Assessment Techniques in Counseling – COUC 521

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/20/2022

Course Description

This course is designed to provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation in a multicultural society. Comprehension and application of basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing and other assessment techniques, including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, performance assessment, inventory methods, psychological testing, and behavioral observations are examined. Social and cultural factors related to the assessment and evaluation of individuals, groups, and specific populations are discussed. Identification of applicable ethical strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling are evaluated.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


The ability to use assessments in clinical practice is an integral part of the counseling process. Counselors must be able to competently and ethically assess clients' presenting issues, conceptualize and define these issues, evaluate and select the appropriate intervention, and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions on alleviating the clients' distress. Thus, regardless of the setting, counselors will administer and interpret a variety of assessments throughout the process of counseling. Therefore, it is essential to acquire the basic assessment skills needed to help clients gain deeper insight into themselves and their issues.

Method of Instruction: This 8 week course is delivered in a digital asynchronous format, with Canvas as the primary instructional delivery method.  Students complete one module per week over the duration of the course. 

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview. 

Discussions (4)

The student will participate in four (4) Discussions. Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will provide a discussion thread in response to the provided prompt. Follow the instructions provided for each discussion; each discussion should consist of one (1) discussion thread that responds to the prompt and at least two (2) responses to classmates' discussion threads. An open, curious, and honest attitude toward learning from others will facilitate development for all participants. Review the discussion assignment instructions for more information. (CLO: B, C, D, E, F, G, H)

Benchmark Intake Report Part One: Initial Interview Assignment

The student will use a fictional character as the subject of an interview that seeks to answer one of three referral questions. The interview will seek to gather all of the information that relates to the initial intake provided in the text, including identifying information, reason for referral, current situation and functioning, relevant medical history, psychiatric treatment history, family history, social and developmental history, educational and occupational history, and cultural influences. The information will be reported in a double-spaced, 900-1200 word document (not including title page). Review the assignment instructions for more information. (CLO: F, H) 

Benchmark Exploring Reliability and Validity Assignment

The student will analyze the psychometric properties provided in a test manual and evaluate the usefulness of the test for clinical practice based their review of the test. This includes describing the type and strength of reliability and validity measurements, the norm population, the quality of the information, and any discernible problems. The analysis must be reported in a 600–900-word, double-spaced document. Review the assignment instructions for more information. (CLO: B, C, D, E, F)

Benchmark Intake Report Part Two: Mental Status Exam (MSE) Assignment

The student will build on the information gained from the initial interview. In this assignment, the student will gather all of the information that relates to the Mental Status Exam, which deals with the examinee’s appearance, manner, approach, orientation, alertness, thought processes, mood, and affect. The information will be reported in a 600-900 word document (double-spaced). Review the assignment instructions for more information. (CLO: F, H)

Psychological Report Assignment

Using the referral question and self-designed character from the Initial Interview and Mental Status Examination assignments, the student will self-administer the IPIP-NEO and the Jung Personality Test. They will then select, self-administer, and interpret two (2) additional assessments. Then, using the results from the assessments, the student will prepare and submit a 2100-2400 word Psychological Report. Review the assignment instructions for more information. (CLO: B, C, F, G, H)

Intake Interview: Self-Reflection Assignment

The student will conduct a mock intake assessment with a classmate via Microsoft Teams. Each student is required to both conduct a mock interview and roleplay the part of a client in a classmate’s interview. They will submit a video and a self-reflection paper about both experiences. Review the assignment instructions for more information. (CLO: B, F, G, H)

Quizzes (8)

After completing the assigned reading in the Sheperis, Drummond, and Jones (2020) text, students complete the chapter quizzes, consisting of 10 questions per chapter (20 items total per quiz). These questions are multiple-choice, open-book, and similar to the content found on state licensing examinations that cover the core competency of assessment and evaluation. The student will have one (1) hour to complete each quiz. (CLO: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H)

Quiz: Intake Interview Groups

Students will organize themselves into groups of two or three via the Collaboration and Community discussion. It is the student's responsibility to connect with classmates and schedule a time to complete these interviews in Microsoft Teams. Please be flexible and professional with your classmates. The instructor will not make accommodations for any student who fails to complete this part of the assignment. These will be your groups for the Quiz: Intake Interview: Video Submission and Intake Interview: Self-Reflection Paper Assignment.

Quiz: Intake Interview: Video Submission

Students will submit their intake interview video in preparation for the Quiz: Intake Interview: Video Submission.

The Liberty Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program places an emphasis on students' faith integration in clinical practice. Students' development into an ethical, competent professional counselor is important. This survey provides time for reflection and evaluation regarding this important domain.