The Development of Intercultural Competency in School Psychology Graduate Students

Elana R. Bernstein, University of Dayton
Susan C. Davies, University of Dayton
Abigail A. Lewis, University of Dayton
Amy E. Anderson, University of Dayton

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School psychologists often have the opportunity to work with students and families from varied backgrounds and cultures. While this can be an exciting and enriching part of the job, it can also be daunting for some practitioners, particularly those who are inadequately prepared. A number of strategies have been implemented in school psychology training programs to improve students’ intercultural competency. This exploratory study investigated the results of one university’s short-term study abroad program for school psychology graduate students. Pre- and post- intercultural development assessments were given to school psychology graduate students who completed a course abroad; results were compared to students who took the same course on campus in the United States. Findings indicated that there was no measurable growth in intercultural competence in either group. Implications for school psychology training programs, suggestions for future research, and ways to improve intercultural competency among school psychologists are discussed.