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Trainee Evaluation Procedures


The Training Program consists of the Associate Director for Training, Assistant Director of Training, and the Training Committee.  They have the responsibility to assess regularly and formally the progress of each trainee. The primary purpose of trainee evaluation is to facilitate professional and personal growth and to ensure standards of quality are maintained in training and services.  Feedback is intended to be constructive, objective, comprehensive and timely, with appropriate communications with the academic programs as needed.

The structure and process of supervision should provide the context, reassurance and security necessary for self-examination and open presentation of one’s work, while stimulating the acquisition of new understanding, perspectives and techniques.  The general objectives of supervision are to present critical didactic and experiential opportunities for the trainee to learn and refine skills, become more confident in one’s role, ensure competency in the delivery of services, and consolidate a stronger sense of professional identity.  The program must also be cognizant that in the process, the training experiences can prove to be a time of increased challenge.  Therefore, it is essential to hold paramount the consideration for the professional and personal vulnerability of the trainee and respect for their essential dignity, particularly with regards to the inherent differentials of power in training relationships.

Since trainees are expected to make significant developmental changes during the training year, at times needing particular support and guidance, it is the responsibility of the training program to provide activities and formats to facilitate this growth without undue stress.  Efforts to provide activities and formats to facilitate trainee growth include:

  • A comprehensive orientation process
  • Individualized training approaches
  • Clear and realistic expectations
  • Direct and timely evaluations with recommendations for change
  • Facilitative relationships individually (e.g., with supervisors) and collectively (e.g., with other trainees and staff)
  • Seminars providing the necessary didactic materials beyond the prerequisite academic learning
  • Administrative attention to the gradual increase in clinical responsibilities.

The Training Program has established the following evaluation procedures in order to:

  • evaluate trainee performance
  • respond to problematic, unsatisfactory or inadequate performance
  • ensure that due process is accorded all parties during the evaluation and review process.

Evaluation of Trainee Performance

Evaluation is both formative and summative. Interns receive feedback on a regular basis as they function in various roles within the Counseling Center.

Interns are expected to achieve a minimum level of achievement of 2 (developing competence) on the mid-year evaluation and a minimum level of achievement of 3 (competence) on the written formal final evaluation.  Interns are expected to achieve intermediate to advanced competency in each of the 9 expected competencies organized across three developmental goals which define the internship.  The competences, described in further detail under goals of the internship, are:  research, assessment, intervention, consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills; supervision; individual and cultural diversity; ethical and legal standards; communication and interpersonal skills; and professional values and attitudes. A minimal rating of 3 (competence) is required on all items on the written formal final evaluation in order to successfully pass internship, as well as completion of a minimum of 500 direct service hours and a total of 2000 hours.

When one’s personal and interpersonal functioning appears to seriously compromise clinical efficacy and potential for growth, or any other area of performance has not met minimal standards on the midyear written evaluation, the training concerns will be formally conveyed in writing to the trainee, generally by the Primary Supervisor after consultation with the Training Committee and approval by the Training Director. Appropriate staff, along with the trainee, will then attempt to formulate strategies and procedures to remediate the concerns. If such efforts do not result in an acceptable level of performance within a set, reasonable period of time, more serious consequences (up to termination from the program) may result, following due process (See Due Process Policy).

Inadequate Trainee Performance

For the purpose of this document, inadequate performance is defined broadly as any behavior interfering with professional functioning. Ratings on the formal written evaluations may reflect an inability and/or unwillingness to acquire and integrate essential professional standards in the delivery of psychological services and/or to incorporate the personal and professional qualities necessary to participate effectively as a psychological practitioner in an organization setting. This is reflected by a rating of 1 (not at expected competence/needs remediation) on the formal, written evaluation form.

When inadequate performance is noted, evaluative criteria should link it to particular objective behaviors, in clear feedback by supervisors at regular intervals during training. A distressed condition may not necessarily affect directly one’s clinical and training roles, and so it would not in itself constitute inadequate performance. However, when it does adversely and significantly hinder or distort professional activities and relationships, the trainee’s performance may be considered to be inadequate.

In general, it is a matter of supervisory judgment with the concurrence of the Director of Training as to when difficulties in a trainee’s behavior reach the threshold of inadequate rather than representing less serious but problematic issues. More specifically, for purposes of this document, a problem distinct from being inadequate refers to aspects of a trainee’s behaviors, attitudes, or character which, while of concern and requiring more intensive attention, are perceived to be not unexpected or extreme for professionals in training. Problems typically lead to inadequate performance when they include one or more of the following characteristics:

  • the trainee does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem when it is identified
  • the problem is not merely a reflection of a skill deficit which can be rectified by didactic training or practice
  • the quality of services and/or professional relationships of the trainee are seriously and adversely affected
  • the problem is not restricted to one or more minor areas of professional functioning
  • a disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required to attempt to ameliorate the consequences, and/or
  • the trainee’s behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts or other corrective experiences over time.

Due Process

Due process ensures that decisions made by the Training Program regarding trainees are not arbitrary, subjectively biased, or otherwise unfair.  It requires that the program establish evaluative procedures which are applied equally to all trainees.  Feedback should be constructive and timely, with appropriate notification, opportunities and recommendations for improvement, and clear review procedures to appeal the program’s actions.

In order to provide for due process, the program under the aegis of the Associate Director for Training will:

  • present in writing at the outset of the training year general rights, responsibilities and performance requirements for interns as outlined in the Policy and Procedures manual for the Counseling Services and the Training Program
  • delineate the procedures and guidelines involved in making decisions regarding problematic or inadequate performance
  • implement formal written means of evaluation at standard interim and final points in the training sequence, with provisions for trainee response
  • use input from multiple training resources, including supervisors, seminar leaders and other members of the Training Committee when making formal evaluations and recommendations;
  • coordinate all actions taken in response to major identified deficits through the Associate Director for Training with review by the Director of the Center
  • communicate with Academic Programs about major concerns to coordinate with them about how to address such issues
  • institute, in conjunction with the Academic Program when needed, a plan for remediation of identified deficits, including time estimates for required changes and consequences if the difficulty is not rectified
  • ensure that the trainee has sufficient time to respond to any action taken by the program
  • document in writing to all relevant parties actions taken by the program and their rationales, with review by the Clinical Director and the Director of the Center. 

See Due Process & Grievance Procedures and Remediation Considerations for further details.