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News Articles

A Data Driven Approach Psychology Internship Selection: What happened to concepts of reliability and validity

Published on Friday, June 25, 2021

We have scheduled the conference programming in our monthly webinar schedule on Thursday, September 16th at 1P PST/3P CST/4P EST – We invite you to join Drs. Siegel et al. who will present: A Data Driven Approach Psychology Internship Selection: What happened to concepts of reliability and validity?

You may access the Conference Webinar Series and other APPIC events on our calendar webpage. Slides for this webinar can be downloaded at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, September 16th beginning at 1P PST/3P CST/4P EST.

A Data Driven Approach Psychology Internship Selection: What happened to concepts of reliability and validity?

Presented by:

Wayne Siegel, Ph.D., ABPP, VA Medical Center, Minneapolis MN

Chris Erbes, Ph.D., ABPP, VA Medical Center, Minneapolis MN

Amanda Ferrier-Auerbach, Ph.D., ABPP, VA Medical Center, Minneapolis MN


Participants must register for CE’s 48 hours in advance no later than Wednesday, September 14, 2021 using this link. CE Credit is only provided to those that attend the live presentation.  A unique link is sent to attendees at registration to be used to log in on the day of the presentation.  You may access the Conference Webinar Series and other APPIC events on our calendar webpage.  For more details about the program, please see below. 

Historically, the psychology internship selection has not been a very data-driven process. The internship selection process is also an exceptionally time-consuming endeavor (Lopez Oehlert, and Moberly 1996). Training directors and program supervisors typically invest numerous hours in the file review, interview and ranking processes. Compounding these challenges, the AAPI (APPIC Application for Psychology Internship) variables used in this process have low reliability and limited evidence supporting their validity. Despite APPIC’s efforts to operationalize these variables, there is great variability among doctoral programs in how these numbers are defined and accrued, and some doctoral programs provide significant oversight to their students’ AAPIs while others do not (Rodolfa, Vieille, Russell, Nijjer, Nguyen, Mendoza, and Perrin, L, 1999; Ross, Davis, and Michael, 2010). In 1999, APPIC developed the AAPI (APPIC Application for Psychology Internship), a standardized application used by all member internship programs. The AAPI evolved to an online version in 2006 and applicant data could be downloaded and potentially used by internship programs. Decisions on which variables to include were made mostly by consensus of APPIC member programs and the APPIC Board, rather that which variables actually predicted success on internship. It should be acknowledged that APPIC’s focus at the time was to get buy-in from internship programs in order to move forward with a standard application. Regardless, data derived from the AAPI allows for some potential solutions to the problems noted in the previous paragraph. The Minneapolis VA Psychology Training Program has been implementing a systematic internship selection procedure that is designed to maximize the use of available AAPI data while minimizing the bias inherent in our prior more subjective selection processes. Objective weightings in a number of categories are derived from the APPI using set scoring rules, and then merged into composite ratings based on program defined domain weightings. Current domains include Assessment, Intervention, Diversity, Match, and Scholarly Potential. An additional Neuropsychology domain is added for our Neuropsychology Track. The proposed oral presentation will provide a brief historical context of psychology internship selection, how our data-informed (early years) and data-driven (recent years) processes have evolved, the struggles along the way, and the advantages and disadvantages of these approaches. We will review our current systematic process and compare it to prior processes in terms of efficiency (staff time), and perceptions of validity and utility.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the history of internship selection and how that impacts how selection is done today. 
  2. Discuss the psychometric limitations of many of the current AAPI variables. 
  3. Explain the challenges of how subjective judgment impacts the file review and interview process. 
  4. Discuss the benefits of a more data driven approach to selection and how this could be implemented in your setting.


  • Lopez, S., Oehlert, M., & Moberly, R. (1996) Selection Criteria for American Psychological Association- Accredited Internship Programs: A Survey of Training Directors. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, Vol. 27, No. 5, 518-52
  • Rodolfa, E., Vieille, R., Russell, P., Nijjer, S., Nguyen, D., Mendoza, M, and Perrin, L (1999). Internship Selection: Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. Vol.30, No. 4, 415-419
  • Ross, W., Davis, S., and Michael, P. (2010) An Examination of Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria in the Predoctoral Internship Selection Process. Training and Education in Professional Psychology. Vol. 4, No. 4, 213–218 



Documents to download