BEA Golden Psi Award

Rewards schools that apply psychological science to encourage student growth

Today's students require schools that adapt flexibly to the needs of specific individuals while ensuring high standards for all students. Psychological science provides an extensive evidence base from which to draw best practices that match the needs of their unique community contexts. Fostering a supportive school climate, engaging in formative assessment for curricular planning, and using appropriate differentiated instruction are some examples of how psychological science is applied in the school setting. Measuring the impact of practices aimed at improving student outcomes is also a key application of psychological science.

The BEA Golden Psi Award: Promoting Achievement and Social-Emotional Learning Through Psychological Science recognizes schools that apply psychological and educational research to promote effective and innovative environments for student learning and development. The award will recognize schools that demonstrate their commitment to evaluating the impact of their efforts in promoting student outcomes.

An idea generated in a BEA working group led to the formation of a task force in 2011. Task force members were selected on the basis of their expertise in one or more of the following areas: school research and policy, teaching and learning, child and adolescent development, diverse learners, and selection methodology and development. The task force clarified the characteristics or outcomes associated with successful learning environments, focusing on academic and social-emotional domains that serve as the foundation for developing the selection criteria that schools will be required to complete as part of their application.

Each criterion for award selection has been shown to be associated with positive academic and social-emotional outcomes for children.

Academic factors associated with improved student outcomes:
  • Formative assessment

  • Achievement and motivation

  • Differentiated instruction

Social and emotional supports associated with improved student outcomes:
  • Overall school climate

  • Classroom management and safe environment

  • Academic and cultural identity

  • Parental engagement

  • Psychological services and support

Applications are accepted from a different region of the United States each year. For the inaugural 2013 award, applications were accepted from the western region: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Attempts are made to align the region with the city of that year's convention in order to increase recognition for the winning school.

Applications were received in November, and the award committee is in the process of selecting the school that best demonstrates the use of psychologically based practices to contribute to positive outcomes in their school climate. The winning school will be notified in February 2013.

The winning school will receive:

  • $1,000

  • A plaque for their campus

  • Local media highlights

  • Recognition at the 2013 APA convention in Hawaii, in the Monitor on Psychology magazine, and on the APA website