Members of an APA Education Directorate group--the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education--shared their plans to make the results of psychological research on preschool through high school education more accessible to teachers and other educators during a symposium at APA's 2004 Annual Convention in Honolulu.
Panelists from the coalition--which includes founding Divs. 15 (Educational), 16 (School) and 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), along with 13 other divisions and groups--described their various projects:
Marissa Sarabando, an APA member representing Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools in the coalition and a high school psychology teacher in McAllen, Texas, described the coalition's effort to survey teachers about their needs via an online questionnaire.
The survey will gather information about teachers' needs in the areas of classroom management, testing and assessment, instructional practices, classroom diversity, and family and community outreach. The survey will also ask teachers to evaluate any previous training they have received and to state a preference for different types of training, such as online or face-to-face.
"It happens a lot that people will try to design programs for teachers without getting any input from teachers," Sarabando explained.
James Royer, PhD, from Div. 15, focused on the coalition's plans to develop online training for teachers about the uses and limitations of different types of assessment, like standards-based assessments, classroom assessments and individual assessment.
This is a particularly timely topic, noted session discussant Martin Orland, PhD, of the National Research Council in Washington, D.C., because of the emphasis that recent legislation like the No Child Left Behind Act places on standardized testing.
Stephen Rollin, PhD, chair of the coalition, described how psychologists could bring their know-how directly to schools by providing study skills training and other supplemental services through the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.
The legislation requires that school districts provide money for children in underperforming schools to receive supplemental educational services, like tutoring. The supplemental services must be research-based, high-quality and specifically designed to increase academic achievement, according to the law.
"This supplementary service provider could theoretically be a psychologist teaching study skills," suggested Rollin, a Florida State University educational psychology professor.
He has also developed, with APA program officer Heidi Sickler, an NCLB supplemental-services primer for psychologists that is being distributed by the coalition.
Cindy Carlson, PhD, a Board of Educational Affairs representative to the coalition, described the coalition's goal of creating a Web-based information center for teachers and other education professionals, based on the needs its survey reveals. The information center might include tutorials on classroom management, testing and assessment, family and community outreach, and other areas covered in the survey.
"Hopefully, teachers will come to see APA as a resource for classroom management and other questions," said Carlson, a school psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
For more information about the coalition, go to Interdivision Coalition.