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JCApsych

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So I just failed the CPSE for the second time. I got an 83, and as we all know I needed an 85. In what world does knowing 83% of the answers of such a comprehensive test make you incompetent to practice? At the risk of sounding Borderline, I'm seriously wondering if there is any legal recourse to take. At this point I am losing a chunk of income, and have serious concerns about the validity of the test as well as how the cut off score is set. The last cut off score was 75, and the pass rate was only 60%, which is 5% lower than for the EPPP. I want some transparency on how the cutoff is set and how they determine the validity of the test, especially as they are doing away with CPSE entirely in August 2015. Has anyone ever heard of someone taking legal actions?
 

erg923

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So I just failed the CPSE for the second time. I got an 83, and as we all know I needed an 85. In what world does knowing 83% of the answers of such a comprehensive test make you incompetent to practice? At the risk of sounding Borderline, I'm seriously wondering if there is any legal recourse to take. At this point I am losing a chunk of income, and have serious concerns about the validity of the test as well as how the cut off score is set. The last cut off score was 75, and the pass rate was only 60%, which is 5% lower than for the EPPP. I want some transparency on how the cutoff is set and how they determine the validity of the test, especially as they are doing away with CPSE entirely in August 2015. Has anyone ever heard of someone taking legal actions?

Uh, a world with standards. The suposition isn't that your "incompetent" to practice of course, but like any other metric, a cut score has to be identified. If it was 80, someone would just be mad it wasnt 79... and so on.

They def should be posting reliability stats and some degree of transparencey/rationale, but I am not certain about what the criteria is for a lawsuit. You would have to identify/claim discrimination of some sort, no?
 
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DynamicDidactic

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You have a few options:
Retake test
Move to a different state
Get a different license

The lawsuit seems like the least useful, most costly, and time intensive option.
 
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psyman

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You have a few options:
Retake test
Move to a different state
Get a different license

The lawsuit seems like the least useful, most costly, and time intensive option.

You can't retake for another 6 months. That's a pretty unnecessary waiting period. Also, I think your response is obnoxious for someone who said they just failed this test.
 
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JCApsych

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Good points... it sounds like it would be hard to come up with the basis for a lawsuit, aside form alleging that the test is flawed, and not measuring what it purports to measure (considering the very low pass rate, especially in comparison to the EPPP which is considered the gold standard, thus national exam). So maybe I go after getting some transparency first. I understand that there has to be a cutoff somewhere, or the entire idea of a test would be pointless. What I'm asking is how that cutoff is determined, and what the resulting criterion validity is based on that cutoff. The cutoff for the last version was 75... now it is magically 85. So how is this being set and under what parameters? Does that make any sense?
 

WisNeuro

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It'll be hard, you have to make a case that the cutoff is restricting licensure to a damaging degree. In a state with an over-saturated market, that will be very difficult. If anything that is evidence for them to make the test more restrictive in licensing.
 

psyman

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The fact that the pass rate the last 2 forms of the test (1 year period) was 60% after being 80-95% for the last like 7 years is suspect. That's at least grounds to look at a lawsuit. And they absolutely need to be more transparent and show score distribution.

For those not in CA, they are getting rid of this exam and giving a law and ethics only exam beginning in August. They say this exam is redundant after the EPPP (and they are right).
 
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WisNeuro

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You are assuming the the previous pass rate was adequate. What basis are you using to make that assumption. That's just as flawed as automatically assuming that teh current pass rate is more than adequate. Both lack any real argument behind them.
 

PsyDr

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great idea: piss off the only legal agency that can allow you to practice your profession. Say you find cause, find an atty to take the case, pay tens of thousands, and win. Now you still have to go back to said licensing agency which you have just pissed off and ask them to do something for you. Don't worry, pissed off people usually want to help. You'll only have them looking at you for another 30 years or so.
 
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psyman

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You are assuming the the previous pass rate was adequate. What basis are you using to make that assumption. That's just as flawed as automatically assuming that teh current pass rate is more than adequate. Both lack any real argument behind them.

I didn't complain about the EPPP pass rate because it was consistent. This pass rate has been consistent and then tanked for one year. Within the last 10 years this exam had a 90% pass rate. 2 years ago it was 85% if I remmeber.
 
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psyman

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great idea: piss off the only legal agency that can allow you to practice your profession. Say you find cause, find an atty to take the case, pay tens of thousands, and win. Now you still have to go back to said licensing agency which you have just pissed off and ask them to do something for you. Don't worry, pissed off people usually want to help. You'll only have them looking at you for another 30 years or so.

You really get things done don't you?

I wouldn't take legal advice on this topic from psychologists.
 
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erg923

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You really get things done don't you?

I wouldn't take legal advice on this topic from psychologists.

Psydr is pathological workaholic, yes. In Forensics too, by the way.
 
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JCApsych

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great idea: piss off the only legal agency that can allow you to practice your profession. Say you find cause, find an atty to take the case, pay tens of thousands, and win. Now you still have to go back to said licensing agency which you have just pissed off and ask them to do something for you. Don't worry, pissed off people usually want to help. You'll only have them looking at you for another 30 years or so.

