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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


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

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

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

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

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