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Knowledge Competency Examination Outline

4. History and Systems of Psychology
General Overview of the Competency Exams

Regardless of your specialty area, the faculty at Alliant believe that everyone earning a doctorate in
psychology should know something about the core areas of the basic discipline of psychology. Each
doctoral program in psychology at CSPP-SD and MGSM is required to demonstrate in some way that its
students have mastered core knowledge in these basic areas. In addition, APA accreditation of clinical
psychology programs requires that programs demonstrate that they have imparted this knowledge in some
way. The COMPS provide one way to document that students have mastered key elements of this

Different programs ask students to demonstrate core knowledge in different ways. Some programs require
that students take and pass a course, some that they take and pass a COMP, some that they do both. In
addition, taking and passing a mastery exam (like a COMP) with specific content to be mastered requires
that students learn material they may not have mastered in courses and to review material in new ways.
Faculty members believe this process helps students to consolidate and expand their knowledge.

Finally, the COMPS resemble the kind of national examination students must pass to be licensed as
psychologists in most states. Faculty members believe that passing the COMPS is a relevant professional
experience that helps students prepare for the licensing examination. Students who have traditionally done
poorly on this type of objective test, for example, have the opportunity to practice taking mastery content-
based examinations and to improve their test-taking, study, and content-mastery skills.

Are these exams reliable and valid?

The Knowledge Competency Exams are appropriately categorized as mastery (criterion-referenced) tests,
not norm-referenced tests. The psychometric requirements of mastery tests differ from the requirements
of norm-based tests designed to illuminate individual differences. Content validity of mastery tests, not
their internal consistency or predictive ability, is the relevant standard for the development and validation
of such tests. We build content validity into the tests in several ways. First, we develop outlines that
clearly specify the general content areas required by students to be mastered. Second, we make sure each
item in our item pools fits with an area on the content outline. Third, each exam is created by selecting
items from an extensive item pool created for the content area. Questions on each exam sample broadly
from the range of content covered by the outline. A faculty member knowledgeable in the content area
assessed by the exam creates each exam. Fourth, we try to ensure that more than one professor who has
substantive knowledge in a content area reviews the questions to rephrase terminology that may be
"professor specific." Finally, we periodically conduct formal reviews and updates of item content for each
of the examinations.

Although customary indicators of reliability, item difficulty statistics, and item discrimination statistics
are not as relevant to mastery tests as they are to norm-based tests, we do use these indicators after each
exam is given determine whether any items should be eliminated from individual exams. All students are
given credit for any poorly-performing items that have been deleted from a specific test.

In addition, the examination committee has in the past conducted several analyses relevant to the validity


The pre-enlightenment thinkers A. but seeks to represent the broad (i. 50 questions are drawn from the large pool of items for that test. mastery of the material is assessed by a sampling of questions. MP. Nativism: Socrates and Plato 2. Remember: Each time an exam is given. You will not receive and will not be able to review your actual exam or the specific questions on it. Anatomy: Galen B. Trait and Type: 10-20% This distribution is based partly on the judgment of the faculty about the relative importance and relevance of the material in the various categories. On any given exam. The general distribution of questions for each administration of this exam will be approximately as follows: I.of COMPS. The sampling is not random. Mind and body: Descartes 2 .e. After the exam. Furthermore.. Information specific to this exam: For the outline of material in History and Systems of Psychology. Observation and induction: Aristotle 3. These analyses indicated that COMPS scores correlated positively with student’s reports of number of hours spent studying and correlated negatively with number of less-than-full-credit grades (NC. Content Outline for History and Systems of Psychology I. there were no gender or ethnic differences in rates of passing exams. and partly upon the number of available questions in the pool. Atomism: Democritus 4. there are 12 large categories of material covered (the Roman numeral categories). Behavioral/Social Learning: 30-35% IV. Renaissance thinking 1. You must achieve a score of 74% to pass each exam. C or lower) received in the program. Psychoanalytic: 30-35% II. Existential: 20-25% III. there may be some more specific areas that do not have many questions. The purpose of the exams is to ensure that students have learned the broad range of material covered in the outline. and others that have more. you will receive a feedback sheet that identifies the portion of the outline to which each question was keyed. The Greeks 1. sampling broadly from the content on the outline. and indicates which items you missed. the Roman numeral) categories on the outline. rather than by covering every single area on each exam.

