Assessment Techniques in Counseling
Coun 7551
Fall, 2006
Thursdays, 5:30-8:30 pm
129 Patterson Hall

Erin Martz, Ph.D., C.R.C.
119D Patterson Hall
University of Memphis
Phone: (901)-678-4820
Office hours: Thursdays 1:00 - 3:00 pm (or by appointment)

Course description: This course is designed to provide an overview of the major principles of assessment, assessment tools, and the assessment skills relevant to the practice of counseling. Particular attention will be paid to the statistical properties, the selection, the use, and the interpretation of the assessment tools used most frequently in individual appraisal.

Objectives: This course will provide both theoretical and experiential knowledge about assessment techniques. Students should expect to gain knowledge about the following:
1. Non-standardized assessment (e.g., behavioral observations, interviews).
2. Basic statistical concepts (e.g., mean, standard deviation, standard error of measurement, reliability, and validity).
3. Foundations of measurement (e.g., classical test theory, item response theory, test construction and format, test validation, test limitations).
4. Standardized achievement, aptitude, intelligence, personality, and interest tests.
5. The impact of gender, ethnicity, disability, and environmental factors on assessment results.
6. Ethical issues and standards related to assessment and interpretation of tests.
7. Writing assessment reports.

Required Texts:
*Gregory, R. G. (2004). Psychological testing: History, principles, and applications (4th
ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon [ISBN: 0205354726]
*I have put a copy on reserve at the library, in view of the cost of the book.

Prince, J. P., & Heiser, L. J. (2000). Essentials of career interest assessment. New York:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc. [ISBN: 0471353655]

Reference Text (not required to purchase):
*Olin, J. T., & Keatinge, C. (1998). Rapid psychological assessment. New York: John
Wiley and Sons, Inc.
*I have put a copy on reserve at the library, in view of the cost of the book.

Class requirements:

Attendance policy:
Because this class will have experiential components (e.g., learning about different assessment instruments in class), as well as the expectation of interactive dialogues, then attendance should be top priority. Most people learn by repetition, by challenging information, and by application/practice of knowledge, which is why class attendance should be beneficial to you. Two excused class absences will be permitted. Anything over that number will affect your attendance grade.
In addition, if you hope to ask me for a letter of recommendation for doctoral studies or a job, it would behoove you to not only attend class regularly, but also to speak up! Your interest in learning this material will reflect on the professional that you are becoming. Some academic subjects are more interesting than others; but the parallel for counselors is that some clients will be more interesting than others. Thus, you should cultivate the ability to find something interesting in any material (or client). Bottom line recommendation: Treat this class as part of your current job of training to be a professional!

Professional honesty:
Your work should always be your own. If you have any doubt whether you should credit someone for an idea, then simply cite the person’s name and the date. This will protect you from the possible accusation of plagiarism. Dishonesty in various aspects of academic life can have harsh consequences, including expulsion, which may block you from continuing elsewhere the career training that you are currently in.

Your tasks:
Test presentation (10 points)
You will select one psychological test from the selection that the instructor has available and sign up for a date to present it to the class. You can take the test yourself, note any difficulties or problems, and study any psychometrics related to this test (i.e., reliability or validity). Please do not write on these tests; you will return the test to the instructor. Good idea: Copy the test and return to the instructor as soon as possible. Manuals are available in Patterson Hall (Room 123), which you must sign out if you decide to look at the manuals. You can make 1 copy of the test for your own personal use; do not copy these tests for the class, in view of the copyright laws/costs of tests. Overheads might be useful. You will talk about it for 5-10 minutes in class. Bottom line: Get to know the test and be able to describe the purpose of the test and what you thought about it. No handouts are necessary for the class for the test presentation.

The Self-Directed Search (5 points)
Go to 214 Wilder Tower on campus, (901) 678-2068 [Lorna Horishny]. Hours of operation: Mon – Fri, 8 am - 4:30 pm. Charge: @$2 per test (3 booklets). No appointment needed.

The procedure: You come to the desk in 214 and ask for a form to take to the Bursar. You return the receipt to the desk and will be given the test booklets. Taking the test: read the explanation in book 1, fill out a questionnaire to determine your code letters in book 2, and then look up the results and find your occupation in book 3 format. You must have completed this assessment by 10/26/06. We will pair up and then practice, in class, on how to interpret the results of this test. If you, for some reason, did not complete it by today, you will be required to write a 3-page report on your results. Participation in this activity on 10/26/06 will be noted for points.

Chapter presentation (10 points)
In order to make this class more interactive and meaningful, each student will select 1 chapter from the assigned texts and prepare an outline of it. Please bring a copy of your chapter presentation for every student (thus, about 24 copies). Also, please email the professor your presentation when completed and it will be posted on the umdrive under emartz and public folders. The student will go over the contents of the chapter in class for 20-40 minutes—with the instructor’s assistance and hopefully with the interaction of the class. You can make this presentation as creative as you want. Advice for those with fear of public speaking: Remember to concentrate on the information, not yourself. Also, get the class talking and involved!