Yeah, I'm not really into staying quiet so that people in power stay comfortable, in any aspect of life.
Ok so, making a case that the test is restricting licensure to damaging degree, that's a good suggestion/point. I'm wondering if they have somehow changed the construction of the test, given that the pass rate has been so consistent in the past and has suddenly tanked. Look, at the least there needs to be a lot more transparency about this thing. Gaining my license in Massachusetts wasn't EASY, but it also wasn't impossible. I'm not whining because I'm angry and want to take my toys and go home, I am seriously concerned about the number of people being affected by this. So any REAL suggestions, input, or constructive criticism is helpful!
 

erg923

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That doesn't make them an attorney with knowledge of lawsuits in this area.

Uh, I suspect he knows something about Tort lawsuits
 
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psyman

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Imagine if the pass rate (after years of consistency) for the EPPP went from 55% one year to 35% the next and there was zero explanation. That's what has happened here. Then they raise the passing score to the highest ever. That's what happened here.
 

erg923

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What does the board say? Dont they write the test? Dont they have meeting minutes posted for the public?
 

JCApsych

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They don't have meeting minutes, just a newsletter. With a list of all of the board members... hmmm....
 
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psyman

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What does the board say? Dont they write the test? Dont they have meeting minutes posted for the public?

They do, but they do not address the reason for the lowered pass rate. I've asked them to and they have not done so. They will only say the test is valid. I have more detailed info on this, but don't want to say it publicly.
 

psyman

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By what basis does the pass rate have to stay a certain percentage of EPPP pass rates? What is the justification for that benchmark?

I think you misread my point. I'm not saying that. Reread that post.
 

JCApsych

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By what basis does the pass rate have to stay a certain percentage of EPPP pass rates? What is the justification for that benchmark?

I guess my use of this benchmark is that the EPPP is considered to be the determinate nationally for competence to practice, so it seems like a good benchmark, no?
It is odd, if you look at pass rate percentages for the CPSE, they suddenly drop by an average of about 20% in 2014. What is the deal with that.
 

JCApsych

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I'd like to think most women who have done anything worth doing have been called hysterical at some point :)
 
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WisNeuro

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Well, the pass rates used to actually be ridiculously high, so I imagine they wanted to make a move in the right direction. Perhaps they over-corrected, perhaps they didn't. I'd be interested in seeing yoked scores. Even so, a state board can intentionally choose a different benchmark than other states, there is no law against that.

Hysterics and histrionics are two very different types of actions.
 

JCApsych

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Touche. Well, you've been helpful whether you meant to be or not.
 

psyman

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Well, the pass rates used to actually be ridiculously high, so I imagine they wanted to make a move in the right direction. Perhaps they over-corrected, perhaps they didn't. I'd be interested in seeing yoked scores. Even so, a state board can intentionally choose a different benchmark than other states, there is no law against that.

Hysterics and histrionics are two very different types of actions.


I understood the post. My point was that you are assuming the prior pass rate was valid for some reason, without justification.

Well, if the pass rate for the last decade was not valid, then that's a huge problem. This is where we are not lawyers. I'm saying if they allow the pass rate to at a constant for that long, that is a precedent they clearly accepted (whatever that pass rate was). There has to be a legal marker for precedent. They are also not saying they are trying to lower the pass rate. I have asked. Part of the problem is they are saying nothing other than "it's valid." If the pass rate was 60 for the last decade, I'm not complaining. OR, if they'd just say they are trying to lower the pass rate they aren't saying that though. In fct they are dropping this test in August. There is a definite aspect to this that doesn't feel "fair."
 
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psyman

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Neither of us are Michelin rated chefs, but I still cook dinner for myself.

Well, I'll go talk to an attorney about it and at the end say, "never mind. Wis says there's no case." Is that your advice? You're practicing outside of your area here. And since you've already established you post on here in your professional capacity, counting it as supervision and/or mentorship I would stay in your field of competence. You wouldn't want to be the case that sets the legal precedent for posting on forums outside your area of expertise.
 

WisNeuro

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I would hardly label this thread as practicing law. If it were, I imagine there are a few million people in this nation "practicing outside of their area." Let me know how that lawsuit goes though, I'm interested in the outcome. Truly.
 

erg923

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Wis says there's no case." Is that your advice? You're practicing outside of your area here.

There is no practice going on here, chill out.
 

PsyDr

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I believe it was Socrates who said, "I ain't passed the bar but I know a lil bit."
 
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WisNeuro

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"I'm saying if they allow the pass rate to at a constant for that long, that is a precedent they clearly accepted. (whatever that pass rate was). There has to be a legal marker for precedent."

Maybe not definitely said, but surely intimated in some degree.
 

psyman

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"I'm saying if they allow the pass rate to at a constant for that long, that is a precedent they clearly accepted. (whatever that pass rate was). There has to be a legal marker for precedent."

