More than 50 researchers, early-career scholars and school psychologists gathered at the School Psychology Research Collaboration Conference in April to carve out future directions in school and educational psychology research.
"There are many difficult challenges in conducting school-based research and some of those would be advanced with collaborative, multisite research projects that are generalizable and applicable across the country," says Shane Jimerson, PhD, psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Jimerson is chair of the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP) Planning Committee, which organized the conference, held in Toronto. The conference was also co-sponsored by APA's Education Directorate, Div. 16 (School), the National Association of School Psychologists and Elsevier Publishing.
At conference breakout sessions, attendees brainstormed research ideas in five main areas--aggression/crisis, assessment/cognitive, reading assessment, social/emotional/behavioral and school systems/teachers. Participants also assessed possible research questions, funding opportunities and ways to collaborate in those areas.
Since the conference, "Attendees have been collaborating on manuscripts and grant proposals, and there has been ongoing communication among participants regarding future research efforts in school psychology," Jimerson says.
Education research is a major pillar of education reform, says Cynthia Belar, PhD, executive director of APA's Education Directorate. "Psychology--a core discipline in the educational sciences--needs to attract talented scientists from many of its sub-areas to conduct research related to education," Belar says. "This initiative on the part of school psychology is integral to these efforts."
Organizers hope the conference will be held every other year, with the next one being planned for 2005.