The School of Social Work’s assessment procedure is scheduled for every other academic year and begins with the collection of course assignment information from the online and campus faculty who develop and teach the generalist practice curriculum and the specialized practice curriculum, Clinical Practice and Organization and Community Practice. The required generalist practice courses in both the online and campus program options are: (1) SSW 501 Human Behavior & the Social Environment I, (2) SSW 502 Human Behavior & the Social Environment II, (3) SSW 503 Social Work Research I, (4) SSW 504 Social Work Research II, (5) SSW 505 Social Welfare Policy and Programs I, (6) SSW 506 Social Welfare Policy and Programs II, (7) SSW 510 Social Work Practice I (8) SSW 511 Social Work Practice II, (9) SSW 520 Field Practicum I/Seminar, and (10) SSW 522 - Field Practicum II/Seminar.
The required Clinical Practice courses in both the online and campus program options are: (1) SSW 552 Contemporary Theories of Social Work Practice: Individuals and Families, (2) SSW 553 Advanced Social Work Practice with Families, (3) SSW 597 Advanced Psychosocial Assessment, (4) SSW 580 Field Practicum III/Seminar, and (6) SSW 582 Field Practicum IV/Seminar.
The required Community Practice courses are: (1) SSW 564 Program Development and Community Practice, (2) SSW 565 Administration and Supervision, (3) SSW 580 Field Practicum III/Seminar, and (4) SSW 582 Field Practicum IV/Seminar.
The assessment procedures consisted of first collecting the following information from all of the online and campus faculty who teach the courses listed above:
- Assignments and activities in their course(s)
- Competency(ies) that each assignment/activity covers
- Dimensions addressed by each assignment/activity
- Student performance on each assignment/activity during the 2015 –2016 academic year.
- Faculty responsible for teaching the courses assessed student performance on assignments/activities, and thus their attainment of the corresponding.
Once this information was collected for all the required courses, two course assignments/activities were selected for each of the nine social work competencies, as measures of each competency. In selecting course assignments/activities for each competency, the School sought to ensure that all four of each competency’s dimensions (Knowledge, Skills, Values, and Cognitive/Affective Processes) were addressed by the two selected assignments/activities, when considered together. This process occurred three times, for generalist practice and for each area of specialized practice, Clinical Practice and Organization and Community Practice.
Once two course assignments/activities (measures) per competency were identified, the School collected data on student performance for each measure, from both the online and campus program. All faculty provided their assessment tools and performance data for each selected assignment/activity. With this, the School determined how well students performed on each measure, and thus for each competency, in both the online and campus program, and for each area of practice.
Two measures (course assignments/activities) were chosen to assess each of the nine social work competencies, for all three areas of practice, generalist, Clinical, and Organization and Community. One of the measures chosen per competency was based on demonstration of the competency in real or simulated practice situations, and came from the evaluations of students’ performance in the Field Practicum/Seminar courses. The second measure chosen for each competency was a course-embedded measure, a course assignment or activity that was identified by faculty as being a strong measure of the competency. When considered together, both measures address all four dimensions of the associated competencies.
When choosing the two measures for each competency, the School ensured that all four dimensions of the competency were being addressed by the measures (when considered together). In this way, the School’s assessment plan measures all four dimensions of each competency.
The School’s faculty determined that the benchmark for each competency would be 85%, meaning that 85% of students must attain both of the associated competency measures' benchmarks. This 85% competency benchmark was chosen because it is important to the School that the large majority of the students meet each competency benchmark, and if the percentage of students attaining a competency falls below 85%, it is a clear indication to the School that too few students are attaining the competency and steps need to be taken to address the issue. Additionally, the School reviewed the competency benchmarks of other social work programs and found significant agreement on the appropriateness of assigning an 85% benchmark. As such, it provides alignment between the UNE School of Social Work benchmarks and those used by other social work programs.
The method for determining whether students’ performance meets the competency benchmark involves the assessment of student performance on the two competency measures, which is conducted by the faculty responsible for administering those measures (which are course assignments or activities). Faculty use assessment tools, such as rubrics and grading explanations, to assess student performance on the measures, and attribute grades to their performance. Using this student performance data provided by the faculty, it is then determined what percentage of students attained the benchmark (the necessary grade) set for each measure. Students’ attainment of the measures’ benchmarks informs whether they’ve attained the overall competency, as described in the preceding section.
Benchmark Student Achievement Calculations
The method for determining the percentage of students attaining each competency’s benchmark involves calculating the percentage of students that attained the benchmarks for each of the competency’s measures. Then the student data for both measures is united and the overall percentage of students who attained both measures’ benchmarks is calculated. If this percentage is 85% or above, the competency benchmark has been met.
The following Matrices summarize the School’s most recent assessment findings for the academic year 2015-2016, for each program option (online and campus) and for both program options combined.