Our training program content is organized into 5 strands, 3 of which are explicitly organized around evidence-based practices:
- Professional School Psychology Practice Within a Multi-Tier System of Services and Supports
- Functional Assessment
- Interventions for Academics
- Interventions for Behavior and Social Emotional Learning, Including Families
- Instructional and Behavioral Consultation, and Supervision to Make It All Work
Professional School Psychology Practice Within a Multi-Tier System of Services and Supports (MTSS)
Schools across the country are changing how they serve all students, employing evidence-based practices in an early intervening services approach, where schools provide increasingly intensive interventions aligned with student need. This approach is called a Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) or Response to Intervention (RTI). Schools are no longer willing to allow a "wait to fail" approach where some students fall farther behind academically or socially. School psychologists are active players in this educational improvement effort, serving as leaders and change facilitators. NLU School Psychology students learn about MTSS from their first course and every quarter thereafter with a school-based practicum experience that enables them to link their acquired knowledge and skills to improve outcomes for students.
Assessment is more than just "testing," especially testing for special education eligibility. The primary purpose of assessment should be to support intervention planning and to ensure what is implemented is working or monitoring progress. NLU students learn evidence-based screening, interventional planning, progress monitoring, and program evaluation practices in a RIOT (Records, Interview, Observe, Test) perspective to support data-based decision-making.
Interventions for Academics
Research provides educators clear direction for instruction and curriculum design to support student learning, whether it is learning language, reading, or other basic skills or mastering content knowledge such as science or social studies. Although most NLU School Psychology graduates are not teachers, they need to know what works to improve pedagogy, to support teachers, and improve student achievement.
Interventions for Behavior and Social Emotional Learning, Including Families
Student learning is optimized when students feel safe, respected, and confident. For too many students, the school experience is not defined by activities that support these outcomes. Our students learn evidence-based practices beginning with parent training regarding their child's academic and social wellness, and continuing with the design and support of positive classroom and schoolwide environments to nurture students' social-emotional learning. Our trainees learn evidence-based interventions to support students at all levels of social-emotional/behavioral need.
Instructional and Behavioral Consultation, and Supervision to Make It All Work
The paradox of school psychology posits that “to serve children effectively, school psychologists must, first and foremost, concentrate their attention and professional expertise on adults” (Gutkin and Conoley, 1990, p. 212). Our students are trained to deliver indirect services through consultation with teachers, administrators, and parents to promote positive academic and behavioral outcomes for children. Students learn communication skills to move efficiently and successfully through a collaborative problem-solving process. Consultation skills are taught, modeled, and practiced during practicum and internship with the support of supervision.
In addition to consultation, supervision is an essential component in the education, training, and continuing professional development of school psychologists. However, national surveys have found school psychologists are not likely to receive professional supervision once they enter the field, and that most school psychology supervisors have not received adequate training themselves. We are committed to providing our students with university- and field-based supervision each and every quarter. Supervision occurs through several formats, across settings, and via research-based techniques. University supervisors are in frequent contact with field-based supervisors to help shape a differentiated experience to meet student goals and needs.
Our doctoral students complete a full year of coursework in supervision, including applied experiences supervising less-advanced graduate students. During supervision coursework students receive metasupervision (supervision of their supervision). Formal training in supervision is rare in the field of school psychology, and NLU students are prepared to be effective supervisors in the future.
Learn More About Evidence-Based Practices
Professional School Psychology Practice in Mtss
- National Association of School Psychologists
- Illinois School Psychology Association
- U.S. Department of Education National RTI Center
- RTI Action Network, a Coalition of Partners to Support Multi-Tier Services
Evidence-Based Assessment Practices, Including Screening and Progress Monitoring
- The Research Institute on Progress Monitoring, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, advancing what is know about how to assess what works for individual students through formative assessment.
- The U.S. Department of Education National RTI Center, containing important information on criteria for screening and progress monitoring assessment.
Evidence-Based Practices for Social-Behavior
Evidence-Based Academic Practices
- Doing What Works, a U.S. Department of Education Site that Supports Evidence-Based Practices
- The Center on Instruction, a U.S. Department of Education Site that Supports Evidence-Based Practices
Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Families
- NLU School Psychology students are trained in the Incredible Years Program (IYP), selected by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention as an "exemplary" best practice program and as a "Blueprints" program. IYP also was selected as a "Model" program by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and has been recommended by the American Psychological Division 12 Task force as a well-established treatment for children with conduct problems
- The Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) has generated more than 40 years of evidence-based practices for children and families at risk.