College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

Assessment Plan

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Our accrediting body requires that we assess 10 SLOs and many practice behaviors using two different measures for each. We currently measure all with an evaluation completed by all students and field instructors in the student’s field placement. The field measure is completed by students and field instructors at the end of each semester. First year MSW students complete a minimum of 480 hours of internship per year, and second year MSW students complete a minimum of 720 hours per year.  This gives both the students and the field instructors a good deal of time to develop an accurate assessment of students’ knowledge, attitudes and skills.  

We assess the percentage of students who met our benchmarks for each measure. We use the following 5 point scale:  

1 - Unacceptable:  Student shows little evidence of understanding the concept and/or demonstration of skill development.

2 - Beginning Skill Development:  Student shows some understanding of the concept and is beginning to recognize in hindsight how it might have been applied in practice situations.

3 - Progressing in Demonstration:  Student understands the concept and demonstrates the skill but performance is inconsistent.  Needs time and practice to be more consistent.

4 - Consistent Demonstration of High Level of Skill Development:  Understands the concept and demonstrates the skill with consistency.

5 - Exceptional Demonstration of Skill Development.  The skill is an integrated part of the student’s stance and  style.  Student exhibits independence, creativity and flexibility in use of the skills.   

We set the benchmark for the foundation or first year of the program at 70% of students achieving at least a “3.” We do this because students are only half way through the program and still developing skills, knowledge and values. The benchmark for the Concentration or second year of the program is 70% of students achieving at least a “4.”

We also use embedded assignments in a number of classes and measures embedded in the Comprehensive Exam taken by graduating students. We measured all SLOs and practice behaviors using either these assignments or the Comprehensive Exam.

As an additional component of our assessment process, we conduct focus groups with MSW students who will soon be graduating. We ask students about their general satisfaction with the program and about specific things that affected their learning. We also use the focus group to gather information about areas where scores are lower on our other measures. This helps us to determine whether the problem is about our curriculum, instructors, field instruction or something else.

Once a year we review the outcome data as a faculty and discuss needed program changes and areas where more information would help us better understand the data. We then implement changes and gather additional data.