Publication Details

Gonsalvez, C. J., Wahnon, T. & Deane, F. P. (2017). Goal-setting, feedback, and assessment practices reported by australian clinical supervisors. Australian Psychologist, 52 21-30.


Objective: The objective of the current study was to compare current supervisory practices in Australia against those derived from pedagogic principles and/or practice guidelines recommended by experts in the field. Three core supervisor competencies, namely goal-setting, providing formative feedback, and conducting summative assessments, were chosen for scrutiny. Methods: One hundred thirteen accredited psychology supervisors in Australia completed an online questionnaire that had supervisors report details about their goal-setting, feedback, and summative assessment practices in supervision. Results: Several aspects pertaining to summative assessment require improvement. Specifically, the limited use of observational techniques was inconsistent with principles of competency-based pedagogies and with recommendations by experts. A significant percentage of supervisors believed that summative ratings of trainee competence conducted by themselves (58%) and by their peers (66%) were compromised by leniency effects. Further, half the supervisors surveyed reported that summative assessments were made difficult by little or no guidance from training institutions about the benchmarks trainees were expected to meet at the end of placements. Conclusions: Supervisory practices concerning goal-setting were generally consistent with best-practice guidelines derived from the literature. However, improvements are warranted in key supervisory practices, including more frequent use of observational techniques to inform formative feedback, more effective strategies to counter leniency in summative assessment, and better communication between training institutions and supervisors.

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