Assessment general principles

Assessment on the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is guided by a number of different frameworks including the Health and Care Professions Council's (HCPC's) standards of education and training and standards of proficiency, the British Psychological Society's (BPS's) accreditation through partnership framework and Lancaster University's own guidance for postgraduate students. Links to all relevant documentation are included at the end of this section.

The programme's assessment strategy is developed and monitored by the Assessment Policy Group. The aims of the Policy Group are to monitor and review each academic assignment, and to develop the framework of academic assessment to best fit trainee competencies. Each assignment is reviewed annually by the Assessment Policy Group. Once results have been ratified by the Exam Board, the coordinator for each assignment submits a report for discussion by the Policy Group on the process of the assignment, including feedback from external examiners and other stakeholders. Any proposed changes to assignments are initially discussed at the Assessment Policy Group, and then brought to the Senior Management Group for approval.

The programme's assessment strategy is informed by the HCPC's standards of proficiency for practitioner psychologists and the BPS's learning outcomes and objectives. These are often used as indicators in the assessment of evidence. Evidence for specific competencies is collected and rated for each assessment. The programme's competency-based approach to assessment means that a number of competencies (e.g., analysis and critical thinking) will be assessed throughout training but the demonstration of these will be different according to the specific assignments or placements. For example, analysis and critical thinking in the systematic literature review will be evidenced by different indicators than in the placement presentation and report.

Furthermore the different assignments have been chosen to allow trainees the opportunity to demonstrate these competencies in different domains (clinical, academic etc) and thereby meet the specific learning outcomes specified by the HCPC and BPS. For example, the systematic literature review in the first year allows trainees to meet a specific but broad standard of proficiency outlined in the HCPC document (2b.1 - be able to identify, review and critically appraise a substantial body of research evidence relevant to clinical psychology practice) and an equally broad learning outcome stipulated by the BPS (B1.3.6 - identifying and critically appraising research evidence relevant to practice).

However, the indicators for the systematic literature review also allow examiners to assess trainees' ability to understand a wide range of research designs (HPS SoP 2.b.1/assessed in the SLR Knowledge and Skills competency) and their understanding of service planning and contextual issues (BPS Service Delivery B.1.3.9/assessed in the SLR Knowledge and Skills competency).

It should be noted that only by successfully completing the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology can trainees become eligible to apply to the HCPC to be registered as a clinical psychologist. Furthermore, only HCPC approved programmes can confer eligibility to apply for HCPC registration. The programme does not offer any other route except to the full award of the doctorate in clinical psychology: no aegrotat award is offered.

The HCPC Standards of Proficiency for practitioner psychologists
HCPC Standards of education and training
BPS Accreditation through partnership handbook