Department of Educational and Community Programs

Graduate Program in School Psychology

ECP 779

Multicultural Issues in School Psychology

Semester:                          Fall, 1999.

Instructor:                        Sara G. Nahari, Ph.D.

Course description:

This course examines cultural, linguistic, and social factors as they influence individual behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, cognitive strategies, and learning styles.  The course is designed to develop an awareness and understanding of the impact of these factors on multicultural assessments, cross-cultural consultation, and interventions with culturally diverse students.  Topics receiving special attention include ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and gender in the practice of school psychology.

Course Objectives

Students taking this course will:

1.  Learn about the influence of second language acquisition on children's academic performance

2.  Learn about the influence of culture on behavior and academic performance

3.  Learn about the appropriateness of assessment instruments and subsequent interpretations

4.  Learn about the use of interpreters in assessment, the translation process and interpersonal issues in the process of translation

5.  Learn about ethical and professional issues affecting school psychologists working with culturally and linguistically diverse students.


Winzer, M. A. & Mazurk, K. (1998). Special education in multicultural contexts. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.      

Paniagua, F.A, (1998).Assessing and treating culturally diverse clients: A practical guide, (2nd edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Course Requirements

1.   Weekly reading assignments and class discussion of reading materials.

2.   Observation of a bilingual classroom or an ESL lesson.

3.   A final examination.

4.   A literature review and class presentation on a topic relevant to the course.

Course Outline

     Course overview

Discussion and review of the syllabus, assignments and responsibilities, textbook, readings, and schedule.

1.  Cultural diversity in contemporary society.  A multicultural framework of psychological service delivery

    a.  Growth in diversity and needs for psychological services

    b.  Equity/inequity: Ethnic, socioeconomic-class, gender

    c.  School psychology from a multicultural perspective




Duckitt, J. (1992).  Psychology and prejudice: A historical analysis and integrative framework. American Psychologist, 47, 1182-1193.

Barnett,D.W., Collins,R, Coulter, C., Curtis, M., Ehrnhard, K., Glasser,.A., Reyes, C., Stollar, S., & Winston,M. (1995). Ethnic validity and school psychology: Concepts and practices associated with cross-cultural professional practice. Journal of School Psychology, 33(3), 219-234.

2.  The central role of cultural influences in behavior, and the interaction between sociocultural, personal, and environmental factors in academic performance:

    a.  Values

    b.  Beliefs

    c.  Perceptions

    d.  Process of acculturation

    e.  The relationship between environment and behaviors


     Winzer. Chapter 6

     Paniagua. Chapters 1,2


Alatorre Alva, S. & Padilla A. M.(Winter 1995).  Academic invulnerability among Mexican Americans: A conceptual framework.  The Journal of Educational Issue of Language Minority Students, 15, 27-47.

Thomas, T. N.(1992). Psychoeducational adjustment of English-speaking Caribbean and Central American immigrant children to the United States. School Psychology Review, 21(4), 566-576.

Leung, B. P. (Spring 1994).  Culture as a contextual variable in the study of differential minority student achievement.  The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students, 13, 95-105.

3.  Cultural influences on social and developmental processes.

    a.  Attitudes

    b.  Attribution and expectation

    c.  Interpersonal relations


     Chapter: 10


Tharp, R.(1989).  Psychocultural variables and constants.  Effects on teaching and learning.  American Psychologist, 44(2), 349-359.

Lonner, W. J.  & Malpass, R. S. (1994). Culture's influence on social and developmental processes.  In W.J. Lonner, & R. S. Malpass, (Eds.).  Psychology and culture (pp. 91-94). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Tietjen, A. M. (1994).  Children's social networks and social supports in cultural context. In W.J. Lonner, & R. S. Malpass, (Eds.).  Psychology and culture (pp.101-106).  Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.


4.  Culture and issues of sex and gender.

    a.  Socialization and gender

    b.  Social and sexual roles

    c.  Sexual orientation, and school culture:

      educational structures

      beliefs of teachers and administrators

      educational practices.


Sadker, M., Sadker,D. & Long, L.(1997).Gender and educational equality.  In J. A Banks,& C. McGee Banks, (Eds.). Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives, (4th ed., 131-149).Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Thompson-Tetreail, M. K. (1997).  Classrooms for diversity: Rethinking curriculum and pedagogy,.In J. A Banks,& C. McGee Banks, (Eds.).Multicultural education: Issues and perspectives (4th ed., pp.150-170).  Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon  

5.  Language, culture and cognition.

    a.  Language development

    b.  Second language acquisition

    c.  Additive and subtractive bilingualism

    d.  Assessment of language dominance and proficiency

    e.  Bilingual education

    f.  Special education


     Winzer. Chapter: 3


Valenzuela, de J. S. (1998).  Language acquisition and the bilingual exceptional child.  In L. Baca, & H. Cervantes (Eds.). The bilingual special education interface (3rd ed., pp. 120-143).  New York: Merrill.

