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Chapter 32: Qualitative approaches to career counselling

AUTHORS: M. Watson, M. McMahon

ABSTRACT: Sometimes viewed as a newcomer in the field of career psychology, qualitative career assessment has a long history that has been overshadowed by the dominant story of quantitative career assessment. This proposed book chapter explores the potential of qualitative career assessment to accommodate less tangible and therefore less measurable variables that may influence individual career development. Specifically, a qualitative approach to career assessment may be sensitive to variables such as culture, socio-economic background, barriers to career development and other contextual influences that have been less focused on in quantitative career assessment. The book chapter also considers the issue of complementarity between qualitative and quantitative career assessment from various international perspectives. This proposed chapter describes the development of a qualitative career assessment measure, My System of Career Influences (MSCI; McMahon, Patton & Watson, 2005a, b), which has been developed for use with adolescents in South Africa and Australia. The MSCI was developed according to guidelines suggested for qualitative career assessment by McMahon, Patton and Watson (2003). Subsequently, the MSCI has been translated for use with adolescents in The Netherlands, Iceland and Hong Kong. The chapter also describes the development of an adult version of the MSCI (McMahon, Watson & Patton, submitted a, b) which was trialled in Australia, England and South Africa. The chapter concludes with an overview of recent research using the MSCI on diverse South African population groups of adolescents and adults.

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Chapter 31: The IAC approach to assessment: A family consultation model of child assessment

AUTHOR: Z. Amod

ABSTRACT: Innovative assessment procedures which take into account contextual factors such as language, culture, education, socio-economic status and recent educational policy developments are needed in South Africa.  In the democratic South Africa, both Education White Paper 6 (2001) and Curriculum 2005 call for assessment practices that are less expert-driven, non-deficit focused and linked to curriculum support.  The Initial Assessment Consultation (IAC) approach, which is the focus of this chapter, encompasses and addresses such aims.  This shared problem-solving approach to child assessment has at its core a focus on collaboration with parents and caregivers as well as significant others such as teachers, with the purpose of facilitating learning and the empowerment of clients.  The approach is based on a sound philosophical and theoretical foundation and is a radical departure from the belief that assessment and intervention are discrete clinical procedures.  The IAC approach to child assessment, which represents a paradigm shift in assessment practice, was initially developed by Adelman and Taylor (1979) at the Fernald Institute at the University of California to address prevailing criticisms of conventional assessment procedures.  Over the last two decades the IAC family participation and consultation model of assessment has been adapted and implemented at the University of the Witwatersrand.  Research has supported the usefulness of this holistic and egalitarian form of assessment which mirrors the more democratic environment of post-apartheid South Africa with its strong endorsement of human rights, sensitive cross-cultural differences and its changing educational policies on assessment practice (Amod, 2003; Amod, Skuy, Sonderup and Fridjhon, 2000; Dangor, 1983; Manala, 2001; Skuy, Westaway and Hickson, 1989; Sonderup, 1998).  The post-modernistic IAC model of assessment which emphasizes interpersonal, intrapersonal and environmental transactional factors in assessment has also been perceived positively by post-graduate students who have been trained in this approach at the University of the Witwatersrand (Dangor, 1983; Warburton, 2008).

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Chapter 29: Using computerised and Internet-based testing in South Africa

AUTHOR: N. Tredoux

ABSTRACT: South Africa was an early adopter of computerised tests, with the earliest testing systems being developed in the late 1970’s. Initially computerised testing systems were developed by state-funded organisations, with some funding from the private sector. As a result of political changes in South Africa, financial support for research and development in Psychometrics in statutory organisations decreased. Psychometrics, and specifically computerised testing, was then advanced by various private commercial interests, with increasing involvement from foreign test publishers. With the development of the World Wide Web and the availability of broadband connectivity, delivery of tests and reports across the Internet became a reality.  Publishers were concerned about piracy of content and cheating by respondents who were doing the tests unsupervised.  The International Test Commission drew up guidelines for computer-based and internet-delivered testing, and these were adapted to the existing South African legislative framework and ethical guidelines for psychologist. A legal battle ensued, resulting in the repeated withdrawal and re-adopting of the South African guidelines. The main point of contention was whether or not unsupervised Internet-based testing should be allowed.  This legal battle eventually led to changes in legislation.  This chapter will discuss the regulatory framework as it currently stands.  The risks attached to different types of computerised implentations of tests will be considered, taking into account the rights of the respondent, the psychometric impact of computerisation, and the exposure for the practitioner to charges of possible misconduct. A proposal for best practice in South Africa will be formulated.

