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The University of Southampton

Psychology to help develop new education psychology curriculum and assessment for young people

Published: 9 July 2013

Psychology at the University of Southampton is part of a collaboration that has been awarded national funding to help develop a new high-quality curriculum, assessment and feedback programme for training educational psychologists working with young people aged 16 to 25.

Currently statutory protections for young people with special educational needs and disabilities finish when they leave school, however, the new Children and Families Bill in 2014 will see this extended until they are 25.

A partnership led by University College London, in partnership with the University of Southampton and the University of Manchester, has been awarded nearly £60,000 by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to develop this new area for the professional training of practitioner psychologists.

The 18-month project will see the three postgraduate doctoral educational psychology training programmes work together to:

  • develop this new area of the curriculum
  • define relevant professional competencies
  • develop an objective structured professional assessment protocol
  • provide student feedback by podcast
  • evaluate the outcomes

The project will retain student learning and experience at its heart and will see the team working with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), university tutors and local authority placement supervisors to reshape approaches to assess practical competency. They will adapt existing assessment methods widely used in medical training to develop Objective Structured Professional Assessments (OSPAs).

They will also develop a range of scenarios delivered by actors that will enable the key competencies of students to be assessed by training providers, and students will get audio feedback via podcasts on their performance in the OSPAs so that they can self-assess and reflect on their learning.

Dr Sarah Wright, who is the project lead from Southampton, and Programme Director for Education Psychology comments, "We are delighted to be part of the collaboration to receive this award from the HEA. Our innovative project has the potential to extend existing assessment frameworks and feedback in educational psychology and beyond. OSPAs have the potential to ensure that trainee psychologists are examined using the same criteria and assessed against explicit competence-based criteria."

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