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National Survey of Canadian Psychologists’ Test Feedback Training and Practice: A Mixed Methods Study Open Access


Other title
Test feedback practice and training
Psychological assessment
National survey of Canadian psychologists
Mixed methods research
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jacobson, Ryan M
Supervisor and department
Hanson, William (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Hanson, William (Educational Psychology)
Truscott, Derek (Educational Psychology)
Cormier, Damien (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Counselling Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Education
Degree level
In recent decades, researchers have conducted a number of test feedback (TFB) studies – that is, studies of providing psychological assessment and testing results to clients. This sequential explanatory mixed methods study replicated and extended an earlier inquiry into TFB training and practice of American psychologists, using a Canadian sample. The extent to which psychologists provide TFB to clients, and how effectively training programs are preparing them to do so were examined through a national survey of 399 Canadian psychologists. Quantitative results indicate Canadian psychologists provide TFB to clients most of the time, while identifying some room for improvement in terms of meeting professional ethical standards and guidelines. Specifically, 91% of respondents reported providing some form of TFB to clients frequently or more often; 77% indicated doing so almost always, while 5.5% reported providing TFB rarely or never. Verbal was the most commonly indicated TFB format. Approximately 1/4th of respondents indicated graduate training in psychological assessment did not prepare them to provide TFB to clients effectively, while 13% identified post-graduate training as ineffective in learning to provide TFB. Recently graduated psychologists were not more likely to provide TFB than earlier graduates, nor were they more likely to endorse graduate or post-graduate training as helpful in learning to provide feedback. Experience-based forms of instruction in graduate training (e.g., practicum) positively correlated with respondents’ providing TFB to clients, as did finding post-graduate training helpful. The qualitative phase explored the experiences and perspectives of six Canadian psychologists: three who regularly provided TFB to clients and three who did not. All respondents indicated learning through a self-instruction process and trail-and-error. This method of learning was related to respondent’s supervisor’s level of involvement/perceived skill, inadequate academic preparation/support, and the complexity of assessment and TFB. All three non-TFB respondents indicated conducting assessments primarily in forensic settings, and each shared their willingness and preference for providing TFB to clients whenever possible. These respondents identified a lack or opportunity/precedent as the primary reason for not delivering TFB to clients consistently. This rationale was related to a perceived discrepancy between the client and the test-taker, as well as practical, legal and conventional barriers to providing TFB to test takers. Consistent with mixed methods studies, the quantitative survey data and qualitative interview data were integrated to explain and shed light on the results as a whole, providing an enhanced understanding of the TFB training and practice of Canadian psychologists. Limitations of the study, and potential directions for future research are presented and discussed.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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