Cummins, J. (1993).  Empowering minority students: A framework for intervention. In L. Weis & M. Fine (Eds.), Beyond silenced voices: Class, race, and gender in United States schools. (pp. 101-117). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Multicultural Education

    a.  Definitions and terms

    b.  Inclusion of students' cultures in the classroom

    c.  Multicultural curricula

    d.  Approaches to language learning


Winzer. Chapters: 2, 12 and 13

Panigua. Chapters: 4,5, and 6


6.  The diverse, cultural, ethnic, and racial origins of the United States.  Issues to consider when planning assessment or interventions in a pluralistic society.

    a.  African Americans

    b.  Hispanic Americans

    c.  Asian Americans

    d.  Native American


Winzer. Chapter: 1.


Armour-Thomas, E. (1992).  Intellectual assessment of children from culturally diverse backgrounds. School Psychology Review, 21(4), 552-565.

Cheng, L.L., Ima, K., & Labovitz, G. (1994). Assessment of Asian and Pacific Islander students for gifted programs.In S. Garcia (Ed.). Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in special education, pp.30-45.

Frisby, C.L. (1992).  Issues and problems in the influence of culture on the psychoeducational needs of Afro-American children.  School Psychology Review, 21(4),532-551.

Gayton Swisher, K., & Pavel, M. D. (Spring 1994). American Indian Learning Styles Survey: An assessment of teacher knowledge.  The Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students, (13), 59-77.

Obiakor, F.E, Algozzine, B., & Ford, B. (1994) Education reform and service delivery to Afro-American students. In S. Garcia (Ed.).  Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in special education, 1-9.

Zhang Yang, S., & Carrasquillo .A. (1995).  Chinese parents' influence on academic performance.  NYSABE Journal, 10, 46-53.

7.  Multicultural assessment :Test bias and consequences of testing

    Consideration of moderator variables:

      a.  Cultural and linguistic background

      b.  Experiential background

      c.  Acculturation process

      d.  Learning style preferences and characteristics

      e.  Instructional Content: Strategies and setting, and student behaviors 


     Winzer. Chapter: 11


 Nieto, S. (1996).  Affirming diversity: The sociopolitical context of multicultural education, (pp. 86-110 and 136-186). White Plains, NY: Longman.

Fletcher, T. V, & Cardona-Morales, (1990). Implementing effective instructional interventions for minority students.  In A. Barona, & E. Garcia, (Eds.).  Children at risk: Poverty, minority status, and other issues in educational equality (pp. 158-179).  Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.

8.  Assessment materials and interpretation procedures

    a.  Bilingual assessment

    b.  Selection of culturally appropriate instruments

    c.  Alternative approaches

    d.  Qualitative assessment

    e.  Ecological assessment


     Winzer. Chapter: 7


Arreaga-Mayer, C. Carta, J., & Tapia, Y. (1994). In S. Garcia (Ed.). Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in special education, (pp.10-29).

Fradd, S., McGee-Larrinaga, P. with Wilen D. K. (1994). Differentiating language disorders from the effects of limited opportunities for language learning.  In Instructional assessment: An integrative approach to evaluate student performance (pp.163-200). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Garcia, J. H. (1990).  Nonstandardized instruments for the assessment of Mexican-American children for gifted /talented programs. In S. Garcia (Ed.). Addressing cultural and linguistic diversity in special education, (pp.46-57)

Holzman, W. H., & Wilkinson, C. Y. (1991).  Assessment of cognitive ability.  In E. Hamayan, & J. S. Damico (Eds.), Limiting bias in the assessment of bilingual students(pp.248-280).  Austin, TX: Pro- Ed.

9.  The use of interpreters

10.        Providing effective services in a multicultural school

    a.  Environment

    b.  Classroom/behavioral management approaches

    c.  Instructional approaches

Textbook:Winzer. Chapter 8.

Paniagua: Chapters, 7,8 and 9.


Lopez E. C. (1995).  Working with bilingual children. In A. Thomas & J. Grimes (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology-III (pp.1111-1122).  Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.

