Academic journal article Counselor Education and Supervision

Predictors of Success on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination

Academic journal article Counselor Education and Supervision

Predictors of Success on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination

Article excerpt

This study examined the relationship between 403 counseling graduate students' scores on the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE; Center for Credentialing and Education, n.d.) and 3 admissions requirements used as predictor variables: undergraduate grade point average (UGPA), Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test Verbal Reasoning (GREW) score, and GRE General Test Quantitative Reasoning (GRE-Q) score. Multiple regression analyses revealed that all predictor variables accounted for somewhat limited, yet significant variations in the CPCE-Total scores ([R.sup.2] = .21). Results indicated that UGPAs, GRE-V scores, and GRE-Q scores are valid criteria for determining counseling graduate student success on the CPCE.


Counselor education programs are in a constant self-evaluation process. Standards created and required by external forces such as the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP; 2008) and regional associations of colleges and schools, including the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (2008), have resulted in both a new generation of written reports and the need for clearly stated outcome measures in counselor education programs. Internal forces, such as institution-wide program reviews and strategic planning processes, also require counselor education programs to conduct programmatic self-reviews. Furthermore, the ever-growing mandate for increased accountability from state legislatures with a focus on testing is migrating from pre-K through 12th grade to higher education (Rabinowitz, 2005). Ultimately, frequent and thorough program evaluation must be conducted by counselor educators to help ensure their programs are preparing and graduating competent counselors for the benefit of communities and the profession (Boland, 2004). To achieve these objectives and meet these demands, continuous programmatic evaluation is required that focuses not only on the process involved in preparing knowledgeable, effective counselors, but also on the preparedness of students upon graduation from counselor education programs to move forward in their postgraduate licensure and certification processes.

As with any assessment, outcome measures are the primary means of satisfying the demands of external forces and determining the success of counselor education programs. Among these outcome measures, the most significant is often student success on comprehensive examinations. Determining the likelihood of students successfully completing comprehensive examinations begins at admission, although potential for success should be assessed continuously throughout the program (American Counseling Association, 2005). In short, selecting admission criteria that may more accurately forecast the likelihood of future success of graduate counseling students (i.e., passing comprehensive examinations) is paramount to determining both the viability of courses offered and the content presented by and within counselor education programs.

One of the most common criteria for forecasting the likelihood of students successfully completing the requirements of counselor education programs is academic aptitude (Smaby, Maddux, Richmond, Lepkowski, & Packman, 2005). Many counselor education programs have multiple admission requirements (Hollis, 2000; Pope & Kline, 1999; Smaby et al., 2005), such as writing samples, successful completion of entrance examinations, or letters of recommendation. Frequently, scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) tests, developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS; 2008), or undergraduate grade point averages (UGPAs) are also used to project whether students can successfully complete the academic requirements of a graduate education (Pope & Kline, 1999).

Scores on the GRE tests have long been used by graduate colleges and programs alike as an indicator of future success in graduate school. …

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