The aim of this post is to set out some important points regarding two separate, but linked, issues: those of 'Standards and Competencies' and 'Training and Assessment'.
So, what do we mean by 'Standards and Competencies', and why are these important?
Well, at the centre of the qualification scheme in psychological testing is the goal of improving standards in test use. By clearly defining the knowledge and skills necessary for competent test use at different levels and in different areas, the qualification scheme sets out to prevent the misuse of tests resulting from lack of understanding. At the Test User level and above, the scheme also sets out to provide users with the knowledge they need to evaluate the suitability of tests for specific purposes. This allows users to make informed decisions between different tests which may be suitable for a specific purpose and to discriminate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ tests in terms of psychological and psychometric standards.
OK - so the key aim of the system is to ensure (and improve) standards in test use, and to determine the levels of competence required by test users in relation to these standards.
So, logically, hand-in-hand with 'Standards and Competencies' comes 'Training and Assessment'.
All training and assessment for the qualifications in psychological testing is conducted by independent organisations or individuals, like Selection by Design.
In order to ensure consistency of standards across training providers, the BPS / EFPA have defined the competencies that test users should demonstrate. Like much education and training, as conceived in an European framework, the focus is effectively on the measureable ‘output’, or 'outcomes' of training, rather than the training itself (i.e., the 'input'). That is, your competence is not demonstrated by how much reading or practice you have done for a course, or indeed which course you have completed. Rather, your competence is demonstrated by your measureable and demonstrable competencies after the completion of training (i.e., the 'outputs / outcomes').
A key bonus of training with Selection by Design is that both of us (Barbara and Conor) have extensive knowledge of the EU regulatory framework in terms of Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement for educational programmes at University level (both undergraduate and postgraduate). Thus, the training programmes designed by Selection by Design are based on a deep knowledge of not just the requirements of BPS / EFPA, but also on years of experience of working with mature students. Our significant lecturing and programme management experience is evident in the successful (and fun) courses that we provide.
Any organisation that offers training and assessment must have one or more 'Assessors' whose assessment methods have been verified by the BPS. Assessors must be Chartered Psychologists, who hold the qualification(s) in which they offer assessment and they must have a current entry on the Register of Qualifications in Test Use (RQTU).
In order to obtain one of the qualifications in psychological testing, test users will need to have their competence affirmed in the appropriate modules by a Verified Assessor. Once competence has been affirmed in all the necessary modules, test users can apply to have their qualification registered with the Society (a fee is payable: see the BPS document 'Applicant’s Schedule of Fees').
Testament to our standing as respected psychologists, as well as being Chartered Psychologists and Assessors, we are both (Barbara and Conor) also Associate Fellows of the BPS. We are also Registered Psychologists and Associate Fellows of the PSI. Conor is also a Chartered Scientist.
We understand that some parts of this particular post were quite technical. Thanks for sticking with it and getting through all of the detail.
If there any bits that you are still unsure of, get in touch and we can chat about it.
Barbara and Conor
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