Assessment report (15 points)
You will administer a minimum of 2 psychological tests to an individual (including personality, interest, vocational, aptitude, etc.), who has agreed to participate and who has signed a consent form. [Note: if you plan well, 1 test that you administer is the same one that you presented in class. You can also use 1 of the 2 research instruments presented by the instructor.] The second test can be one that someone has presented in class (and that you somehow obtained). You will write up an assessment report (5-7 pages, double-spaced). (Note: client names must be changed to protect confidentiality in this report). To obtain the assessment report outline and an example of an informed consent statement, go to the umdrive and enter the public folder for emartz.

Quiz 10 points
Midterm 20 points
Final 20 points
Test presentation 10 points
Chapter presentation 10 points
Strong Interest Inventory 5 points
Assessment report 15 points
Attendance 10 points
Total 100 points

A= 90-100 points
B= 80-89
C= 70-79
D= 60-69
F= Below 60
Note: Graduate students at University of Memphis are only permitted to receive one C grade. The instructor may provide make-up assignments in case of emergency (written proof will be required). Otherwise, an incomplete grade will be given.

Course schedule

8/31/06: Welcome. Introductions. Syllabus overview.
Sign up for date of test and chapter presentations.
Test presentation by instructor [Purdue PTSD-revised (PPTSD-R) scale]
Assignment: take the Self-Directed Search as soon as possible.

9/7/06: Uses of assessments; Mental Status Exams (you will receive a copy in class)
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 1; Olin, and Keatinge, ch. 1, 2 (both short)
Test presentation by instructor [Reaction to Impairment and Disability
Inventory (RIDI)].

9/14/06: History of assessment; measurement concepts
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 2, 3
Test presentations

9/21/06: Interviewing; validity and test development
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 4; Olin, and Keatinge, ch. 3
Test presentations
In-class practice interviewing

9/28/06: Intelligence, achievement, and career assessment
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 5
Test presentations

10/5/06: Quiz (over 8 chapters)
Continue test presentations

10/12/06: Specialized assessments; ability testing
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 6, 7; Olin, and Keatinge, ch. 9
Test presentations.
• Remember to work on your assessment report due 11/9/06. You can turn it in early if you are finished before the deadline!

10/19/06: Interest assessments and testing in work environments
Read for today: Gregory, ch.11, Prince and Heiser, ch. 2, 3

10/26/06: Interest testing, continued
Read for today: Prince and Heiser, ch. 4 and 5
Interpretation of the Self-Directed Search**
**You must have taken the Self-Directed Search by today.

11/2/06: Midterm (over the 8 chapters after the quiz)

11/9/06: Personality testing; personality disorder assessment
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 8, 9; Olin, and Keatinge, ch. 10
Finish any remaining test presentations.
Assessment reports due. (Points will be deducted if late. Do not email
this to your instructor: a paper copy must be handed in by deadline.)

11/16/06: Neurological assessment; special issues in testing
Read for today: Gregory, ch. 10, 12; Prince and Heiser, ch. 6

11/23/06: Thanksgiving break (No class!)

11/30/06: Last class:
Review of 6 chapters + material covered in class (bring your questions).
Class evaluations completed.
Final will be passed out. This will be a take-home exam: open book,
but comprehensive (all chapters).

12/7/06: No class—study day [Exam week starts 12/8/06]

12/11/06: Exams are due by 5:30 pm today. You may turn in the exam as soon as you have completed it. The instructor will email you that she has received the exam if you did not turn it in directly to her (e.g., you put it in her mailbox in 113 Patterson). You can obtain your grade by the online system; individual grades will not be emailed to you.

Accommodations for disabilities
If you need any disability-related accommodations in the classroom or with course materials, please talk with the instructor. For accommodations related to exams, students must be registered with the Student Disability Services office; they will administer the exam with the appropriate accommodations.

Teaching Philosophy
In addition to what I stated above under “Your requirements,” I would like to briefly explain how I view the process of learning:

1. [1st round of learning] The student reads the assigned chapter outside of class. The student writes down or marks anything that needs clarifying or any questions that are triggered by the reading.
2. [2nd round of learning] The professor or student leads a review of the reading in class and triggers dialogue from the material. The purposes of class-time, after reviewing the material, include: to clarify what is important to understand about the material, to connect the material to people’s professional experiences, and to expand/deepen the understanding of the material.
3. [3rd round of learning] The student takes a quiz or test over the information.
4. [4th round of learning] The student takes a comprehensive exam for the MA degree.
5. [5th round of learning] The student takes a national exam for certification or licensure.

Last modified: Friday, 3 November 2006, 04:50 PM