School of Social Work Assessment
As required by the Council on Social Work Education, the faculty have put in place multilevel curricular assessment models for evaluating student outcomes. Outcomes include students’ knowledge of content and ability to use appropriate practice skills. Data from these assessments are used to modify the curriculum and are used by faculty to determine the most appropriate and effective practice- and research-based knowledge and skills for inclusion in the curricula of the concentrations. Assessments are summarized after the Spring Semester each year.
More specifically, the assessment models use the following measures:
1. an assessment of a student's performance in classroom coursework,
2. a collaborative/cooperative assessment (involving evaluations by the field instructor, faculty liaison, and student) of the student performance in the field practicum setting,
3. pre and post surveys administered when students enter the program and during one
of the last courses they take to determine changes in students’ perceptions of their knowledge and skills related to CSWE competency areas, and
4. an exit survey to determine each graduate's opinion about the educational experiences in the program.
The measures allow us to assess curricular objectives of courses. These are, in turn, linked to the established goals and objectives of the program as well as to the mission, goals, and objectives of the SSW.
Assessment tools use to determine student success
Each of the 10 major competency areas, with their associated practice behaviors are measured in two or more courses at both the BSW and foundation MSW levels, and at the concentration MSW level. In each course offered by the UMSL School of Social Work, assignments contribute toward various competencies with scoring on those assignments completed using 5-point rubrics reflecting the following scale:
- Unacceptable: Performance is generally unacceptable; never meets competency
- Deficient: Rarely meets competency
- Developing: Inconsistently meets competency
- Accomplished: Consistently meets competency
- Exemplary: Consistently exhibits mastery of competency
Developing or above is the acceptable measure for BSW students while Accomplished or above is the acceptable measure for MSW students. Student perceptions of whether or not they have met the social work program goals are measured in an exit survey, as described in other sections.
A vast majority of the BSW students in the second practicum were judged by their practicum instructors to be functioning at the accomplished or exemplary level and all students met the program’s acceptable measure of developing.
In the MSW foundation practicum, 5800, 86% of the students met the school’s benchmark of accomplished or higher. All of the students in the Leadership and Management and Gerontology concentration were accomplished or higher and 80% of the students in the Family Practice concentration were accomplished or higher, except on the competency related to policy practice and the use of practice evaluations to determine the best interventions. Students scored higher on the second, class measures of these areas, and faculty are working with field instructors to determine how to increase students’ competency on them.
The following graph compares BSW students entering the program with those graduating on their evaluation of their abilities to perform the 16 components of the competencies. The graduating students (4851) rated themselves as being more competent in each area.
The following graph indicates how MSW students perceive their ability to perform on the 16 areas that define the competencies. Students entering the program rate themselves lower in all areas except communication. Students who have complete the foundation courses (5800) and those who are graduating (6400) rank themselves higher on their abilities. These surveys do not ask questions specific to the concentration courses which are taken after a student completes the foundation courses.