Assessment of Learning Outcomes

The DClinPsy's programme-level learning outcomes are prescribed by the British Psychological Society's Standards for Doctoral programmes in Clinical Psychology document (2014). These learning outcomes consist of ten over-arching outcomes and nine core competency domains. Details of these can be found in the DClinPsy's programme specification.

Assessment through practice placement experience

The Supervisor's Assessment of Trainee (SAT) report form, which supervisors complete prior to the mid-placement visit and at the end of each practice placement, comprises two sections. The first contains twelve transferable competencies which are drawn from the latest job, task and role analysis for clinical psychology arising from a research project commissioned by the Clearing House for Postgraduate Course in Clinical Psychology (Baron & O'Reilly, 2012). The second section of the form contains eighteen specific competencies which are drawn from the BPS Standards. The SAT is used to indicate whether or not the trainee has met the required learning outcomes for the practice placement and subsequently to recommend to the exam board whether the placement should be considered satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily completed. Trainees are also required to complete a log-book for each practice placement, which includes a self-assessment component where they are asked to rate themselves against a range of objectives that stem directly from the programme-level learning outcomes.

Assessment through research thesis

The doctoral thesis is a substantial piece of work (up to 56,000 words including tables, figures and appendices) trainees usually complete during their second and third year of training. As well as providing additional evidence of many of the HCPC's Standards of Proficiency, and providing evidence that trainees have developed the skills described within the BPS's 'research' core competency domain, the thesis must be completed to a to a standard which is consistent with Lancaster University's guidance on doctoral level research. It comprises conducting and reporting on primary, investigative research which is relevant to the theory and practice of clinical psychology. In terms of quality, the thesis needs to demonstrate a substantial contribution to knowledge and should afford originality by the discovery of new findings and by the exercise of independent critical power.

Assessment through academic coursework submission

Academic coursework completed as part of the programme is evaluated by rating a series of domains that are required to perform these skill sets proficiently. These domains are a codification of the BPS (2014) learning outcomes and relevant parts of the 2012 Baron & O'Reilly job, task and role analysis. The domains are transferable across the multiple activities in which clinical psychologists are expected to engage. A brief definition of each of them follows: -

L1. 'Gathering' - Collating information and knowledge for specific purpose
Locating appropriate and relevant information and drawing on own existing knowledge to address a specific issue or situation.

L2. 'Analysing' -Critical analysis and synthesis
In terms of the relevant issue, weighing up & critically analysing & synthesising everything from collated information and knowledge

L3. 'Deciding' - Strategy for application
Developing a strategy to practically apply the outcome of the synthesis to a specific situation and showing how this strategy follows from the synthesis. This may include a plan for conducting a programme of research, or using an integrative or eclectic approach that would be used in the planned intervention. This domain relates specifically to making the plan, not its implementation.

L4. 'Doing' - Performance skills
Implementing a strategy in a real environment. This domain concerns the concrete application / performance of specific techniques and (micro) skills.

L5. 'Responding' - Responsive to impact and learning from experiences
Trainee seeks out and is responsive and sensitive to the effect of his / her own actions & to new information. S/he shows learning from this through adapting her / his own future behaviour.

6. 'Communicating' - Communicating information effectively
Communicating information effectively to the intended audience, adapting style, delivery and content as appropriate (but NOT the choice of strategy).

7. 'Interacting' - Interpersonal skills & collaboration
These are the transferable skills that underpin interactions with others.

8. 'Organising' - Organisational skills
Using organisational skills in a proactive way to process and prioritise disparate demands and tasks to achieve objectives in a timely fashion.

9. 'Behaving' - Professional behaviour
Behaving professionally and appropriately in all contexts

10. 'Knowing' - Demonstrating Essential Knowledge
The trainee is able to show the required essential knowledge of clinical psychology theory, evidence and best practice that can be applied to their own learning and practice.

Evidence for a broader knowledge of clinical psychology practices is collected throughout to training from the assignments and other sources and is logged within the trainee's e-portfolio.

A lack of skill, knowledge of competence can be assessed using any of the assignments. However, each assignment focuses on 4-5 'active' domains where the trainee is required to provide positive evidence of skills in the domain in order to pass the assignment. The table below indicates which assignments 'actively assess' which domains. Note that domains 8-10 are only ever passively assessed.

Descriptive name Domain name Placement Assignment (x3) Self-Assessment Exercise Thesis Preparation Assignment Service Evaluation Project Service Improvement Poster Presentation
Gathering L1. Collating information and knowledge X X X X
Analysing L2. Critical analysis and synthesis X X X X
Deciding L3. Strategy for application (deciding) X X X X
Doing L4. Performance skills X X
Responding L5. Responsive to impact and learning from experiences X X
Communicating 6. Communicating information effectively X X X X
Interacting 7. Interpersonal skills and collaboration X X