Original Research - Special Collection: COVID-19

COVID-19 and psychological assessment teaching practices – Reflections from a South African university

Erica Munnik, Mario Smith, Leigh Adams Tucker, Wilmien Human
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 3 | a40 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v3i0.40 | © 2021 Munnik Erica, Leigh Adams Tucker, Wilmien Human, Mario Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 October 2020 | Published: 07 April 2021

About the author(s)

Erica Munnik, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Mario Smith, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Leigh Adams Tucker, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Wilmien Human, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa


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Abstract

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis posed new challenges in higher education, which compounded the existing challenges. The South African higher education sector responded with plans to secure the learning and teaching mandates and bolster support services for students. An emergency remote learning and teaching plan was launched to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the 2020 academic year. This article reports on the reflections of lecturers who were teaching psychometric assessment and supervising student psychologists on the clinical master’s programme during the pandemic. The Master’s Clinical Psychology Programme at the University of the Western Cape was the case study. The focus on the psychological assessment module was the unit of analysis. Course documents and reflective notes, generated during the adaptation of psychological assessment training, were used as the data source. Thematic analysis generated five themes, namely, (1) the importance of statutory guidelines for clinical training, (2) adapting content, (3) pedagogy and modalities, (4) management of test libraries and (5) lecturer experience. The management of changes to the module in response to the COVID-19 crisis was challenging. Lecturers had to balance competency training and assessment with revised work and adapted teaching conditions. Emergency teaching interventions took place in the framework of ethics and professional requirement, and the learning outcomes articulated within the scope of practice for clinical psychologists.

Keywords

case study; COVID-19; clinical psychology; learning and teaching; pedagogy; psychological assessment

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