Objective structured professional assessments for trainee educational psychologists: an evaluation

Authors: Sandra Dunsmuir, Cathy Atkinson, Jane Lang, Amy Warhurst & Sarah Wright
Published: 2017
Publication: Educational Psychology in Practice

Objective Structured Professional Assessments (OSPAs) were developed and evaluated at three universities in the United Kingdom, to supplement supervisor assessments of trainee educational psychologists’ placement practice. Participating second year students on three educational psychology doctoral programmes (n = 31) and tutors (n = 12) were surveyed. Scenarios, developed with experienced practitioners, were considered authentic and relevant. Tutor feedback indicated that the marking scheme was a good basis for judgements, but required further calibration and standardisation. Strengths and limitations relating to authenticity of scenarios and practical arrangements were identified. Students considered OSPAs to be a valid assessment of communication and perspective-taking skills, although some found them to be anxiety provoking. Levels of authenticity and complexity were deemed appropriate, although there were concerns over time allowed and how the assessment criteria were interpreted. The discussion highlights how OSPAs address issues relating to assessment reliability by improving objectivity, reducing bias and providing uniformity to student assessment experiences.

Dunsmuir, S., Atkinson, C., Lang, J., Warhurst, A. & Wright, S. (2017) Objective structured professional assessments for trainee educational psychologists: an evaluation. Educational Psychology in Practice, 33(4), 418-434, DOI: 10.1080/02667363.2017.1352490