APA Center for Psychology in Schools and Education update

Highlights of recent initiatives in CPSE

By Ashley Edmiston

The APA Center for Psychology in Schools and Education (CPSE) is pleased to provide the PTN audience with an update on some of our recent initiatives. Notably, a task force report examining the role of racial and ethnic disparities in educational outcomes is now posted on the APA website. Additionally, the application cycle recently closed for the inaugural BEA Golden Psi Award, which recognizes a PK–12 school on its use of psychological practices to affect academic and social-emotional outcomes. Finally, CPSE Director Rena Subotnik along with Science Directorate Executive Director Steve Breckler have been representing APA in a working group developed by the National Research Council to address the teaching and learning of social and behavioral science. For more information on CPSE and to see what other material and resources we have to offer teachers, please visit the CPSE page.

Task Force on Educational Disparities

Given the increasing representation of minorities in various sectors of the U.S., including education and the U.S. workforce, and because most jobs that pay enough to afford a sustainable lifestyle result from skills derived through higher education, it is critical that poor and racial/ethnic groups not only persist but achieve more in academic settings. Having a more educated racially diverse society is beneficial for all communities. An APA presidential task force staffed by CPSE examined the issue of educational disparities in order to:

  1. Identify what psychological science has to say about the nature and source of educational disparities; 

  2. Identify interventions that have been successful in addressing these gaps on the part of schools, families, communities and the young people themselves; and 

  3. Make recommendations to psychologists and the public regarding implications from this body of work to practice, policy and research.

The task force report can be found on the APA website.

BEA Golden Psi Award

This CPSE project came out of an idea to develop an APA award to be given to a school each year to reinforce the application of psychology to successful school outcomes. Task force members were selected based on 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 served as the foundation for developing the selection criteria that schools are required to complete as part of their application.

Applications for the 2013 Golden Psi Award came from the western region of the United States and were accepted up through November 2012. The selection committee will identify the winning school by February 2013 and present a $1,000 check and award plaque on-site at the end of the academic year. The winning school will also be recognized at the 2013 APA convention, in highlights in the Monitor on Psychology and on the APA website. For more information on the award, please visit the BEA Golden Psi Award page.

K-12 Behavioral Social Science Education

Rena Subotnik is representing the Education Directorate, and Steve Breckler is representing the Science Directorate in a working group established by the National Research Council (NRC) on the teaching and learning of the social and behavioral sciences (SBS) in K–12 education. This working group facilitates collaboration and communication between experts in the educational field and gathers information to develop short-term and long-term strategies aimed at strengthening the scope, content and rigor of SBS in K–12 education. Among other activities, the group may serve to generate related NRC-sponsored workshops or consensus studies on the teaching and learning of SBS in K–12 education. The group would also serve as a vehicle through which APA could coordinate activities related to strengthening SBS in K–12 education.