NASP-Approved/Nationally-Recognized Graduate Programs in School Psychology

Article excerpt

The mission of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) is to represent school psychology and support school psychologists to enhance the learning and mental health of all children and youth. NASP's mission is accomplished through promotion of professional competence; recognition of the essential components of graduate education and professional development; graduate preparation of school psychologists to deliver a continuum of services to children, youth, families, and schools; identification of professional practices that are empirically based, data driven, and culturally competent; and advocacy for the value of school psychological services and for appropriate research-based education and mental health services, among other important initiatives.

Since 1988, NASP has been pleased to provide a national review and approval service for graduate programs in school psychology as part of our efforts to support preparation of graduate candidates for effective school psychology practice. The NASP program review and approval process contributes to the development of effective school psychology services through the identification of critical graduate education experiences and competencies needed by candidates preparing for careers in school psychology. NASP program approval/national recognition is an important indicator of quality graduate education in school psychology, comprehensive content, and extensive and properly supervised field experiences and internships, as judged by trained national reviewers. Thus, NASP approval/national recognition confers multiple advantages to programs, program graduates, the profession of school psychology, and, most importantly, to the children, families, and schools that we serve.

Specialist level (60+ graduate credits) and doctoral level programs in school psychology are reviewed and approved by NASP. For school psychology programs that submit documentation for a NASP review by trained national reviewers, the NASP Program Approval Board awards NASP approval (national recognition) status for those programs that provide evidence of consistency with the NASP Standards for Training and Field Placement Programs in School Psychology. The NASP training standards provide the foundation for program review and approval, and school psychology program submissions for NASP approval/national recognition status are evaluated to determine that programs meet NASP standards in policy and practice.

NASP is one of the specialized professional associations (SPAs) of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and conducts program reviews as a part of the NCATE unit accreditation process. As an NCATE SPA, NASP does not accredit school psychology programs, but identifies approved programs. NCATE accredits units (e.g., Schools of Education), not programs, but does provide "national recognition" status (full or with conditions) to NASPapproved programs in NCATE-accredited units. In order to provide all school psychology programs with access to the NASP review process and potentially to NASP approval/national recognition, NASP also conducts reviews of school psychology programs that are not in NCATE units and that submit materials for review by NASP on a voluntary basis.

There are three types of decisions that result from NASP review of school psychology programs. NASP approval/national recognition may be "full" or "with conditions," or a program may not receive approval/national recognition because further development is needed. Information about the two NASP approval/national recognition outcomes is summarized below:

* NASP approval/national recognition-full indicates the NASP review process found that a school psychology program demonstrated consistency with NASP standards. The period of NASP approval/national recognition-full for a program is 5 or 7 years.

* NASP approval/national recognition with conditions indicates the NASP review process found that a school psychology program demonstrated general consistency with key NASP standards, but must submit additional documentation, usually within 18 months, to be evaluated for possible continuation of NASP approval. …