Placement Presentation and Report (PPR) guidance for examiners

Introduction

The Placement Presentation and Report (PPR) is an assessment linked to placement activity. It consists of:

  • a 1500-word initial report which is handed in at the end of each core placement
  • a presentation by the trainee and subsequent discussion with the trainee and examiners (to be held after placements 2 and 4)
  • a 5,500-word main report (handed in following the presentation and discussion). The initial 1,500 word report will be combined with this main report bringing the maximum acceptable word count to 7,000 words. Should the initial report be less than 1,500 words, the word count for the main report should still be a maximum of 5,500 words. Word count is not transferable between the two reports

The initial report

The initial report should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words. The word count should be presented on the document and any reports not within this word count will be returned to the trainee. This report should reflect some aspect of a formal clinical/service related communication which was conducted in relation to the piece of clinical/service related work the trainee decides to present. This could include a final letter to a client, report of the outcome of a group or an evaluation of an intervention/training targeted at staff. It should include a brief statement concerning: how the work came about, context of the service and consideration of consent. The main content of the initial report could contain background information; assessment methods; formulation/synthesis of psychological understanding; intervention and outcome. A figure or diagram may be attached but should not have a substantial written component. The introductory paragraph and references (where appropriate) are to be written in APA style. The remainder of the initial report does not have to conform to APA style.

The initial report will be submitted at the end of each of the four placements. For those initial reports submitted after the first and third placements, the office will hold the report and it will not be considered for assessment until the presentation element of the assessment takes place. Where a placement is subsequently failed, the trainee will not be able submit a PPR from that placement and, consequently, the initial report will be returned to the trainee. The trainee will not be allowed to retrieve an initial report, once submitted, even though it might not be examined for up to six months (or longer if a trainee intercalates), unless in exceptional circumstances and this will be authorised by the Chair of the Exam Board. The initial report will not be accepted by the office unless a declaration form completed by the clinical supervisor is also submitted for that work, indicating that it is an accurate representation of the trainee's work and that appropriate consent has been obtained from those involved to us the material for the assignment. Should the trainee not pass the placement (but not fail it, for example, if the trainee has been seriously ill and therefore not been able to complete the placement), a decision will be made by the Chair of the Exam Board, in consultation with another Director and the trainee's review tutors, on whether an initial report can be submitted. Where it is felt that a trainee is not able to submit an initial report from such a placement, two may be submitted from one placement. Where this is not possible, a decision will be made by the Chair of the Exam board in consultation with others as to how to proceed.

The presentation and discussion

The two examiners for the PPR will be taken from the DClinPsy list of approved examiners who have undertaken specific training on the requirements of the PPR and its assessment procedures. The examiner pair will be made up of at least one clinical psychologist working in the speciality in which the trainee is presenting and at least one examiner who has examined the PPR before (this may include a member of the programme team). Examiners will have a minimum of one year post qualification experience and none of the examiners will be known to the trainee in any of the following capacities: placement supervisor, individual clinical/research tutor, personal tutor or having any other close personal or professional relationship with the trainee. A system has been created to allow both the examiner and trainee to indicate any such relationships.

A member of the programme team will chair the presentation process. The Chair's role is to keep the PPR to time and, where necessary, provide guidance or an alternative viewpoint on any areas of disagreement between examiners.

The examiner pair will receive the relevant initial report, the one from the work which the trainee will present to read prior to the trainee presentation. It is expected that the examiners will discuss (without the trainee present) the contents of the report prior to the presentation. The examiners will not usually have had sight of this report prior to this time. The other initial report will not be formally assessed but kept by the office in case it is needed in case of failure by the trainee of the first PPR.

The trainees will be told on the day of the presentation, around 30 minutes before they are due to present, which presentation they will be asked to deliver. More guidance on what the presentation should cover is contained within the document Placement Presentation and Report (PPR) information for trainees. They will present for 15 minutes, and this will be kept to time by the chair of the presentation process. They will then have around 10 minutes of discussion with the trainee in which the trainee is encouraged to discuss and reflect on their work. After a brief time in which the examiners reflect together (without the trainee) on the presentation and the evidence collected, the trainee is invited back in to receive verbal feedback. A copy of the feedback is sent out to trainees following the presentation process with a copy stored electronically by the programme office. Feedback given by examiners includes strengths and areas for development. Trainees are required to reflect on the feedback points in the main report section of the PPR. All scoring schedules are detailed in the scoring booklets.

