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Goals and Learning Objectives

Psy.D. Program in School-Community Psychology

Goal 1. To produce graduates who have the requisite skills to become professional psychological practitioners who work in schools.

Objective 1. Students demonstrate the ability to administer and interpret psychological assessment devices.

Competency 1a. Competence in administering psychological assessments is judged by ratings from immediate supervisors of the student's actual assessment skills at our clinic, The Psychological Research and Counseling Clinic (PERCC). Students are expected to attain a "near competent" or higher rating.

Competency 1b. Students must attain a rating of four or higher on a five point scale in the ability to accurately assess children, as rated by school psychology internship supervisors on the school psychology internship evaluation form. Student scoring below a rating of four are provided extra assessment experiences until they attain the accepted level of competence.

Competency 1c. Students are evaluated on their ability to administer assessment devices at their practicum placement. A rating of four or higher is expected on their evaluation form.

Competency 1d. Students attain grades of B or better in assessment courses. These courses involve the administration, scoring, and interpreting of psychological assessment devices. Students who do not attain this course grade are required to take a remedial independent study course. Students are also observed during their test administrations.

Competency 1e. Students must pass the Assessment Question which is an essay question given on the Qualifying Examination taken at the end of the first year of the program. Students who fail are given a second and final attempt to pass the assessment question.

Objective 2. Students demonstrate competence in counseling children and families.

Competency 2a. Counseling skills are assessed by rating of students who are assigned cases as part of the PSY 330, 331 courses (Internship in School Psychological Services I & II). Students must function at a minimum threshold of achievement of 4 or higher in all categories. Those who do not meet the standard are provided additional opportunities to meet that standard of competence either through receiving additional cases, additional one-on-one supervision, or both. Counseling skills are also assessed by grades in PSY 227 (Interviewing and Counseling) and by grades in Internship Courses PSY 330, 331, 349, & 350 (Internship Courses). The threshold of acceptability for grades is B or better. In instances where students to not attain a B or better, or in instances where the instructor views a student as lacking skill despite a B or better grade, an independent study course is provided. The competencies listed in 2a differ in that one is assessing knowledge and the other is assessing functioning with actual cases.

Competency 2b. The school psychology internship evaluation forms provide another way of assessing competency in counseling skills. A score of four or higher is needed on each item, and if this is not attained increased individual supervision is required.

Competency 2c. The community internship supervisor evaluates student abilities in counseling on the Community Internship Supervisor Evaluation form. Individual item scores of four or higher are required and if this is not attained, further one-on-one supervision is provided.

Competency 2d. When appropriate, students counsel children during their practicum experiences. They receive a rating on the ability to counsel children. A rating of four or higher is expected. If not attained, further individual supervision is provided.

Goal 2. To produce graduates with a strong foundation in the science of psychology and an appreciation of the role of science in psychological practice.

Objective 1. Students demonstrate facility in the use of research methods prior to designing and initiating research projects

Competency 1a. Students attain a "B" or better in courses in statistics and research design PSY 201 & 202 (Graduate Statistics I & II). These courses in descriptive and inferential statistics acquaint students with univariate and multivariate research methods. Students who do not attain this minimum level of competence either take an independent study course or repeat the course. Since the last accreditation we had one student who attained a "C" in PSY 202, (Graduate Statistics II). The student was eventually terminated from the program after two unsuccessful efforts to pass the Qualifying Exam at the end of the first year.

Competency 1b. Students must successfully complete the statistics portion of the Qualifying Examination. This section of the qualifying exam assesses the ability to apply appropriate statistical methods to various research investigations. Successful completion of this exam is required in order to continue doctoral level study. It is administered at the end of the first year of the program. Since the last accreditation visit, two students failed this section of the Qualifying Exam. Given the opportunity of additional preparation and being allowed to retake the exam, one student passed and one failed again. That student who failed for the second time was counseled and decided to leave the program.

Competency 1c. As with Competency 1a. above, students must successfully complete research design courses: PSY 223 & 224 (Research Designs for Health Service Programs and Research Design II) with a grade of "B" or better. Students who are unable to do so complete an independent studies course. To date all students have successfully navigated these courses.

Objective 2. Students must apply their knowledge of statistics and research methods by designing and implementing research projects.

Competency 2a. The pre-dissertation research course (PSY 224) involves designing, running, and writing up a data based research project. Students must not only obtain acceptable grades but also design and implement a research project under supervision of a faculty member. These projects are usually carried out by a team of two graduate students. The research projects serve as a preliminary step to the development of individual, independent research projects, the doctoral dissertations. Many pre-dissertation projects are presented at professional conferences, although this is not a requirement for meeting this competency.

Competency 2b. Students initiate a doctoral dissertation. Following preparatory course work in statistics and research design and the completion of the pre-doctoral research project noted in Competency 2a above, students in the third year of the program select a dissertation topic and present it in class for critical review by the course instructor and their classmates. The aim is to train students to present their ideas logically and coherently, and, by receiving feedback from peers and the course instructor, to improve their research designs.

Competency 2c. Students are expected to prepare a doctoral dissertation proposal. The proposal is defended before a committee. Following acceptance of the proposal, students then complete data collection, data analysis, and defend their doctoral dissertation at an oral defense. Dissertations are data based and are relevant to the field of school and/or community psychology. The dissertations enhance practitioner skills by thoroughly immersing students in the scientific bases of the practice of psychology.

Goal 3. To produce graduates who are skilled in working in health service facilities that interface with schools.

Objective 1 Students successfully complete required courses relevant to severe cases of emotional/behavioral maladjustment and to the functioning of facilities that interface with schools for the benefit of children and families.

Competency 1a. Students complete courses, with a grade of B or better in Consultation in Schools and Health Service Settings (PSY 220), Childhood Psychopathology (PSY 254), Community Intervention Programs (PSY 280), Psychology of the Emotionally Disturbed Child (PSY 257), Psychology of the Criminal Justice System (PSY 269), School-Community Internship I (PSY 349) and School-Community Internship II (PSY 350). All students have attained at least a B in these courses but if not, they would be provided with individualized instruction.

Competency 1b. Students demonstrate a capability to use and integrate the didactic information relevant to community facilities and mental health. This capability is demonstrated by performance on the Qualifying Examination in which students are expected to use their acquired knowledge by devising and evaluating intervention plans. Students are graded on the basis of Pass (P), Pass Minus (P-), or Fail (F). The minimum expected competency here is a P-, which shows a relatively good grasp of the functioning of facilities external to schools, of various types of child and family maladjustment, and the ability to develop reasonable intervention plans. Students who do not attain the minimal competency are required to retake this section of the examination. A second failure leads to termination of candidacy in the doctoral program.

Objective 2. Awarded paid internship placements in facilities that often interface with schools, i.e. community mental health centers, counseling centers, child development centers, etc., students are expected to function on a level equivalent to a staff member of that facility.

Competency 2a. Students must function effectively with staff within the internship facility. This is evaluated on the community internship evaluation form.

Competency 2b. Students provide individual and group intervention services to assigned clients within the internship facility. Ratings of competency are from the internship supervisor and again are expected to be at a level of four or higher.

Competency 2c. On their internships, students design and evaluate empirically-based intervention programs and/or programs that directly interface with schools. A rating of four or higher is expected. Competency 2d. Students receive a competency evaluation by their professors based upon simulated counseling sessions in the fourth level School-Community Internship Courses (PSY 349 and PSY 350). Ratings of six or higher are expected.


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