“They are not open and transparent. They hold private, closed meetings with members of government bodies that make decisions about the public and profession.”
By: Dr. Julie Nelson | Licensed Psychologist.
Re-blog from: Where is ASPPB’s Moral Compass?
The decision by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) to force their new product with its $1200 price tag on our early career psychologists is sad and ironic.
On a simple, economic level it’s just one more example of what happens without a fair market in place–overpriced products that are low quality.
But for psychology the recent power grab by ASPPB is another sign that our national leaders have lost their moral––and in this case also their scientific––compass. I expect this in other professions, but as naïve as it sounds, I expect more from psychologists.
ASPPB is a keeper of our stone tablets, where our commandments are written, and just like APA, now seems more and more lost when it comes to what it really means to be psychologists, the only profession that is a profession and a science, and the only profession that is expected not only to do the right thing, but to seek the highest possible levels of self-awareness while doing it.
Here is my current and growing list of problems with ASPPB:
1. The first is a technical matter. They are not using criterion related validity methods for their test development. I expect this from other professions but we set the bar in selection-testing and should refuse to lower standards.
2. ASPPB is promoting a new test before they even know if it will be valid, which means to me that the thing is rigged.
3. They seem over their head or else are ignoring the criterion problems for psychologists, e.g. does “competence” have a linear relationship to disciplinary actions years later? Predicting job performance is different than predicting misdemeanors.
4. They ignore, and the boards do too, base rates. These rates bring into question the need for any test, but especially additional tests. Ignoring base rates also means they can ignore the test’s inability to predict rare events––disciplinary events. The hope of prediction, to “protect the public,” is what the customer is paying for in the first place.
Numbers #1 to #4 above suggest to me that ASPPB is operating out of its competence area.
The next have to do with ethics of client relationships and general ethics.
5. They seem to ignore the possible harm done to others––high possible false negatives and 50 percentile cut scores and fail rates–– in the absence of criterion validity.
6. They are not open and transparent. They hold private, closed meetings with members of government bodies that make decisions about the public and profession.
7. They are overcharging their clients. ASPPB has a monopoly on the national exam but fails to adjust to the situation with checks and balances that would help them with their financial conflict of interest. The current $600 price is twice what the physicians charge for the same number of hours of testing and three times what the social workers charge.
8. ASPPB appears unconcerned with those who are helpless to protect themselves. They intend to double the price of a profitable product, and foist the increase on our most vulnerable group of young psychologists who have no voice in the matter.
9. ASPPB wastes their money on frivolous travel and entertainment, which smacks of influence peddling. They spend money to act like big-shots, rather than roll back costs to the young people.
10. They are not really a non-profit, not in the true sense of the word, not any more.
Does ASPPB exist to provide moral and technical leadership to the boards and help them with (law) enforcement? If so, they need to take a vow of poverty and open everything they do to inquiry, analysis and inspection.
Or, is ASPPB a test-publishing business, seeking government contracts? Making decisions behind closed doors to achieve the goal of higher profits?
Mixing these usually means that neither is done to the highest standards, standards that psychologists, psychology, and the public need and deserve. Serving two masters is extremely difficult under even the most enlightened conditions.
In this anti-regulation environment, ASPPB is taking risks with our future and our traditions by this path. Their Board of Directors needs to snap out of it. They do us no honor by their recent decision or how it appears to have come about.
By: Dr. Julie Nelson | Licensed Psychologist
[Julie Nelson is a licensed psychologist, journalist, organizational consultant, and publisher of the Times. She also holds other various positions in the community. However, her opinions here are those of her own, and do not represent any group or association. She and the Times receive no compensation other than paid advertizing. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, ––she welcomes feedback.]
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