The value of practice simulations and Objective Structured Professional Assessments (OSPAs) for school psychology training: Participant perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper explores trainee educational psychology doctoral students’ experiences of Objective Structured Professional Assessments (OSPAs), implemented at three UK universities and involving participation in a series of timed, simulated scenarios. Focus groups were audio-recorded, transcribed, and subjected to thematic analysis. Themes linked with cognitions included identification of learning processes (reflection, discovery, reception) or practical constraints (authenticity and timing of scenarios). Statements of emotion included positive responses (containment, reassurance, and relief) as well as more adverse reactions to the experience (anxiety and anger). Overall, the findings suggest that many students valued OSPAs as worthwhile and useful in developing professional competencies.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of School and Educational Psychology
Early online date17 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019