nonsense syllables: Ebbinghaus V. Psychological experimentation. J. Newton. statistics. Specific nerve energies: Muller C. Weber C. the first laboratory: Wundt and Titchener B. Memory. The beginnings of experimental psychology A. the beginnings of psychophysics: Fechner. Hume 2. Spinal reflexes: Whytt B. Galton 2. Brain localization: Gall. Associationism: 1. Heredity and measurement. Enlightenment philosophers A. forgetting. Nativism: Kant III. Spinal Cord roots: Bell and Magendie D. Electrical nerve conduction: Galvani and Helmholtz E. Cattell B. Imageless thought and the beginnings of Gestalt psychology: Kulpe D. correlation 1. British and American beginnings: The influence of Darwin A. Hartley C. Mill 3. Empiricism: 1. Physiological beginnings A.S. Laws of sensation. 2. and Harvey II. Locke 2. Flourens. The beginnings of science: Galileo. Berkeley B. Functionalism: 3 . Broca IV. introspectionism.

Koffka C. Early Behaviorism A. Social: Adler C. Hull (and Spence. Bandura VIII. Gestalt Psychology – in Germany and America A. Kernberg. Mahler. Conditioning theory 1. Horney. Fairbairn. Hall 3. Angell 5. Ego psychologists/Developmental: Anna Freud. Object Relations. Thorndike 2. Thorndike VI. Pavlov 3. Tolman 5. Wertheimer VII. Learning theory 1. Winnicott. Watson B. Neo-Freudians :Fromm. Skinner 3. Kohut 4 . James 2. Hartmann E. Kohler B. and Mowrer) 4. Miller. Guthrie 6. Classic: Freud and Jung B. Sullivan D. Psychoanalysis A. Dewey 4. 1. Sechenov 2. Bowlby. Erickson.

Clinical psychology in America: Witmer and psychological clinics. Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral therapies. Psychological testing movement: Binet. Boulder and Vail training models C. Haley) D. Humanism: Rogers. Humanistic and Existential therapies. Medical Antecedents: Tuke. Ethology (Tinbergen. Pinel. von Frisch) XII. History of Clinical Psychology A. Terman. Existentialism: May C. Women: Mary Calkins. Twentieth century developments A. Testing in WWI and WWII. History of Hispanic-American Psychology D. Behavioral therapies. Goddard. Janet. Penfield. Humanism A. training D. Piaget) C. Child psychology: Piaget. Allport. Development of Professional Psychology: APA. Vygotsky. Simon. Charcot. Hebb. Minority groups in the history of psychology A. Festinger) B. Lorenz. Rorschach. Satir. Maslow B. Murray. Chomsky. licensing. Social psychology (Mead. Lashley.IX. Miller. Phenomenology. Family systems therapies. Bowen. Georgi X. Holt E. Sperry) E. Gestalt: Perls D. Yerkes. Child Guidance Movement. Kanner. Psychotherapies: Psychoanalytic therapies. Minuchin. Lewin. Kraepelin B. Dix. History of Asian-American Psychology 5 . Charles Thompson. Stern. Beverly Prosser B. African-Americans: Francis Sumner. Cognitive psychology (Bartlett. Margaret Washburn. Melanie Klein XI. Watson & Raynor. Family Systems (Whitaker. Kenneth Clark C. Burlingham & Freud. Neuroscience ( Hubel & Wiesel. Bruner. APA Division. Integrative therapies F. Psychological clinics.

M. S.yorku. Gardner. and links to 100+ others. (5th. On-line collection of dozens of historically influential psychological texts. edited by Christopher D. New York: Oxford University Press. (2000). A history of psychology in letters. Finger. History and systems of psychology (6th ed. The great psychologists: A history of psychological thought. New York: McGraw-Hill. cognitive science after 1984. Ludy T. Green. General textbooks: Hothersall.). New York: Basic Books Reisman. Minds behind the brain: a history of the pioneers and their discoveries. New York: Hemisphere. Robert I.: Prentice-Hall. (1991).). N. Harper Collins Brennan. Rand B. History of psychology (3rd ed. York University. J. A history of clinical psychology (2nd ed. 6 . H. Englewood. (1991). & Evans. (1987 ).. (1992).). The mind's new science: a history of the cognitive revolution: with a new epilogue. David (1995).F. (2002). Watson. New York: McGraw-Hill. Jr.).ca Benjamin.J. J. ed. Recommended Reading List Original materials Classics in the History of Psychology. The web link is http://psychclassics.