Relations between Prestige Rankings of Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programs and Scores on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)

By Townsend, James M.; Ryan, Joseph J. | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2010 | Go to article overview

Relations between Prestige Rankings of Clinical Psychology Doctoral Programs and Scores on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP)


Townsend, James M., Ryan, Joseph J., Journal of Instructional Psychology


We assessed the relationship between U.S. News and World Report 2008 rankings of clinical psychology doctoral programs and scores earned by graduates on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). For the top 25 programs, relationship between ranking and EPPP scores was not significant, [r.sub.s] = -.28. EPPP scores were computed by region (i.e., West, Midwest, South, and Northeast) to determine if geographic differences existed in terms of test performance, but none were found. The number of applications received and acceptance rates were computed for schools by region. Programs in the Midwest received significantly fewer applications, but reported significantly higher acceptance rates. The implications of this finding are discussed.

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Professional psychologists are required to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP; Professional Examination Service, 2005) before receiving licensure. Considering the significance of this examination, it is important to inspect potential sources of variation in scores. One variable that has been examined is whether the psychology doctoral program has a clinical or counseling orientation. Students graduating from clinical psychology programs score higher on the EPPP than students from counseling psychology programs (Tomeo, Arikawa, & Templer, 2000). A second variable that has been examined is whether the psychology doctoral program is traditional (PhD) or professional (PsyD). Students from Ph.D. programs generally score higher on the EPPP than students from Psy.D. programs (Templer, Stroup, Mancuso, & Tangen, 2008; Templer & Tomeo, 2000; Yu, et al., 1997).

The present study examined a variable that has not been assessed: program prestige. Each year U.S. News and Worm Report publishes rankings of doctoral degree programs, including those in clinical psychology. Based on various criteria, a select group of schools are highly ranked and subsequently thought of as prestigious. This study attempted to identify trends or differences in EPPP scores among the top 25 clinical psychology programs. It was hypothesized that graduates of schools with higher ranks would have better scores on the EPPP then graduates of schools with lower rankings. Other variables examined were the geographic regions in which the institutions were located as well as the numbers of applications received and the acceptance rates. No specific hypotheses were proffered regarding these variables.

Method

The top 25 programs in clinical psychology were selected from the 2008 U.S. News and Worm Report annual listing of the top American colleges and universities. The rankings included private (n = 6) and publicly (n = 19) supported institutions. The names of the 25 programs are provided in Tables 1-4. Scores on the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) were obtained for each school from the 2005 listing published by the Professional Examination Service (Professional Examination Service, 2005). The geographic regions designated in this study were: West, Midwest, South, and Northeast. The numbers of applications received and acceptance rates for the selected institutions were taken from Graduate Study in Psychology; 2008 (American Psychological Association, 2008).

Results

A Spearman's rank order correlation coefficient was computed to determine the degree of relationship between U.S. News and World Report rankings and EPPP scores. The resulting rank order correlation was not significant, [r.sub.s] = -.28, p = .181. A one-way ANOVA revealed no meaningful differences in EPPP scores when schools were divided by region, F(3,21) = 1.06, p = .387, r = .36. The number of applications, however, differed significantly by region, F(3,21) = 10.04, p < .01, r = .77. Based on a Tukey post hoc analysis, Midwestern programs received significantly fewer applications (M = 133.62, SD = 37. …

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