What better embodiment of this quote than the fear we feel over a changing EPPP?! Just when we thought we knew what we were up against, they decided to change the rules! Don’t let the changes to the EPPP scare you too much. These changes have been in the works for quite a long time, and they have been shown to accurately measure the skills and competencies necessary to be successful as a psychologist. Although it sounds scary, it should not be any more stress inducing than the original EPPP (don’t get me wrong, that was stressful enough).
The Enhanced EPPP is scheduled to be released in January of 2020. While initially planned to be mandatory for all EPPP candiates, in October 2018, the ASPPB released an update stating that it will be at the decision of each state whether they will require their candidates to sit the Enhanced EPPP or not. States that decide to require the new exam model are considered ‘early adoptors,’ which may indicate that the ASPPB still intends to make the EPPP2 mandatory in the future. To determine if your state is an early adoptor, you should contact your state board. The ASPPB website will also update their list of early adoptors as states indicate their decision. At this point in time, no state or province has officially indicated where or not they will participate in the Enhanced EPPP early adoptors program. However, if you plan on taking the EPPP on or after January 1, 2020, keep checking with your board as it may be possbile that you will be required to take the Enhanced EPPP.
To prepare for the Enhanced EPPP, this blog will look at the changes and what you, as a student, need to know about the new and improved licensure exam.
The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) decided to develop a second portion to the EPPP to better assess your practical competence as a clinician. This addition to the exam was intended to predict how well you would perform in a clinical setting, rather than simply how well you have mastered the basic information required to be a practicing psychologist.
Currently, the EPPP is intended to assess the basic and core knowledge necessary to be a clinical psychologist. This is to say, the foundational knowledge required to be a psychologist. This knowledge is assessed to varying degrees in each of the eight following domains: (1) Biological Bases of Behavior, (2) Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior, (3) Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior, (4) Growth and Lifespan Development, (5) Assessment and Diagnosis, (6) Treatment, Intervention, Prevention, and Supervision, (7) Research Methods and Statistics, (8) Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues.
However, having the information and being able to apply it are two entirely different concepts. At this time, practical development and competency is measured by reports and evaluations from training supervisors from practicums, residencies, and internships. Unfortunately, supervisors were reporting it difficult to create entirely objective reports of their supervisee’s competencies. With the close nature of the supervisor/supervisee relationship, many supervisors reported that they would have preferred some type of objective measure for such a high-stakes decision process. Additionally, there are a range of different internship, practicum, and other training opportunities that are simply not equal. Within this range is an immeasurable disparity between the type and quality of training experiences, which simply leaves too little standardization to accurately predict success as a clinician.
As our profession moves toward a competency-based approach, the ASPPB wanted to develop a test to accurately measure budding professional’s preparedness in such competencies. The ASPPB published a list of competencies that they expected all psychologists to have mastered in order to be licensed. These skills and competencies are as follows: (1) Scientific Orientation to Practice, (2) Relational Competence, (3) Assessment and Intervention, (4) Ethical Practice, (5) Collaboration, Consultation, and Supervision, and (6) Professionalism. While there is some overlap, this portion of the exam will focus on skills, rather than simply on foundational knowledge.
This portion of the test will also be taken via the computer, much the same way that the current EPPP is taken. The exam is will be taken in 4 hours and 15 minutes, which is the same amount of time offered for the first iteration of the EPPP. The Enhanced EPPP is to be taken on a separate sitting from the EPPP, so don’t feel like you are going to have to sit in front of a computer screen for 8 ½ hours straight! This is a stressful enough process—at least it’s broken up!
It is not likely that the EPPP2 will include any essay questions. While the EPPP2 will not have essay questions, it is reported to include many alternative question types. These questions may include vignettes, reviewing test protocols and interpreting such data, and even animation-based prompts. This is intended to be a very dynamic exam and will therefore include a range of prompts and questions—so be prepared for anything!
The exam appears at this time to be fair and nondiscriminatory. There does not appear to be a bias in the exam questions based on racial, ethnic, or gender differences. However, to ensure the fairness for future test-takers, beginning in January 2019, the ASPPB will be reviewing questions that have a possibility of being slanted toward one ethnic group over another. If there are items that are found to be unfair or discriminatory in anyway, these items will be removed, modified, and pretested again for fairness.
Overall, the Enhanced EPPP, or the EPPP2, will be a tremendous addition to the already rigorous EPPP! This will be no small feat, but it would seem that this is a necessary addition to ensure proper competencies and preparedness before licensure. With enough studying and preparing, you will definitely be able to take on this challenge!
Don’t sweat studying for the EPPP2, AATBS has your back! We’re on top of all these changes and we’re keeping our study materials up to date. We’re going to be ready to help you study for the newest iteration of the EPPP as soon as you’re ready to study for it!