Ortiz, A.A. & Garcia, S.B. (1988).  A prereferral process for preventing inappropriate referrals of Hispanic students to special education.  In A. Ortiz and B. Ramirez (Eds.).  Schools and the culturally diverse exceptional child, practices and future directions.  Reston, VA: The Council Exceptional Children.

11.        Multicultural counseling and psychotherapy

    a.  Family intervention approaches

    b.  Cultural differences in the consultation process

    c.  Cross-cultural consultation

    d.  Cross-cultural consultation strategies

    e.  Consultation and cross-cultural consultation


Canino, I.A., & Sorloclock, J.(1994). (pp.5-35).   Culturally diverse children and adolescents. Assessment, diagnosis and treatment.  New York: The Guilford Press.

Arredondo, P., Toporeck, R., Brown, S. P., Jones, J., Locke, D. C., Sanchez, J., & Stadler.H. (1996). Operationalization of multicultural counseling competencies. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 24(1),42-78.    

     Koss-Chioino, J. D., & Vargas, L. A. (1992).  Through the cultural looking glass: A model for understanding culturally responsive psychotherapies.  In Vargas, L. A., & Koss-Chioino, J. D.  Working with culture: Psychotherapeutic interventions with ethnic minority, children and adolescents, (pp.1-22). San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

12.        Guidelines for culturally appropriate professional practice

    a.  Training multicultural competencies in psychologists

    b.  Future directions


American Psychological Association.(1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and codes of conduct. Washington, DC: APA.

Board of Ethnic Minority Affairs, Task Force on the Delivery of Services to Ethnic Minority Populations.(1991). Guidelines for providers of psychological services to ethnic, linguistic, and culturally diverse populations. Washington, DC: APA.

National Association of School Psychologists.(1992). Principles for professional ethics.  Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists.

Payton, C.  R.(1994). Implications of the 1992 ethics code for diverse groups. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 25(4), 317-320.

13.        Case studies


Final Exam


Barona, A., & Garcia, E. (Eds.).(1990). Children at risk. Washington, D.C.: NASP.

American Psychological Association (1993). Guidelines for providers of psychological services to ethnic culturally diverse populations. American Psychologist 48, 45-48.

Baca, L. & Cervantes, H. (Ed.). (1998).  The bilingual special  education interface.(3rd. ed).  New York: Merrill.

Betancourt, H., & Lopez, S. R.(1993).  The study of culture, ethnicity, and race in American Psychology.  American Psychologist,48, 629-637.

Comas-Diaz, L., & Griffith, E. (Eds.). (1988). Clinical lines in cross-cultural mental health. New York, NY: John Wiley.

Dana, R. H. (1993).  Multicultural assessment perspectives for professional psychology.  Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon

Eyde, L. D., Robertson, G. J. Krug, S. E., Moreland, K. L., Robertson, A. G., Shewan, C. M, Harrison, P. L., Porch, B. E., Hammer, A. L., & Primoff, E. S.(1993). Responsible test use.  Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Faltis, C. J., & DeVillar  R. A. (Eds.).(1990). Language minority students and computers. New York, NY: The Haworth Press.

Fradd, S., McGee-Larrinaga, P. with Wilen D. K.(1994).  Instructional assessment: An integrative approach to evaluate student performance. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Grossman. H. (1995). Classroom behavior management in a diverse society.  Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Grossman, H.(1995). Special education in a diverse society Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Gibbs, J. T. Huang, L. N. & Associates.(Eds.).(1989). Children of color: San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Gopaul-McNicol, S. A. (Ed.).(1992). Mini-series: Understanding and meeting the psychological and educational needs of African American and Spanish-speaking students. School Psychology Review, 21 (4), 529-531.

Hamayan, E., & Damico, J. S.(Eds.).(1991). Limiting bias in the assessment of bilingual students (pp.248-280).  Austin, TX: Pro- Ed.

Henning - Stout, M.(1996) Que podemos hacer?: Roles for School Psychologists with Mexican and Latino Migrant Children and Families. School Psychology Review, 25(2), 152-154.

Jones, R. L. (Ed.).(1988). Psychoeducational assessment of minority group children: A casebook. Berkeley, CA: Cobb & Henry Publishers.                          

Pasternak, M. G. (1979). Helping kids learn multi-cultural concepts.  Champaign, IL: Research Press Company.

Ramirez, M, III.(1994). Psychotherapy and counseling with minorities. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Vargas, L. A., & Koss-Chioino, J. D. (1992).  Working with culture: Psychotherapeutic interventions with ethnic minority, children and adolescents.  San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.