Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Outcome Assessment Measures

Purpose of Outcome Assessment Measures: Faculty members in the CMHC Master’s Degree Program are highly dedicated to preparing tomorrow’s clinical mental health counselors in the best way possible. Faculty members are also committed to receiving feedback regarding the quality of their teaching. Correspondingly, a variety of student learning outcome measures and faculty evaluation tools are utilized. Results of these assessment tools are used for the purpose of constantly improving the quality of the CMHC Master’s Degree Program. The following sections provide an overview of several of these outcome assessment measures.

Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) Information: All CMHC students are required to complete the CPCE for graduation eligibility. As stated on the Center for Credentialing and Education Web site, the CPCE is utilized by over 280 universities and colleges, including SOSU. The CPCE is designed to assess counseling students’ knowledge of counseling information viewed as important by counselor preparation programs. Additionally, the CPCE:

  • Allows master’s program comprehensive examinations to better meet psychometric standards.
  • Gives programs an objective view of the knowledge level of their students.
  • Allows programs to examine student functioning in various curricular areas.
  • Promotes longitudinal self-study.
  • Compares a program’s results to national data.
  • Stimulates student integration of knowledge learned in separate courses.
  • Gives students comparative strength/weakness feedback.

This examination must be taken during the student’s final semester of graduate studies. The CPCE is administered at no charge to the student during the fall and spring semester (typically October and March) of their final semester of graduate studies in an attempt to assess the quality of the student’s graduate education. Please note that students who are scheduled to graduate during the summer session must complete the CPCE during the preceding spring semester, since it is not administered during the summer semester, to avoid any graduation delays.

Although the CPCE is a requirement for graduation, it is not a pass/fail examination. Nonetheless, students are strongly encouraged to do their best on the CPCE so that Counselor Education faculty members can determine both strengths and weaknesses of the CMHC training program and make continual program amendments. In addition, students receive their individual results on the examination, including subscales. This may assist students in determining what areas of their graduate studies to focus upon as they study and prepare for the National Counselor Examination (NCE) for LPC licensure.

National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE): CMHC graduate students are eligible to participate in the Graduate Student Application for the National Counselor Certification (GSA-NCC) credential offered through the National Board for Certified Counselors. SE is the only university in Oklahoma that has been approved to participate in the GSA-NCC program (Please note that school counseling students, and students from any other university, are not eligible to participate in this program). As such, CMHC students who choose participate in the GSA-NCC program must apply and complete the NCE on the SE Durant Campus during their final semester of graduate studies or within six months of graduating with the M.A. Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Participation in this advanced certification and examination program is voluntary and students must pay for the application/examination on their own.

Results on the NCE for students participating in the GSA-NCC program are provided to individual students only. However, aggregate scores of participating students on the overall examination and on the eight content areas evaluated therein are provided to the CMHC Program Coordinator for informational purposes only. This further assists the CMHC Program in evaluating the quality of the training provided to students and helps identify areas of strength and weakness in the master’s degree training curriculum.

Student Performance Data Regarding National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Advanced Certificate Portfolio Artifacts Directly Correlated with the CMHC Program Training Objectives: Throughout the course of graduate studiesin the CMHC Program, students complete a total of eight didactic courses which directly correspond with the program training objectives of the program. Each of these eight courses has a project (referred to by NCATE as an “artifact”) that has been developed in conjunction with NCATE requirements to verify student learning with regard to the didactic content outlined on the syllabus for each course. The CMHC Program Training Objectives and their  corresponding graduate courses (each of which has an NCATE artifact required) are outlined in Table 1 as follows:

   Table 1
   SE Courses Directly Correlated with  the CMHC Program Training Objectives


Learning Objective

CMHC Course


CMHC Professional Orientation and Ethical Practice COUN 5133: Clinical Mental Health Counseling Orientation and Ethical Practice


Social and Cultural Diversity COUN 5483: Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling


Human Growth and Development COUN 5243: Human Growth and Development in Counseling


Career Development COUN 5323: Career Counseling and Development


Helping Relationships COUN 5443: Theories of Counseling


Group Work COUN 5523: Group Counseling


Assessment COUN 5283: Assessment in Counseling


Research and Program Evaluation COUN 5863: Research in Counseling

The assessment method employed regarding the eight NCATE artifacts utilizes a three-level rating scale system. Specifically, student levels of proficiency on each of the eight aforementioned artifacts are rated on a nominal scale as follows: (a) an outcome score of three (3) represents a proficiency rating in the “target” range (above average performance for a graduate-level student); (b) an outcome score of two represented a proficiency rating in the “acceptable” range (average performance for a graduate-level student); and (c) an outcome score of one represented a proficiency rating in the “unacceptable” range (below average for a graduate-level student). Aggregate data regarding student performances on these evidentiary artifacts are analyzed annually to determine student learning in each of the core areas identified in Table 1.

Faculty Evaluations: Near the end of each course in the CMHC program of study, students have the opportunity to complete an anonymous faculty evaluation survey (results are presented as summary data with qualitative comments typed to prevent handwriting identification). The purpose of these surveys is to provide feedback to the instructor of each course with regard to the overall student learning experience in the course. Students are encouraged to provide honest and thorough feedback when completing these evaluations. Information from the evaluation forms are utilized by faculty members to improve their courses and teaching styles.

Post-Graduate SurveysFollowing graduation, students will be requested to complete surveys designed to evaluate their experiences in the CMHC Master’s Degree Program. Supervisors and employers of CMHC graduates will also be surveyed with regard to the quality of CMHC Master’s Degree Program as demonstrated by the work of CMHC supervisees and/or employees. Graduates, supervisors, and employers are strongly encouraged to complete and return these surveys in a timely fashion to facilitate this important feedback process. Similar to the other CMHC program outcome evaluation methods, the purpose of these surveys is to provide feedback to the CMHC Program (identifying strengths and weaknesses) to find new and innovative ways to consistently improve the quality of education provided to CMHC students.

Program Outcome Assessment Reports: Each Fall, CMHC program faculty members prepare a summary document regarding the above outcome assessment measures. This annual document is referred to as the Program Outcome Assessment Report (POAR). It serves to summarize and analyze data collected during the preceding academic year.