TED-Ed video by Rider professor garners hundreds of thousands of views

Dr. Stefan Dombrowski explores the ‘The Dark History of IQ Tests’ in popular video
Sophia Brana

A Ted-Ed video by Dr. Stefan Dombrowski, the director of Rider University’s school psychology program, has been viewed more than 600,000 times since it was posted in late April.

The video, “The Dark History of IQ Tests,” which is based on Dombrowski’s research, explores how the test has been used throughout history. TED-Ed is the youth and education initiative of TED, the nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas through short videos. The organization approached Dombrowski about recording a talk based on his research in the area of cognitive assessment.

“It’s not that the IQ tests are inherently bad or wrong — it’s the interpretive approach that’s being ascribed to them that is problematic,” Dombrowski says.

Dombrowski was also honored this month for his research with the Jane Bostrum Award for Service to School Psychology.

The award was presented by the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists (NJASP). Dombrowski was honored for his research contributions to the field of school psychology. His extensive research and citations have earned him the title of the 12th most productive scholar at the school psychology specialist level by researchers in an analysis of all specialist level school psychology researchers and programs in the United States between 2004 to 2011.

“It is always nice to have one’s research contributions to a given field of study recognized,” Dombrowski says. “I hope that my body of scholarly work leads to overall improvement in school psychology training specifically, and human well-being more generally.”

In addition to his teaching load, Dombrowski has published more than 80 articles with more than 1,800 citations of his work. He has written five books on childhood development and psychological assessment, measurement and intervention. The second edition of his book Psychoeducational Assessment and Report Writing comes out this summer. 

Dombrowski says that aside from the accolades and awards, he prides himself on the success of his students. “My concern is whether our students come out [of our program] respected in the field and able to find jobs,” he says.

Dombrowski says that he and his colleague Dr. Karen Gischlar work to provide students with top-notch training by combining their differing backgrounds in order to make their students well-rounded. 

“We research and have practiced extensively what we teach, and there are no graduate assistants teaching our courses,” he says. “It’s nice to have actual faculty experts who have written the book, so to speak, teaching the course.”

Before becoming a prolific researcher, Dombrowski was a career-changer. “I came from the world of finance, but I wanted to be in a role where I could help kids,” he says. “It was a more rewarding environment.” 

He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in child clinical psychology at the University of California-Davis Medical Center and came to Rider in 2001. He restructured the University’s school psychology program for national accreditation by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), which was first received in 2007. Rider’s school psychology program was rated the fifth-best specialist-level program in the country in 2016 by the journal Research and Practice in the Schools.

To receive accreditation, Dombrowski linked the program to NASP training standards, assembled three years of data showing how the program related to the training standards and demonstrated successful outcomes for students in the program. “In a given year approximately 50% of our interns have jobs before graduation,” he says.