It is safe to assume that many of us have been subjected to the litany of standardized testing that haunts our academic careers. For students in Florida, it begins early, often in elementary and middle school in the form of the FCAT or Iowa tests. In high school, we dedicate numerous hours in school and countless sleepless nights to the SAT and the ACT, fearing that out entire future resides on the four digit score.
I thought I had escaped standardized testing once I completed my Bachelor’s degree, but I was sadly mistaken when a pursuit of a Master’s introduced me to an entirely new beast known as the GRE. And again, once I defeated that I thought my testing days were completely over. Until this semester.
As our counseling program undergoes reaccreditation from CACREP, changes have been made to our program. I understand these changes to be important and necessary. I do not however like the fact that in less than a month I will be taking my Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam, or CPCE. A quick review of the study materials and practices tests for the CPCE has taught me that anything and everything about counseling will be covered on this exam. In short, I am nervous. I know this will not be my last exam, as eventually I will sit for licensure, but I guess I thought I had at least one more blissfully test free year.
Thinking about my own anxiety over completing this test has also started me thinking about certain tests we may give clients and how to assess these tests. You have the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the Rorschach Inkblot Test, and so on. While each has its own purpose and necessity for use, it can be a little overwhelming, not only for the client but also for the therapist.
Psychological Assessment and Evaluation is a course we are required to take in our Counselor Education program. I thought taking standardized tests stressed me out, I had yet to learn the ins and outs of test creation, validation, and evaluation. I am greatly enjoying my class although I’ll admit it is a lengthy learning process. Not to mention my fear of incorrectly using a test or assessment and I hope that most counseling students in my position sympathize. This semester will certainly prove to be a “testing” semester.
Hayley Wilson is a counselor-in-training at Florida Atlantic University. Her areas of interest include military service members and PTSD, substance abuse, and coffee.