Assessing the predictive strength of a Clinical/Counselling Psychology Master's degree selection process
This study aimed to investigate the validity of a selection process for a clinical and counselling psychology master’s degree at an undisclosed university in South Africa. Assessing the validity of such a process is essential, as this process selects candidates who, after completing their degree, will provide mental health resources to communities in SA. Applications for these degrees far outweigh the limited number of positions available, thus leading to a vast number of individuals who are not accepted into these programmes and can therefore not register as clinical or counselling psychologists. It is therefore imperative to select candidates who possess the necessary skills and characteristics required of a “good” psychologist. The selection process at the participating university included six different selection activities, each assessing different skills sets and attributes of the candidates. Together, these activities are set to evaluate the overall potential of the candidate to become a “good” psychologist. The activities include two interviews, a metaphors activity, a research task, a case-study activity, and a problem-solving activity. This study defined a “good psychologist” as one who possesses the relevant attributes, skills and characteristics required to develop strong working alliances with clients in psychotherapy – an important contributing facet of therapeutic change within the client. The study’s aim was achieved by completing correlation and regression analyses between the six selection activities, the six course modules, and the course average in the student’s M1 year. Results showed significant positive regressions between the metaphors activity, child psychopathology, and theory of psychological interventions modules, between the research task and neuropsychology, between the psychopharmacology and psychopathology modules, and between the problem-solving activity and the course average. The case study activity negatively predicted the ethics and practical work and applied and community psychology modules. The conclusion was that the selection process can be considered valid, as the skills assessed for most of the selection activities positively correlated and predicted the skills required to succeed both academically in the M1 year and as a practising psychologist. This indicates that this selection process selects candidates who are considered “good students” with the potential to be “good psychologists”. However, the case study activity required further investigation, as the skills that are purportedly assessed should correlate and positively predict the ethics and practical work module, which was not the case.
- Health Sciences