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Arrange a PAR Workshop in Your Area!

Did you know that it’s easy to arrange a PAR-sponsored workshop in your area? Whether we send one of our Clinical Assessment Consultants to your location or train a multi-site group via a Webinar, we offer a host of training opportunities customized to meet your needs. PAR is even approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Continuing Education Board of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to provide continuing education credits.

To learn more about our workshops and Webinars, check out our workshop brochure.

 

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Meet… Lauren Rosario

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Lauren Rosario, Senior Marketing Analyst

How many years have you worked at PAR? 1

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? My primary responsibility is market research; I engage with our Customers to discover their likes, dislikes, and needs and then find common trends between them. This helps guide the company on what is meaningful and important to Customers during new product development and when marketing products. Market research takes many different forms, from focus groups to large-scale online research projects. In addition to listening to the voice of our customers, I also work on launching new products by developing marketing pieces, videos, advertisements, and other ways to communicate to our Customers all of the great things we have to offer at PAR.

What is the best part of your job? I find market research fascinating because Customer behavior is so interesting; the most beneficial and rewarding moments are when Customers tell me something through research and that feedback changes what we as a company had planned. When that happens, you see firsthand the power of market research insights and the success that comes to companies that value and embrace their Customers’ wants and needs. It’s also very exciting when research I’ve conducted and Customer behavior that follows matches up perfectly.

What would surprise people about your job? Market research is both a science and an art at every stage of the game. There are subtle intricacies in wording and question ordering for even a simple survey that can have a great impact on the results, so having a solid background in market research is critical.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? I am taking master’s courses in marketing through Harvard University, so that takes up most of my time. I also love long-distance running with my rescue dog, traveling to new countries with my husband, quilting, and I am involved with my church.

When I first started working at PAR… I was absolutely amazed at how charitable the employees are to needy causes and how exceptionally well the company treats employees. It’s incredibly inspiring to work for a company that is so generous; I’m honored to be part of this team. PAR is a truly exemplary.

The best advice I’ve ever received is… to design a life you love. It’s short, but to me, it motivates me to be determined about loving life.  I have known since I was about 10 that I wanted to have a career in marketing, preferably in a climate that offered palm trees! I absolutely love my career as a marketer and wouldn’t prefer doing anything else.

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What to do with old forms?

Are outdated assessment forms cluttering your office? Many Customers are unsure what to do with unused or obsolete test protocols or materials from prior versions of an instrument. Rather than letting them collect dust in a bottom drawer, PAR recommends that you destroy and discard obsolete materials in a secure manner.

If you or your institution doesn’t have access to a secure recycling program, we are happy to help! Simply e-mail custsup@parinc.com or call our Customer Support line at 1.800.331.8378 and a specialist will help you obtain a prepaid return label so we may discard the materials through our corporate recycling program. This program is available only for PAR proprietary products and to our Customers in the United States.

 

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Meet… Danielle Greer

This interview is a part of an ongoing feature on the PAR blog to better acquaint Customers with PAR staff. We hope you enjoy this inside look into what goes on behind the scenes to develop, create, and deliver your most trusted assessments.

Danielle Greer, Customer Support Specialist

How many years have you worked at PAR? 1 year

What does an average day at PAR look like to you? An average day in Customer Support consists of processing orders, providing support, answering questions, and resolving issues, just to name a few. It is difficult to cover the range of duties we perform. The goal at PAR every day however is to provide unparalleled service and delight our customers!

What is the best part of your job? The variety of professionals I get to talk to on a daily basis. I get the opportunity to speak with professionals that have been in their field for decades as well as those that are just starting out. I also never know what state, country, or continent I am going to take a call from!

What have you learned by working at PAR? I have learned that it is entirely possible for a company to foster a family-like culture that inspires its employees to not only take pride in their work, but also in their position to give back to the community. PAR provides many opportunities to help those in need, and I believe other companies can learn a lot by the example that PAR sets.

When you aren’t at work, where can you be found? Cycling for miles on the Suncoast Bike Trail!

If I could switch jobs with anyone in the company for a day… I would switch with a Distribution Specialist. In Customer Support, we process a lot of orders for shipment, and sometimes have special requests for our customers that the DC helps with. I believe I could learn a lot from our neighbor department that so quickly and accurately puts together our customers’ orders and is so willing to team up with CS to tackle assignments.

What product or project have you learned the most from? Our department’s “Secret Service” committee. We are always striving to delight our customers in new and creative ways, and we inspire one another by sharing stories weekly about how we went the extra mile for a customer. These are perfect opportunities for the department to learn different ways to make our customers’ day or take a unique approach to resolving an issue.

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Are you attending the NCDA Global Conference?

Attending the National Career Development Association Global Conference in Denver? Make sure to stop by the PAR booth (#36-37) to see our newest products!

The Self-Directed Search (SDS) and the Working Styles Assessment (WSA) will be featured in a few presentations during the conference. Check your programs for room and time information. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about these two products!

