Facts and Figures
Are there differences among doctoral programs, internship sites and practicum sites when it comes to expectations of practicum experience? Yes and no, according to data from APA's Research Office.
In the fall of 1999, the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) expressed interest in gathering data on the nature of the practicum experience from these three perspectives to address this issue. Considerable differences in training and expectations might suggest a lack of continuity in the practicum process and could require policy changes to remedy the situation.
APA's Research Office worked with CCTC and APA's Education Directorate to draft the survey and tailor the instrument to each type of setting (practicum, internship site and program). The survey was mailed to 596 internship sites and 323 doctoral programs in October 1999.
APA received 246 responses from intern directors, for a response rate of 41 percent; 148 program directors responded for a rate of 46 percent.
Subsequent analyses revealed similarities and differences on a number of issues central to the content of the practicum experience across settings. Doctoral programs and internship site directors were each asked to break down the total practicum experience of applicants by percentage across a number of different activities. Both types of sites viewed supervised clinical intervention and clinical assessment as primary activities of practica, although slightly less emphasis is put on these for doctoral programs.
On the other hand, doctoral programs placed somewhat more emphasis on a wider range of activities, such as program development, community consultation, and supervision, as compared with internship sites. This may be due to a natural tendency to emphasize the more traditional aspects of practical experiences in internship settings or the fact that doctoral programs are beginning to heed the call for a greater diversity of training for practitioners in light of the demands due to a changing health-caresystem for accountability and quality assurance.
--WILLIAM E. PATE II
APA RESEARCH OFFICE