Academic journal article Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development

Teaching Assessment and Appraisal: Humanistic Strategies and Activities for Counselor Educators

Academic journal article Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development

Teaching Assessment and Appraisal: Humanistic Strategies and Activities for Counselor Educators

Article excerpt

This article describes the incorporation of humanistic strategies and interactive activities for counselor educators who teach counseling courses in assessment or appraisal. This information helps demonstrate the utility qt practical humanistic knowledge and skills for this important Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs core course requirement.

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The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP; 2001) currently requires students in CACREP-accredited programs to receive curricular experiences and to demonstrate knowledge ha assessment (also known in various counseling programs as appraisal, testing, or educational and psychological testing). For the purposes of this article, we use the term assessment to be interpreted as appraisal or assessment. With the adoption of CACREP's 2001 Standards (http://www.counseling.org/ cacrep/2001standards700.html), the word appraisal has been replaced with assessment. The terms are used interchangeably here. According to CACREP's The 2001 Standards, assessment or appraisal is defined as "the gathering and analysis of data used in evaluations and decision making" (see Glossary). The specific core curriculum standards under Assessment include the following:

a. historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment;

b. basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing and other assessment techniques including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, performance assessment, individual and group test and inventory methods, behavioral observations, and computer managed and computer-assisted methods;

c. statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations;

d. reliability (i.e., theory of measurement error, models of reliability, and the use of reliability information);

e. validity (i.e., evidence of validity, types of validity, and the relationship between reliability and validity);

f. age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, language, disability, culture, spirituality, and other factors related to the assessment and evaluation of individuals, groups, and specific populations;

g. strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling;

h. an understanding of general principles and methods of case conceptualization, assessment, and/or diagnoses of mental and emotional status; and

i. ethical and legal considerations. (CACREP, 2001, Section II. K.7)

Although no specific study exists, our consensus from speaking with other counselor educators at state, regional, and national counseling conferences, as well as our own experiences within our counseling programs, is that teaching courses in assessment are often the least "sought" after course within a counseling program. Equally, we often find that assessment courses are given to new junior faculty, with many senior faculty "celebrating" (e.g., "woohoo!') they no longer have to teach the course. In fact, during each of our current position interviews, the direct question of "Are you willing and able to teach assessment and testing if hired?" was asked.

We have also found that students within counseling programs often dread and fear this course above all others. In fact, student evaluations in assessment courses are 30 percentile points lower than other classes that do not include statistics or issues of empirical assessments (Centra, 1993). When we asked students about their expectations about the course, we were surprised at some of their responses. One student responded that she had no expectations for the course but just wanted to survive it because it was a required course. Other students also responded that this was one of the courses they were least looking forward to and that they saw little relevance in this course to their professional goal of becoming a counselor. …

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