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Chapter 28: Ethical Perspectives in Assessment

AUTHOR: N. Coetzee

ABSTRACT: Psychological assessment practices in South Africa are informed by several governing bodies. Firstly, there are the codes of conduct proposed by the International Test Commission and the American Psychological Association (APA). Secondly, practitioners must adhere to statutory control in the form of the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974. Thirdly, practitioners working in organizational and institutional contexts soon discover that they must also deal with two other forms of important legislation, namely the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997) and the Employment Equity Act (1998). Add to this the fact that South Africa is in dire need of appropriate measures of assessment, and it soon becomes clear that practicing psychological assessment could approximate a walk through a mine-field. The aim of this chapter, however, is not to add to the sense of confusion South African practitioners currently experience, but to provide them with detailed step-by-step guidelines on how to interpret and integrate the ethical codes proposed by the International Test Commission, the APA and the Health Professions Act 56 of 1974. Discussions and guidelines on how to interpret the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997) and the Employment Equity Act (1998) when conducting psychological assessment within the organizational context will also be provided. Research findings of relevant South African studies on psychological assessment will be incorporated throughout the text to illustrate that, despite all the hindrances experienced by practitioners, the ethical use of psychological assessment is possible.

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Chapter 15: The 15FQ+ in South Africa

AUTHOR: N. Tredoux

ABSTRACT: This chapter will discuss the development of the 15FQ+ and how it differs from the 16PF, which measures the same model of personality. An overview of the questionnaire’s reliability and validity will be done, comparing early studies with newer results.  The effect of language proficiency, reasoning ability and education on the reliability of the questionnaire will be discussed.  Differences between race and language groups of the various scales will be considered, with a discussion of the importance of these differences for the fair use of the questionnaire in South Africa. An overview of South African norms will be presented. Guidelines for the choice of norm groups will be discussed, with particular emphasis on the decision whether to use a general population norm or a smaller norm which would be specific to a given language or race group.  For some assessment situations, the best choice may be to use a simpler questionnaire, or not to assess personality using a questionnaire at all.  Attention will also be given to differences between age groups on the personality dimensions measures by the 15FQ+. The various computer-generated reports available for the 15FQ+ will be considered, to facilitate their appropriate use.  Attention will be given to the practice of matching personality dimensions to competencies, the obtaining of matched scores, and the implications for fair use of the questionnaire. The importance of doing an integrated assessment will be emphasised, and some consideration will be given to additional sources of information that can be used to arrive at a fair and accurate assessment.

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Chapter 23: Assessment and Monitoring of Symptoms in the Treatment of Psychological Problems

AUTHORS: D. Edwards, C. Young

ABSTRACT: This chapter considers the clinical application of brief symptom measures in South African contexts. Although typically developed in the USA and UK, these measures can assist South African clinicians to assess the severity of their clients’ presentations, to track the progress of psychological therapy from one session to the next and to evaluate therapy outcomes. There is evidence for their value not only for research but also for practice, as such systematic tracking of symptoms improves clinical outcome. While many competing measures have been developed over the years, a few dominate in the literature and even fewer have been used and at least partially validated in South Africa. This chapter summarizes recent local validation studies on the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Outcome Measure (CORE-OM), and of the Xhosa translations of the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and the Beck Hopelessness Scale (BHS).  Other disorder-specific measures that have been used in local contexts include the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and a number of trauma scales such as the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), the Impact of Events Scale (IES), the Posttraumatic Cognitions Inventory, and the Traumatic Grief Inventory (TGI). The utility of these scales in everyday settings, and their interpretation in conjunction with other assessment data are examined by reference to clinical examples, including published case studies.  Problems encountered in the translation of scales as well as their use in local multicultural and multilingual contexts are discussed.

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