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Practicum Site Matching Decision Rules

Parameters In Order of Weighting

  • Need for placement at an SOPP Program.
  • Student's need for either additional assessment or intervention experience.
  • Student experience with clients culturally or ethnically different from him or herself.
  • Faculty appraisal of the student's clinical training needs and priorities.
  • Student's level in the program (i.e., 4th years' needs addressed first, then typically 3rd, 2nd, etc.)
  • Rating by potential sites following interviews.
  • Filling of available training slots for the year.
  • Student's own appraisal of his or her needs and priorities.
  • Student site ranking.

Matching Decision Rules

Students are asked to fill out a Student Practicum Profile Survey (SPPS), giving an overview of their clinical practice activities thus far through SOPP. Students should review descriptions of practica options for the upcoming year; review their career goals and perceived needs with their advisors; and then submit the SPPS, signed by the advisor, to the OCT. Thoughtful completion of the SPPS, along with the vita are very important guides for the placement process.

The overriding priority in placement matching is that each student is afforded a balanced training experience over the course of his/her clinical training. This balance is achieved, in part, through a yearly review of each student's training needs and progress by the faculty. This balance is also practically achieved, in part, by applying the first four priorities listed in the above section on weighting of placement decisions. If a student hasn't been at a designated internal program, for example, then such a site will become a priority for that student. If a student has had strong intervention experience but little formal assessment work, then a strong assessment site is a priority. If a student has worked mainly with clients matching his or her own culture or ethnicity, then a site exposing the student to clients who are culturally or ethnically different from the student is a priority.

The Director of Clincial Training will then review the Practicum Profile Surveys and vitae of all students and then work with the Training Committee to select up to three sites for each student to interview. The needs of the most advanced students in the program will be addressed first. An effort will be made not to overwhelm any site with candidates, and to spread candidates as evenly as possible across sites. Therefore, as successive class levels of students are addressed, some sites will become unavailable to newer students in the program, and other sites from the list appropriate to their needs will then be selected for them.

Generally, students who train at internal sites do not interview and are assigned directly to an internal placement. Students training at external sites will be given their lists of up to three sites at which to interview, and they will be given three weeks to interview at those sites. Failure to complete assigned interviews may result in removal from the practicum process for the year. Following these interviews, each site will rank the student's interviewed for placement at their sites. 

Again, the most advanced class of students are matched first, because this is their last chance to complete their training needs and preferences in practicum before going on to internship. Once again, an attempt will be made to distribute all students evenly across available sites. The students newest to the program are thus less likely to fulfill all of their expressed needs, but due consideration will be offered to these newer students' prior experience and appraised training needs in assigning their placements. Newer students will gain priority as they progress through the program.

Students newest to the program are placed based upon a review of any prior experience and a faculty appraisal of their training needs. Those with less prior experience and/or who have greater needs for closer supervision are more likely to be placed in one of SOPP's internal programs.

The student(s) preliminarily matched with each site will be shared with each site to be assured that there is no match judged as inappropriate, or too challenging for the assigned student. This time also allows for discussion with sites as to exactly how the students were assigned to their site, and why some students judged acceptable by the site may have been assigned elsewhere.

Finally, each student is informed of his or her practicum site, and the sites are informed of their assigned student(s) for the following year. Students are then directed to contact the assigned site and make arrangements for the following year.

Updated 8 January 2014, August 2012