Assessment of Counseling skills using web-based cases Educational Challenge, Aim and Theoretical Framework The European Council has underlined the importance of access to higher education regardless of gender, age, ethnic background/heritage or disability (CEDEFOP 2002; Governmental report 2001). This requires a more flexible university system with alternative forms of educational practice and assessment. Theories which have been influential in schools and teacher education over recent decades include cognitive science and socio-cultural learning. (Schwandt, 1994; Marton,1977; Säljö, 2005). The general assumption of how learning takes place, for these theories, is that knowledge is constructed differently in different cultural settings, and that the development and constitution of knowledge is active, individual and involves a social process (Moll, 1990; Vygotsky, 1978). These perspectives have also influenced the organization of education/teaching processes. (Säljö 2005, Kvale, 2003). Such current educational discourses plus the wish to widen access to higher education have placed increasing demands on universities to adapt and transform their teaching, learning and assessment processes.AimThe task of the project entitled Case-Based Assessment in Medicine and Teacher Education was to develop new assessment methods in line with modern pedagogical principles. It involved collaboration between three universities in Europe and USA; the Teacher Education faculty in Umeå University, Sweden, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and Stanford University in USA. The project aimed to address the following two questions:- Is it possible to adapt Web-SP for examination purposes, including solving issues of security and integrity? - Is Web-SP flexible enough to be used as an assessment tool in teacher education? The part of the project reported in this presentation was developed for the Counseling program in Teacher Education at Umeå. The education (or training) of professional counselors currently involves both product and process-related assessment (Roos 2005; Uden 2006). However, there are a number of problems associated with the current assessment procedures. It is in this context that the it was decided to design a new form of assessment which utilised Web-SP.Educational Challenge The starting point of the project therefore involved the creation of an assessment tool using Web-SP, a self-instructional program designed for students. The content of the program contained sections which examine the basic skills needed to carry out guidance conversations; that is, "to ask open questions, actively listen, correctly summarize and develop wider perspectives" (Bujold,2004, Egan, 2002; Brown, 2002; Jacobs, Masson, Harwill, 1998; Hägg&Kuoppa, 1997; Cochran, 1997). During the first part of the program the student "counselor", supported by the program, is expected to collect information on his/her client. Later in the program, the student is required to use the information gained earlier to progress through the program and conclude by summarizing the main factors learned and emotions drawn on, from different perspectives e.g. the client and counselor.Method The evaluation of the program involved a mix of data-collection methods (Patton, 2002; Stake, 2006; Greene, 1994) aimed at strengthening the trustworthiness and the credibility of the information gathered.(Alvesson & Sköldberg, 1994). Anonymity and security for the program was also secured. The evaluation of the program had two phases. In the first, four teachers in the counseling program piloted and evaluated the Web-SP- program. In the second phase five students in the counseling-program piloted and evaluated the program. All participants were filmed during the process, interviewed afterwards and also asked to record their experiences of the program.The four teachers were overwhelmingly positive regarding the focus and the potential of the program. They also thought that it provided a positive learning experience. All appeared to understand and manage the program and on the whole, reported that the students had needed to use different learning strategies and develop different skills in the program.The responses of the five students indicate a mixture of being positive about the program but also having clear proposals for improvement. The students stated that the program is easy to follow, e.g. "I think that this seems really good", "being a dyslexic, very positive for me to see and hear the client." No negative statements were forthcoming. 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