If the presentation is considered unacceptable (i.e. trainee discloses something which raises serious professional or ethical issues), the process needs to be halted. Examiners are asked to progress through the process to their private discussion time and during this time to make contact with the PPR Co-ordinator/Chair of the Exam Board. Consultation will take place between the PPR Co-ordinator/Chair of the Exam Board and the examiners as to why it has been necessary to halt the process and seek advice. The Chair of the Exam Board will consult with colleagues (including the Clinical Director if the concern raised is a serious professional concern). If the concern is deemed sufficient to require action by the employer, the PPR assessment process will be suspended whilst advice is sought from the employing body as to how to proceed. Other outcome options following consultation with the Chair of the Exam Board are the resumption of the original presentation process, the presentation of the PPR material from the alternative placement and/or referral to the Exam Board about how to proceed. If it is decided that the trainee needs to present their alternative PPR material, this will be scheduled in as soon as is practically possible with a different examiner pair.

If the trainee presents extremely poorly (so would score Unacceptable on the Presentation Skills competency), this will be communicated to the trainee after the private discussion between the examiners (with advice from the Chair of the Exam Board if required). In this situation, the trainee will have one more attempt to give the presentation at that specific day of presentations where scheduling will allow. If s/he fails at this second attempt, then a fail has to be recorded for the whole PPR and the trainee must re-take the assessment (i.e. have an alternative initial report available and present the relevant presentation). The date for re-assessment will be confirmed by letter from the Exam Board. The re-assessment will be scheduled with a different examiner pair. As the presentation skills competency is the only one which is not also assessed during the marking of the initial and main PPR reports, it is appropriate to inform the trainee at this point that they have failed.

It is important to note that trainees who cannot attend the presentations due to illness must provide the programme with a medical certificate. Failure to provide such a certificate will result in the presentation being awarded a fail mark. This will then indicate that the PPR is failed.

Main report

The main report should be no longer than 5,500 words. The main report and the initial report combined should be no longer than 7,000 words. This excludes any reasonable; appendices. Any work exceeding this will be sent back to the trainee immediately for editing. The report should reflect the piece of work already presented and will include the initial report (the word count for this is included in the maximum 7,000 word count), and a larger (main) report which can be structured to reflect the piece of work conducted. However, included within this larger report must be some reflections of the discussion at the presentation session. As with most written assignments on the course, the Main Report should be written to conform to APA style. The only exception to this is within the Main Report is that tables and diagrams can be included within the text as opposed to at the end of the report.

Assessment issues

All aspects of the PPR relating to one candidate will be marked by the same set of examiners. The initial reports and main reports, as written pieces of work, will be available for external examiner scrutiny in the normal way. All the presentations will also be video recorded and will therefore also be available for scrutiny. The programme's external examiners will be sent an example of a low, average and high submission (consisting of the initial report, video of the presentation, feedback and main report). The recordings of all instances where the trainee has failed the presentation skills aspects or, in the exceptional case, where trainees' presentations have been stopped for professional reasons will be sent for external examiner review. The two internal markers are required to reach an agreed grade for every competency assessed so externals should not have to adjudicate where markers disagree. If internal markers cannot reach agreement, a third marker will be introduced.

Where an identifier or identifiers are found in the work the examiners are asked to note them and inform the chair of exam board/PPR co-ordinator. Examiners are asked to consider whether the identifier significantly compromises the confidentiality of the individual or service and take account of it in the evidence collecting process either under the Professional Behaviour or Standard Setting Competency. Where the identifier is found in the written elements of the assignment, the trainee will be asked to resubmit that part of the assignment.

The detailed marking schedule is available to examiners during examiner training & during the examination process. A blank copy of the feedback sheet given to trainees, which shows the competencies and score calculation system, is available here. In summary, the evidence collected from presentation and report are marked against a competency rating system. The competencies assessed are: knowledge and skills; reflection and integration; professional behaviour; analysis and critical thinking; effective verbal communication (only in presentation); resilience; standard setting; and effective written communication (in initial and main reports). A single grade (unacceptable, weak, appropriate for stage of training, advanced for stage of training, or exceptional) is given for each of the relevant competencies for the evidence collected from the presentation and main report as a whole, with a composite final grade across each competency being agreed by both examiners. This grading then translates into a score. The pass mark is 50. A piece of work that is 'satisfactory' throughout (but no better) will receive a score in the mid 50s; pieces of work that are satisfactory in parts but have at least two areas of weakness will fail, and pieces of work that are good throughout will score in the low 70s. Specific guidance is given in the PPR documentation sent to examiners on the final scores of work where one (or more) competencies are judged as unacceptable. However, it is important to note that one grade of 'unacceptable' would be sufficient to see the work overall failed. Where a piece of work fails, the trainee will be given guidance after the fail has been discussed at the Exam Board as to whether they can represent and resubmit the same piece of work or whether an alternative piece of work should be submitted. Assignment of the 'unacceptable' grade on any competency will mean the whole assignment needs to be resubmitted.