The Conceptualization and Assessment of Professional Dispositions in Rehabilitation Counselor Education

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Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education


Newly adopted accreditation standards within rehabilitation counselor education require the assessment of knowledge, skills, and a set of characteristics known as professional dispositions (PDs). PDs may be regarded as individual characteristics like values, beliefs, attitudes, or interpersonal ways of being that influence professional behavior. Yet, this remains an abstract construct that eludes simple definition and measurement. The purpose of this article is to review existing literature related to PDs in order to assist rehabilitation counselor educators in understanding (a) the conceptualization and identification of PDs, (b) the assessment of PDs within a program evaluation process, and (c) contextual dynamics that may influence the assessment of PDs. To this end, the article explores existing PD definitions; common factors related to counseling outcomes; and the guiding philosophies, codes, and values for the field of rehabilitation counseling. Additionally, the role of PDs are discussed in relation to accreditation standards, the development of standardized instruments, student assessment, and program evaluation. Finally, the assessment of PDs are considered in relation to multicultural dynamics, students with disabilities, and distance education.