Now that you have chosen which stream to use in your workplace, you can start "customising" item examples.

Items and examples revisited …

Before discussing "customising" item examples, let's quickly review key points about items and their examples…

  • Each item bank is made up of items, which identify the knowledge, behaviours and skills required to pass the associated learning objective. As you can see in the example above, items are written in bold.

    As in the example provided here, some items are considered "core" i.e. foundational to the practice of occupational therapy. Students are required to pass every core item.

  • Additional information is provided immediately after the item in the form of examples. These examples not only provide clarification about what each item captures, they may also help you remember what your student has done and/or provide prompts regarding new experiences to plan for. The examples also provide students with significant cues about what is required.

I have noticed that some behaviours appear in a number of items. Why is that?

Occasionally you may notice that examples contain behaviours that have been included in previous items e.g. maintains confidentiality. This has been done intentionally, primarily to act as a prompt to students regarding the range of contexts where this is applicable. It again may also help you to remember specific occasions when you have had the opportunity to observe the behaviour.

The “How To” of Customising Item Examples

What is meant by "customising" item examples, and how do I do it?

The SPEF-R© has been designed so that it works across the broad range of practice placements students now encounter. As a practice educator, you are encouraged to further enhance the "fit" of the evaluation to your workplace. This is done by customising item examples, that is, providing information in relation to each item to reflect what it means in your workplace. You can customise item examples in two ways:

1. By recording your own workplace specific examples after the examples provided. Do this for each item.

2. By indicating if any of the examples provided are not applicable to your workplace. Simply draw a line through any examples that don't apply.

It is strongly recommended that before your student arrives you work through each of the item banks you will be using and customise the item examples as described above. If you work with other Occupational Therapists it may be helpful to brainstorm this process together. Consider starting with the item bank you think will be the easiest, and work from there.

It will be important during orientation to provide your student with a copy of the evaluation, with your customised items added so she is clear about what to expect and what will be required. It will also be an invaluable tool to use throughout the placement to support clear communication and to assist with planning.

What do I do if an item itself is not going to be relevant to the student during the practice placement?

As you work through the evaluation you may decide that the occasional item is not applicable to your workplace. Alternatively it may cover something that you do, but the behaviour/skill won't be required of your student. Be sure to indicate this by ticking the appropriate N/A box on the evaluation form. It will be important to pass this information on to your student during orientation.

Won't customising items take a lot of time?

While working through this process will take time it generally only needs to be done once. The same examples will be relevant to future students who come to your workplace. From time to time you may want to update your examples in response to student feedback or as new ideas come.

View a vignette of a practice educator customising item examples for her workplace.

Watch the first scene of vignette 1.
[Running time: approx 1 min (scene)]