Anatomy of psychology practitioner competence: Clustering approach reveals the hierarchical organization of competencies
2020 American Psychological Association. Published by Wiley Periodicals LLC, on behalf of the American Psychological Association. Current competency frameworks for practitioners have been derived through expert consensus but lack empirical validation. We examined the stepwise anatomy of competence using the Clinical Psychology Practicum Competencies Rating Scale with items presented in fixed (Dataset I, 195 trainees) and random order (Dataset II, 353 trainees). Cluster analyses of supervisor ratings revealed that fixed-order items yielded clusters that were divided along thematic lines similar to a-priori domains (e.g., intervention, ethics). Random-order items yielded a markedly different set of clusters structured around knowledge, skills, relationship competencies, and meta-competencies. The results offer a novel and insightful conceptualization of the anatomy of competence with critical implications for training and assessment. Further, random presentation of competencies increases item independence and attenuates rater bias.