Graduate Training in School Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder

Amanda Paige Marshall, Fordham University


The number of students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) rises each year, along with a demand for use of evidence-based intervention (EBI) in schools. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is widely recognized as an effective EBI for students with ASD, making it a skill that contributes to school psychologists’ (SPs) effectiveness. This study reviewed SPs’ professional self-efficacy across relevant domains, including ABA. The Applied Behavior Analysis Efficacy Scale (ABAES) was modeled after the Huber Inventory of Trainee Self-Efficacy (HITS). Contributions of training quality, amount of training, and knowledge of ASD to predicting professional self-efficacy measured by the HITS and ABAES were examined. Results indicated vicarious experiences during field training were the greatest predictor of self-efficacy in general duties and ABA-based tasks. Mastery experiences were found to predict self-efficacy in ABA based tasks and imaginal experiences were predictive of self-efficacy in general duties. Participant commentary indicated field experiences were the most impactful aspect of training but raised concerns about disparities in experience quality. Participants expressed feeling unprepared to address the needs of students with ASD. Participants included 189 females and 17 males, between 23 and 72 years of age. Most participants reported having four or more years of experience (n = 96), 44 reported less than four years, and 75 were interns, with 129 at the specialist level and 86 at the doctoral level.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Special education|Behavioral psychology

Recommended Citation

Marshall, Amanda Paige, "Graduate Training in School Psychology: Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2022). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28262381.