Objective Structured Professional Assessments for Trainee Educational Psychologists: an Evaluation

Sandra Dunsmuir, Catharine Atkinson, Jane Lang, Amy Warhurst, Sarah Wright

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Objective Structured Professional Assessments (OSPAs) were developed and evaluated at three universities in the UK, to supplement supervisor assessments of practice on placement. Participating second year students on the three educational psychology doctoral programmes (n=31) and tutors (n=12) were surveyed. Scenarios, developed with experienced practitioners, were considered authentic and relevant. Tutor feedback indicated that the marking scheme was a good basis for judgements, but required further calibration and standardisation. Strengths and limitations relating to authenticity of scenarios and practical arrangements were identified. Students considered OSPAs to be a valid assessment of communication and perspective taking skills, although some found them to be anxiety provoking. Levels of authenticity and complexity were deemed appropriate, although there were concerns over time allowed and how the assessment criteria were interpreted. The discussion highlights how OSPAs address issues relating to assessment reliability by improving objectivity, reducing bias and providing uniformity to student assessment experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Psychology in Practice
Early online date30 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Assessment
  • educational psychology training
  • simulated consultations
  • Scenarios
  • Competencies


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