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Student Evaluations in Clinical Psychology

Guidelines for Annual Evaluations

Mentors/Advisers and students should meet in the first two weeks of spring semester to discuss student performance during the past calendar year in all relevant areas (coursework, research, practice, placements, work assignments, etc.).

  • All students are required to fill out, review with their mentors/advisers, and submit to the Director of Clinical Training, the Annual Graduate Student Report and Evaluation of Professional Activities prior to the beginning of student evaluations. The form will be sent to the students by the Director of Clinical Training at the end of fall semester and should be returned to the Director of Clinical Training by the end of the first two weeks of the spring semester (approved by the mentor/adviser, either by signature on the form or by email confirmation of the approval). 

Mentors/Advisers should review their students’ permanent files and make note of:

  • grades, especially those of PR, I, and any grades below B-;
  • deadlines met or failed for thesis proposals and final meetings, comprehensive examinations, and dissertation proposals;
  • ratings from teaching assignments and assistantship duties;
  • progress toward degree requirements;
  • professional conduct and personal behavior that bears upon the profession;
  • accomplishment of the yearly dissemination of research requirement (second year students and up); and
  • other pertinent information.

The Clinic Director will prepare a brief summary of all clinical supervision ratings from practicum and traineeship placements, with focus on areas that need improvement and areas of exceeding expectations, to present to the faculty.

The Director of Clinical Training will provide templates for the evaluation letters at the beginning of the spring semester; mentors/advisors should fill in as much information as they can in the template prior to the scheduled meetings where students are reviewed.

Mentors/Advisers will report pertinent information from their meetings with their advisees and reviews of the advisees’ files to a meeting of the clinical faculty for discussion. The mentors/advisers will serve as their advisees’ representatives during the meeting. Feedback and comments will be solicited from other faculty/supervisors and from the Clinic Director. During the meeting, the bases of evaluation will include 1) academic progress and performance, 2) research, 3) clinical skills, 4) professional and ethical behavior, and 5) GA/RA Duties. Unsatisfactory evaluations will automatically result from failure to meet the thesis and dissertation proposal or defense deadlines, poor academic progress (receipt of a grade lower than B- or presence of many PRs and Is), evidence of unprofessional behavior, and failure of any part of the comprehensive examination, but may also result from other concerns in research or clinical training.

Following the meeting, the student’s mentor/adviser will complete the evaluation summarizing the evaluations in each category and specifying the recommendations, if any, from the evaluation. Evaluation letters must be co-signed by the Director of Clinical Training before they are distributed. Letters should be given to students within the first half o the spring semester.

Evaluation letters will include an overall rating of student performance, as well as ratings in each of the five evaluation categories: 1) academic progress and performance, 2) research, 3) clinical skills, 4) professional and ethical behavior, and 5) GA/RA Duties. The lowest rating (which is the highest number) obtained in categories 1 through 5 will determine the overall evaluation letter rating. The rating system used is as follows:

  • Type I. The student generally is considered as being on schedule with respect to fulfilling the requirements of the clinical program. Any minor deficiencies of the student’s record (e.g., an outstanding PR) are noted. Areas where the student requires additional training and expertise are suggested.
  • Type II. The student has a deficiency (e.g., one grade below a “B-“, failure to meet a deadline, failure of comps, low clinical competency rating) that has led them to no longer be on schedule with respect to fulfilling the requirements of the program. The deficiency is described; any steps suggested to correct the problem are also noted. It is anticipated that the student will correct the deficiency between receipt of a Type II letter and a deadline established by the Clinical Section. Failure to correct the deficiency within the prescribed time may be cause for dismissal from the program.
  • Type III. Academic performance (e.g., 2 grades less than a “B-“ in any given year) or professional behavior has seriously jeopardized the student’s continuation in the clinical program.
  • Type IV. On the basis of unsatisfactory performance, the student is subject to immediate dismissal from the clinical program.
  • For students planning to apply to internship the following fall semester, evaluation letters will also include a statement about whether the section members approved the student’s request to apply to internship.

Remediation Plans

Students who have obtained evaluation letters suggesting a need for improvement or who had remediation plans may be evaluated at any time, to check on progress towards addressing areas of remediation (and individualized based on their remediation plans and deadlines). Depending on the circumstances, these evaluations may also include a formal letter to be placed in the student’s folder, or feedback may be provided to the student by the mentor/adviser. In addition, if any faculty member, supervisor, instructor, or other person involved in the training of students asks for a formal evaluation of a student, that can be conducted at any time. Remediation plans will be unique to the student circumstances and involve a detailed plan, review of progress towards remediation, and deadlines for meeting remediation goals. A template for a remediation plan appears below (in the pdf version of this handbook).

Dismissal from the Program

Bases for dismissal from the program include but are not limited to:

  1. two failures of any part of the comprehensive examination.
  2. failures to meet specified deadlines for progress in the program.
  3. two consecutive Type II letters.
  4. unresponsiveness to recommendations and requirements from a previous evaluation.
  5. departure from the standards of ethical and/or professional behavior and laws governing psychologists and the practice of psychology.
  6. 2 grades below a “B-“.
  7. a Type III letter.

Continuation in the Doctoral Program

For students entering with the bachelor’s degree, a formal vote is required for continuation for doctoral training following completion of the M.S. Students are to inform the Director of Clinical Training when they have successfully defended their theses. Once a student has informed the Director of Clinical Training that they have completed the thesis, the Clinical Section will meet to review the student’s progress in the program and vote on whether the student will be continued into the doctoral program. It is expected that this vote will take place either within the same semester of the student’s successful thesis defense or the beginning of the following semester, should the thesis be defended at the end of a semester. Students’ academic, research, and clinical

competencies will be reviewed, as well as their professional behavior, prior to a vote. In order to be continued for doctoral training, students will need to have evidenced satisfactory progress regarding academic, research, and clinical competencies and to evidence high professional and ethical standards for behavior. The student must be favorably endorsed by two faculty members (the student’s mentor/advisor and one additional faculty member) for admission into the doctoral program. Following presentation of these endorsements, the Clinical Section (including the Clinic Director) will vote on admission of the student to doctoral training. A two-thirds affirmative vote is necessary for continuation in the program.