The Pikes Peak Competency Tool is now available online!
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NOTE ON PRINTING COMPETENCY REPORTS: Reports can easily be printed on paper. For those with Adobe, on your printing screen, choose Adobe PDF as your printer, and the report will be printed into a pdf electronic document. We are working on an additional electronic document creation option for those without Adobe.
Learn more about the Pikes Peak Tool:
Pikes Peak Geropsychology Knowledge and Skill Assessment Tool, version 1.4
Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs
Version 1.1 © 2008, Version 1.2 © 2011, Version 1.3 © 2012, Version 1.4 © 2013
Using the Competency Evaluation Tool
This tool is intended to be used both by supervisors to assess trainees, and by psychologists to assess their own knowledge and skills. Supervisors in geropsychology training programs may choose to evaluate the domains relevant to the goals of their program. Evaluation should include the learner’s perspective (self-assessment), observation of the learner’s work (e.g., direct observation, audiotape, videotape, co-therapy), as well as regular supervision involving case discussion. Psychologists and trainees conducting self-assessments can use the tool to evaluate their training and supervision needs in each area. The tool also can gauge a learner’s progress over time.
The learner can be rated on each Pikes Peak knowledge domain and skill competency as Novice (N), Intermediate (I), Advanced (A), Proficient (P), or Expert (E), as described below. Each Pikes Peak competency (highlighted in light gray in the chart below) is delineated by several specifiers (indicated by letters a., b., c., etc. in the chart). The specifiers are designed to help define the knowledge domain or skill competency and do not need to be rated separately. However, the specifiers can be rated individually if that level of assessment is desired.
Rating Scale Anchors
This rating scale assumes that professional competence is developed over time, as learners develop knowledge and skills with ongoing education, training, and supervision. The anchors, then, reflect developmental levels of competence, from Novice through Expert. The scale is adapted from previous efforts, as summarized by Hatcher and Lassiter (2007). Because the scale reflects development of competence, the same scale can be used at different levels of training. For example, graduate practica students would be expected to perform at Novice through Advanced levels, while Postdoctoral Fellows in Geropsychology would be expected to perform from Intermediate to Proficient levels. Development of knowledge and skills may differ significantly across domains, depending upon previous training experiences.
To illustrate use of the scale, we provide a brief vignette and how an individual at each level might approach the case.
Vignette: A 78-year-old Irish-American man is referred to the mental health clinic by his primary care physician because his daughter-in-law complained that, in recent months, he has become depressed and forgetful and is no longer involved in his hobbies. He has several chronic medical problems including mild diabetes and hypertension. His Korean-American wife of 52 years is angry that he is not completing his household chores. His three adult children have varied levels of involvement in his life, with one daughter and one son living nearby. He comes to the clinic for an initial evaluation.
Novice (N): Possesses entry-level skills; needs intensive supervision
Novices have limited knowledge and understanding of case conceptualization and intervention skills, and the processes and techniques of implementing them. Novices do not yet recognize consistent patterns of behavior relevant for diagnosis and care planning and do not differentiate well between important and unimportant details.
Example: The learner is able to identify salient symptoms, but does not appreciate possible contributions of medical, neurological, and family system factors to the older adult’s presentation, and does not know how to formulate differential diagnosis questions.
Intermediate (I): Has a background of some exposure and experience; ongoing supervision is needed
Experience has been gained through practice, supervision, and instruction. The learner is able to recognize important recurring issues and select appropriate strategies. Generalization of skills is limited and support is needed to guide performance.
Example: The learner recognizes multiple possible contributions to the older adult’s presentation, is able to collect history from the patient (and his daughter-in-law, with his permission), administer depression and cognitive screening tools, and consult with supervisor to discuss possible implications and to plan further evaluation. Learner may not appreciate complex, late life family and cultural systems issues affecting patient’s coping.
Advanced (A): Has solid experience, handles typical situations well; requires supervision for unusual or complex situations
Knowledge of the competency domain is more integrated, including application of appropriate research literature. The learner is more fluent in the ability to recognize patterns and select appropriate strategies to guide diagnosis and treatment
Example: The learner is able to integrate multiple sources of information (e.g., behavioral observation, cognitive testing data, medical records, collateral reports) and complex history (medical, psychiatric, family, occupational, and cultural context) to rule out possibility of early dementia plus depression, and make recommendations to the primary care provider and family about further assessment and treatment options. Learner consults with supervisor about local resources for older adults, and how best to handle issues around wife’s difficulty coping with patient’s changes, related marital conflict, family dynamics, culture, and treatment planning.
Proficient (P): Functions autonomously, knows limits of ability; seeks supervision or consultation as needed
Proficiency is demonstrated in perceiving situations as wholes and not only summations of parts, including an appreciation of longer term implications of current situation. The psychologist has a perspective on which of the many existing attributes and aspects in the present situation are important ones, and has developed a nuanced understanding of the clinical situation.
Example: Learner is able to integrate information, as above, collaborate with family and medical (e.g., psychiatrist, neurologist) and social service providers for ongoing assessment and intervention for the patient and family (e.g., psychoeducation, couple’s therapy, explore community support options). Learner functions as a full member of an interdisciplinary team to address the biopsychosocial needs of the client and his family, and is able to assume a leadership role.
Expert (E): Serves as resource or consultant to others, is recognized as having expertise
With significant background of experience, the geropsychologist is able to focus in on the essentials of the problem quickly and efficiently. Analytical problem solving is used to consider unfamiliar situations, or when initial impressions do not bear out.
Example: Learner is frequently contacted by other psychologists in her community to provide consultation regarding care of older adults with dementia. Learner is able to use the above case as a teaching example for the need to provide a thorough biopsychosocial assessment in geriatric care, to implement an interdisciplinary team plan, and to be knowledgeable about geriatric resources in the community.