#5-2 Holland Codes Change When Clients Have More Answer Options: The SDS With a 2– and 5–Point Likert Scale

Ever wondered if there was an advantage to the number of answer options on interest inventories? Why does the SDS have 2 answer options while the Strong has 5? Research will be presented on the implications of having 2 or 5 answer options on the Self–Directed Search (5th edition). Melanie Leuty and Erica Mathis, University of Southern Mississippi

#5-9 Once a Leader, Always a Leader? Examining the Trajectories of O*NET Work Styles across Career Stages

Workplace strengths and preferences are often developed and refined over the course of a lifetime. Work Styles, as measured by the Working Styles Assessment, are personal characteristics that affect job performance and satisfaction. Individual trajectories and differences in Work Style preferences during early, mid and late career stages are examined. Heather Ureksoy, PAR, Inc.

#5-4 Using a Career Course to Assist a Diverse Student Population in Exploring Careers and Imagining Future Possibilities

Understanding diverse student populations is necessary to becoming an effective practitioner. This presentation will share research on why students from varied ethnic groups choose to enroll in a career development course, how they differ in levels of negative thinking and shed light on Self–Directed Search constructs such as profile elevation and differentiation. Vanessa Freeman, Christine Edralin, and Emily Fiore, Florida State University

 

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False confession: Study shows that memories of fabricated crimes are easily planted

Wrongful conviction stories abound in the news these days as DNA evidence is being used more frequently to reopen cases, some of them decades-old. Groups like The Innocence Project are drawing attention to those who have been wrongly convicted of crimes and helping to exonerate them. In many of these stories, those falsely accused of crimes maintained their innocence, filing appeals and talking to anyone who would listen in an effort to have their cases heard.

But what about convictions in which the accused has confessed to the crime and believes in his or her own guilt? How could an innocent person be persuaded to confess to a crime he or she didn’t commit?

Quite easily, according to a new study by Julia Shaw, a lecturer in forensic psychology from the University of Bedfordshire, and Stephen Porter, a forensic psychologist at the University of British Columbia. In an article in the January 2015 issue of the journal Psychological Science, Shaw and Porter describe the method by which they were able to implant false memories of committing a crime into the minds of college-age adults who volunteered for their study.

Participants were screened to exclude those who had any previous history of law-breaking. Shaw and Porter sent questionnaires to participants’ parents to gather background information (e.g., the names of friends, details about their hometowns) that the researchers could use in the stories they fabricated about the “crime.” During the course of the experiment, which included three 45-minute interviews several days apart, participants were not permitted to communicate with their parents.

In the interviews, Shaw asked each participant to talk about a true, emotional experience from his or her early teen years; then, she prompted participants to “remember” an invented crime such as assault that led to an encounter with the police. During the interviews, Shaw maintained a friendly, nonthreatening rapport, offering to help jog memories about the false crime with details from the true event and information gleaned from the parent questionnaire.

The results surprised even the researchers: of 30 participants in the study, 21 developed a false memory of the event, and 11 reported elaborate details of their interactions with the police following their imagined crimes. “We thought we’d have something like a thirty percent success rate, and we ended up having over seventy,” Shaw said in a March 5, 2015 interview with The New Yorker. “We only had a handful of people who didn’t believe us.” In one example, a participant developed a detailed story about a love triangle that turned into a rock-throwing incident. “It was very emotional,” Shaw said. “Each time she’d re-enact the event, the rock would fill her hand a little bit more.”

The study has serious implications for law enforcement. “No department wants the image of locking up innocent people,” said Albie Esparza, public information officer for the San Francisco Police Department, responding to questions about the study from NPR’s Nathan Siegel. Esparza asserts that the “good cop, bad cop” routine is mostly a figment of Hollywood’s imagination, and that police departments are highly motivated to find the real perpetrators of crime. Yet the methods used by Shaw—gathering background information about the accused, drawing connections between that information and a crime, and even lying about facts and witnesses—are all perfectly legal for use by law enforcement in the U.S.

It seems that even when the stakes are high, people are still very susceptible to the influence of an authority figure who is questioning them. In their study summary, Shaw and Porter conclude, “It appears that in the context of a highly suggestive interview, people can quite readily generate rich false memories of committing crime.”

What do you think? What are the implications of police officers using suggestive interview techniques, and when do those techniques cross the line into coercion? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

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The Feifer Assessment of Reading: Brain Science and the Response-to-Intervention Approach

What does the science of cognitive neuropsychology—brain research—have to say about why kids struggle to read? Plenty! But it can be very time-consuming for busy professionals to sift through the research, assess kids’ brain functioning, and choose interventions that target their specific needs. This is where the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™), a new product from PAR, can help.

The FAR was developed using a brain-based educational model of reading. Research using neuroimaging techniques has clearly shown that specific neural networks in the brain are associated with different aspects of the reading process, such as phonemic awareness, fluency, decoding, and comprehension. This means that interventions for reading disorders vary depending on the specific dyslexic subtype of the individual reader.

