Challenges to the Assessment of Competence and Competencies

James W. Lichtenberg, Sanford M. Portnoy, Muriel J. Bebeau, Irene W. Leigh, Paul D. Nelson, Nancy J. Rubin, I. Leon Smith, Nadine J. Kaslow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Challenges to the assessment of competence and competencies in professional psychology are discussed in this article. These include difficulties in defining competencies in precise and measurable terms; reaching agreement within the profession about the key elements of each competence domain; establishing an armamentarium of tools for assessing all components of competence, including the knowledge base, skills, and attitudes (and their integration); determining appropriate agreed-upon minimal levels of competence for individuals at different levels of professional development and when "competence problems" exist for individuals; assuring the fidelity of competency assessments; and establishing mechanisms for providing effective evaluative feedback and remediation. But even if these challenges can be met, perhaps the single biggest obstacle would be convincing those who are skeptical of the value of the culture shift toward the implementation of comprehensive competence assessments across the professional life span.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)474-478
Number of pages5
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • assessment challenges
  • competence
  • competency assessment
  • education and training


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