessment Tools or Approaches That Gather Functional and Relevant Data
      5. The Evaluation Should Be Fair
      6. The Evaluator Should Be Competent
      7. The Procedures Used Should Be Valid and Reliable
    4. Chapter 3: How Do I Make My Reports More Useful to Consumers?
      1. Write Your Report with the Audience in Mind
      2. Useful Reports Clearly Answer the Referral Questions
      3. Useful Reports Focus on Strengths as Well as Needs
      4. Useful Reports Provide Concrete and Feasible Recommendations for Educational Planning
      5. Useful Reports Are Clear and Understandable
      6. Readability Impacts the Usefulness of Your Reports
      7. Increase Readability by Reducing Professional Jargon
      8. Increase the Readability of Psychoeducational Reports by Cutting Words and Using Active Voice
      9. Increase the Readability of Psychoeducational Reports by Considering the Length, Including Amount and Quality of Information
      10. Increase the Readability of Your Report by Using a Report Structure That Integrates Data and Highlights Relevant Evaluation Findings
      11. Referral-Based Reports Synthesize Fundamental Research Findings with Best Practice
    5. Chapter 4: Step-by-Step, How Do I Write Useful and Legally Defensible Reports?
      1. How Do I Clearly Communicate the Purpose of the Evaluation?
      2. How Do I Develop Well-Formed Evaluation Questions?
      3. How Do I Write Present Levels of Functioning Questions?
      4. How Do I Write Diagnostic or Disability Questions?
      5. How Do I Write Solution-Based, or “What Do We Do About This” Questions?
      6. The Background Information Provides Developmental and Educational Perspective to Your Report
      7. Assessment Data from Multiple Sources Is Integrated into Themes
      8. How Do I Write Useful Recommendations?
    6. Chapter 5: How Do I Solve Practical Problems Along the Way to Question-Driven Report Writing?
      1. Remind Me: Why Is Another Book on Report Writing Needed?
      2. Why Should I Change My Report Writing Model?
      3. What Should Be My First Steps Toward Transitioning to This Report Style?
      4. My School District or Agency Already Has a Template That We Are Required to Use; How Can I Work Within These Constraints?
      5. This Style of Report Writing Seems Time Consuming and I Am Already Swamped with Work! Is This True?
      6. Do Referral-Based Reports Vary, Depending on the Characteristics of the Child?
      7. Do Triennial Reevaluations Differ from Other Reports?
      8. How Do Charts and Tables Fit into a Questions-Based Thematic Report?
      9. Do I Need to Use a Specific Format When Writing?
      10. Last Words
    7. Appendix I–Checklist for a Useful and Legally Defensible Report
    8. Appendix II–What Do These Reports Look Like?
    9. Appendix III–Interview protocol
    10. References
    11. Author Index
    12. Subject Index
    13. End User License Agreement