Reading expert Dr. Steven Feifer developed the FAR to identify the four most common dyslexic subtypes: dysphonetic dyslexia, surface dyslexia, mixed dyslexia, and reading comprehension deficit. Comprising 15 subtests to measure highly differentiated aspects of reading, the FAR generates five index scores:

  • the Phonological Index, including phonemic awareness, decoding, and positioning sounds;
  • the Fluency Index, including orthographic processing plus both visual perception and verbal fluency;
  • the Comprehension Index, including semantic concepts, word recall, and morphological processing;
  • the Mixed Index (a composite of Phonological and Fluency Index scores); and
  • the FAR Total Index (a composite of all subtest scores).

Clearly, the science is there. But many districts use a Response to Intervention (RTI) approach, with teams of educators planning interventions for kids and monitoring progress to see what’s been most effective. Where does brain science come into play?

RTI is about looking at the evidence—the individual student’s reading behaviors—and designing interventions that address his or her specific needs. Evidence-based interventions require evidence-based assessments. The FAR allows practitioners to conduct an in-depth assessment that provides information about how a child learns and processes information—not a label.

The RTI approach has many strengths, but often it is not sufficient on its own to identify or diagnose a learning disability. Also, remediation strategies are too often “one size fits all” when they haven’t taken into account the reasons behind a student’s reading difficulties. The FAR can support RTI by identifying learning disabilities, thereby reducing the risk of delaying diagnosis or denying students’ eligibility for much-needed services. The included Screening Form is perfect for a quick assessment of student progress—it takes just 15 minutes to complete.

The FAR is designed to integrate cognitive neuropsychology research into the RTI approach, supporting RTI while filling some of the gaps—especially in terms of dyslexia identification and differentiation—that RTI can miss. The FAR offers solutions for school psychologists, reading specialists, and teachers—and most importantly, the potential for real improvements in student reading.

To learn more about the FAR, visit www.parinc.com.

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PAR Awards Scholarship for Excellence to Christina Barnett

Each year, PAR is proud to present a scholarship to a psychology major at the University of South Florida (USF). This year, PAR selected Christina Barnett, who will graduate from USF next May.

According to Christina, she chose her major as a freshman because “I wanted something where I could make an impact in peoples’ everyday lives. Being an industrial/organizational psychologist would allow me the opportunity to conduct research to help people find more enjoyment and efficiency in their work and nonwork lives.”

During her undergraduate career, Christina has participated in the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Psi Chi National Honor Society for Psychology, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Society, the Honors College Council, and is a member of the Herd of Thunder Marching Band. Christina is a member of the psychology honors program and has received the USF Directors Award. She has worked as a research assistant in various psychology labs on campus and is now conducting her own research through the psychology honors thesis program on the relationship between conflict and cardiovascular indicators. She hopes to pursue a PhD once she completes her undergraduate education.

We are proud to acknowledge Christina’s work and dedication to the field of psychology. Congratulations, Christina!

 

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The ChAMP is now available on the PAR Training Portal!

Interested in learning more about the new Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™)? Now you can enroll in a free training course on the ChAMP through PAR’s Training Portal. Whether you have already purchased the ChAMP and want to learn more about it or are looking for more information to help you make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain what makes it unique, and provide insight into how it was developed. And, best of all, the Training Portal is always available, so you can get training on your schedule.

The ChAMP, authored by renowned pediatric neuropsychology experts Elisabeth M. S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian L. Brooks, PhD, is a research-based memory assessment specifically designed to be engaging and relevant to children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5 to 21 years. Covering verbal, visual, immediate, delayed, and total memory domains in a brief, easy-to-use format, the ChAMP takes about 35 minutes to administer—and its Screening Index takes only 10 minutes.

To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now. Training courses are also available on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), and the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™).

 

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Now available… The Feifer Assessment of Reading!

PAR is pleased to announce the release of the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™) by Steven G. Feifer, DEd. This comprehensive test is designed to help identify specific reading disorder subtypes so clients can individualize a child’s education plan with interventions targeted to that child’s needs.

  • Based on the author’s neurodevelopmental theory of reading, which maps reading disorders to specific neural pathways in different regions of the brain.
  • Aids diagnosis by generating index scores for four dyslexic subtypes: dysphonetic dyslexia, surface dyslexia, mixed dyslexia, and reading comprehension deficits.
  • Puts the I back in IEP by directly informing intervention decisions; helps educators develop customized learning goals and objectives.
  • Features colorful, engaging, and unique item content.
  • Offers norms based on a diverse standardization sample of 1,074 individuals.
  • In just 15 minutes, the Screening Form can identify those who may be at risk for a reading disorder.
  • Can be used by professionals qualified to diagnose reading disorders and by teachers qualified to screen students for reading difficulties, develop individualized interventions, and monitor progress.
  • Includes a Fast Guide, a quick-start manual that will help you get up to speed on the FAR in minutes.
  • Scoring will soon be available on PARiConnect. Free on-demand, training is coming soon to the PAR Training Portal!

For more information on the FAR, visit the product page.

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