By Lauren Lavelle
Stefan Dombrowski, a professor in Rider’s school psychology program, recently received the 2018 Article of the Year Award from the Journal of School Psychology for his article “Cognitive profile analysis in school psychology: History, issues, and continued concerns” regarding the use of IQ tests in the psychology field.
“It was a huge surprise,” Dombrowski said. “In 2018, the journal published 62 articles and then, all of a sudden, we got a notification that we won Article of the Year. It’s great to have someone read your work.”
Co-authored by professors Ryan McGill from The College of William and Mary and Gary Canivezc from Eastern Illinois University, Dombrowski said the article focused on the frequent misuse of IQ tests by practitioners.
“One of the concerns is about how practitioners are using IQ tests and how they are interpreting them is that they’re overstepping the utility and not focusing on the evidence as much as they should,” he said. “ In some respects, test publishers are to blame because they promote an approach to interpretation that is not supported by the empirical literature. Then you have a cognitive researchers who put together workshops where they make money off of them and make even more elaborate interpretive schemes.”
According to Dombrowski, the article aimed to raise awareness of the effect IQ tests have on the diagnoses of certain learning disabilities and medical conditions.
“This article says to both to the research community and the practicing psychological community, ‘Let’s follow an empirical approach and lets heed what the research says and not necessarily what some annointed expert offering their opinion says,’” said Dombrowski. “[IQ tests are] valid and reliable but we have to be cautious about using them for classification of ADHD and classification of depression.”
While Dombrowski is proud of his work and accomplishments in his field, he said he owes most of his success to Rider’s school psychology program.
“I look at this as a feather in the cap of Rider’s school psychology program,” he said. “I’m proud of the Article of the Year Award but I’m more proud of the program itself and what we’re doing. This program is a gem within the university.”
Rider graduate student Kelly Biolsi also praised Dombrowski’s work in the school psychology program.
“Stefan Dombrowski has been a vital leader for the School Psychology program at Rider, and his profound work as a researcher and professor has impacted the field immensely,” Biolsi said. “He has dedicated his career to improving evaluation and assessment methods used in K-12 schools and trains graduate students in using them.”
Biolsi credited Dombrowski’s hands-on teaching style as the key to his students’ successes.
“As school psychologists, his students will utilize these instruments when determining what modifications and accommodations will best support students in the educational environment and help them lead successful futures,” she said. “Dombrowski is so deserving of this honor and we are proud to be taught by such a knowledgeable, caring and influential leader.”