Maybe not definitely said, but surely intimated in some degree.

Oh my god, yes, I am questioning if that could be a legal precedent. You do not know the answer to that. I do not know either, but it is a rational thought.
 

psyman

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Perhaps, and the rebuttals were all rational thoughts to consider as well. And, I may not know, but I also may have a pretty good idea based on past history and personal experience.

Yes, all are rational thoughts and points to consider. Lawsuits are only won by people who attempt them. And losing a suit doesn't mean the agency won't make changes based upon the suit.

In any case, I do believe the situation described in this thread is unfair. Whether it merits a lawsuit is up for debate and for none of us to decide.
 

clip.clop

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Even if a court were to find in your favor, the role they'd play is to make you whole again with respect to the alleged wrong done to you and any direct consequences of that wrong. It seems quantifying this objectively would be incredibly difficult and you'd likely end up unsatisfied anyway.

Further, without even considering the CPSE's validity or anything else, legal action (especially solo) seems one of the poorest choices you could make for a wide variety of reasons already illustrated. Suppose you win a case anyway--what do you expect to win? Surely not a license magically placed in your lap. What you will definitely win is a reputation for yourself, and likely a bad one in many people's eyes (fair or not). Plus, given the multitude of options you have, you can't argue that you're backed into a corner by any means, much less that any rights have been violated. Granted, this seems like the type of case a lawyer would have a field day with, but that's about it--and you're the one footing the bill, not to mention there's the possibility of counter-claims.

The fact that you're so close to the cutoff score would actually seem to work against you, no? Surely you've demonstrated the ability to perform well on other metrics, and likely there's been instances where you've taken identical or similar tests more than once and improved your score--this alone would be a great way to support the argument of "study harder and take it again rather than trying to skirt the requirements." If nothing else, I can easily see the opposing party bringing up a sample of a few thousand people with scores and traits markedly similar to you that took the test many, many times, and eventually passed.

It just seems that, even while MANY people agree with you wholeheartedly, your time, money, emotion, energy, etc. are all better spent, irrespective of how correct you are. I suppose it's up to you to determine what exactly you're willing to gamble to be formally found "correct" and, therefore, how much your career goals actually mean to you, because my guess is that you're not going to be able to have both, unfortunately.
 

WisNeuro

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Parts of this question already have legal precedent. The CA's board licensing power has been challenged before for "restriction" of practice, this precedent has already been set establishing the states plenary rights in this matter.
 

psyman

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Even if a court were to find in your favor, the role they'd play is to make you whole again with respect to the alleged wrong done to you and any direct consequences of that wrong. It seems quantifying this objectively would be incredibly difficult and you'd likely end up unsatisfied anyway.

Further, without even considering the CPSE's validity or anything else, legal action (especially solo) seems one of the poorest choices you could make for a wide variety of reasons already illustrated. Suppose you win a case anyway--what do you expect to win? Surely not a license magically placed in your lap. What you will definitely win is a reputation for yourself, and likely a bad one in many people's eyes (fair or not). Plus, given the multitude of options you have, you can't argue that you're backed into a corner by any means, much less that any rights have been violated. Granted, this seems like the type of case a lawyer would have a field day with, but that's about it--and you're the one footing the bill, not to mention there's the possibility of counter-claims.

The fact that you're so close to the cutoff score would actually seem to work against you, no? Surely you've demonstrated the ability to perform well on other metrics, and likely there's been instances where you've taken identical or similar tests more than once and improved your score--this alone would be a great way to support the argument of "study harder and take it again rather than trying to skirt the requirements." If nothing else, I can easily see the opposing party bringing up a sample of a few thousand people with scores and traits markedly similar to you that took the test many, many times, and eventually passed.

It just seems that, even while MANY people agree with you wholeheartedly, your time, money, emotion, energy, etc. are all better spent, irrespective of how correct you are. I suppose it's up to you to determine what exactly you're willing to gamble to be formally found "correct" and, therefore, how much your career goals actually mean to you, because my guess is that you're not going to be able to have both, unfortunately.

And here is why I haven't sued. I'd love someone else to take the bullet!
 

smalltownpsych

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I have had run-ins with an unreasonable state board before. They use our license fees to pay for their attorney fees. They actually raised our license fees to be one of the highest in the nation and the justification was to pay for increased litigation. Good luck with fighting that. My non-legal non-psychologist advice, that is, coming from a purely personal level as to what I would probably do in the same situation: is to take the test again when you can and then get involved in state organizations and advocate for more reasonable practices.
 

PsychBiker

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After reading this thread I decided to edit the Semantics and Formal Fallacies Wikipedia pages to include this thread in its References section.

Good job guys, you've contributed to the Internets.
 

Existenz

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Winning the hypothetical lawsuit wouldn't make you exempt from having to take and pass the professional standards for licensure in CA. Did you take into account the similar difficulty and pass-rate for the CPLEE? What then, another lawsuit?
 
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