NATIONAL CATHOLIC SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SERVICE Baccalaureate Study in Social Work Goals and Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

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1 NATIONAL CATHOLIC SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SERVICE Baccalaureate Study in Social Work Goals and Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes In keeping with the social teachings and values of the Roman Catholic Church, the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS) embraces as its special responsibility the education of ethical social workers, who promote the dignity of all people as bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings and serve the Catholic community, their neighboring communities, and beyond. Baccalaureate-level study, designed for students who wish to make a difference by working to promote social justice and the elimination of poverty, discrimination and oppression, integrates a broad liberal arts perspective with social work education and field experience. Undergraduates matriculate in the School of Arts and Sciences or Metropolitan College; however, the program s curriculum and instruction are accredited through the National Catholic School of Social Service (NCSSS) by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). CSWE is the national organization responsible for the accreditation of schools of social work and baccalaureate social work programs; social work programs are required to demonstrate adherence to CSWE s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards for accreditation and reaccreditation. These standards influence program goals and objectives, curriculum content areas, and assessment. There are six steps in the reaccreditation process: 1) eligibility determination, 2) the self-study, 3) the initial Commission on Accreditation (COA) Review, 4) the site visit and report, 5) the program s response to the site visit report and Commissioner s review, and 6) the final COA decision. Bachelor of Arts in Social Work Program Description The purpose of the undergraduate social work program at NCSSS is to prepare students for entry-level generalist social work practice with systems of all sizes and to enhance well-being on individual, community, and societal levels. Students are expected to have a strong grounding in liberal arts and Catholic Social Teachings. Content on the values and ethics of the profession is central to the design of the curriculum, including a strong emphasis on social and economic justice. The social work program is designed to carry out the program s goals and objectives and to ensure the achievement of outcomes through the provision of sequential and integrated classroom and field education experiences. Each course builds upon and is linked with other courses and with the liberal arts base. Students at CUA can complete a major in social work through two pathways: a) earning a Bachelor of Arts (BA degree) through the School of Arts and Sciences; or b) earning a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (BAIS degree) through Metropolitan College. The Baccalaureate social work curriculum is organized as a clear, sequential whole that begins with a rich liberal arts education concurrent with SSS 101: Introduction to Social Work during freshman year, and culminates with SSS 490: Coordinating Seminar during senior year. The program is organized according to the six traditional social work content areas: Diversity (SSS 326); Human Behavior and the Social Environment (SSS 223 and SSS 225); Social Welfare Policy and Services (SSS 301 and SSS 302); Social Work Practice (SSS 352, SSS 453, and SSS 454); Research (SSS 340); and Field Education (SSS 465 and SSS 466). All content areas are

2 infused as applicable in other courses. In addition, special content on Values and Ethics and Populations-at-Risk and Social and Economic Justice is infused throughout the curriculum. In addition to courses in these content areas, students take Introduction to Social Work and the Coordinating Seminar as introductory and capstone courses. Social work majors at CUA are required to take fourteen courses in the major (13 required social work courses and one social work elective). Included in the curriculum are two field education placements. The first field experience is an observational field practicum in the spring of junior year for 48 hours, which is incorporated into the first practice course, SSS 352: Social Work Practice I. The second field experience is an experiential field placement in the fall and spring of senior year for 480 hours over the course of the year. Students typically spend two full, eight hour days in placement during the senior year. The NCSSS Office of Field Education coordinates the field placement process, which includes the student completing an application and interview with someone from the community agency for both placements. The undergraduate social work curriculum prepares majors for the following: (a) direct entry into social work practice (under supervision) in public welfare agencies, general and mental health hospitals, courts and probation departments, family and children services agencies, neighborhood and community action agencies, and other settings; (b) graduate social work education; and/or (c) leadership roles in community efforts in social welfare. Graduates with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work go on to work in numerous fields and settings and with a variety of populations from infants to the elderly. They are employed in schools, hospitals, prisons, residential treatment centers, child welfare, child development centers, community advocacy agencies, nursing homes, etc. In many localities, they are eligible for licensure as social workers. Senior majors may apply to graduate schools of social work as advanced standing applicants and, if accepted, have the opportunity to obtain their master s degrees (MSW) in one year. Goals for Student Learning The goals of the Baccalaureate social work program are as follows: 1. To integrate a broad liberal arts perspective with social work education and field education. 2. To prepare beginning level social workers for generalist social work practice in a variety of settings and with diverse client populations. 3. To develop competent social work practitioners who are steeped in respect for human diversity and in the values and ethics of the social work profession. 4. To provide content that prepares students to become critical consumers of social work research and active participants in research efforts applicable to generalist social work practice. 5. To provide content that enables students to recognize the dynamics of oppression and discrimination on all populations, with a special emphasis on populations-at-risk.

3 6. To prepare generalist practitioners to use theories of human behavior and theories of human growth and development in order to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 7. To challenge students to develop a deep commitment to the promotion of social and economic justice: the elimination of poverty, discrimination, and oppression in the context of the tradition of Catholic Social Teachings and the mission of The Catholic University of America. 8. To prepare social work practitioners to analyze current social policy; critique federal, state, and local agency social programs; and examine them in the context of American social welfare history and contemporary society. The objectives of the Baccalaureate social work program are the following: 1. To understand the history of professional social work, including past traditions and current issues. 2. To apply critical thinking skills to social work practice. 3. To know the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers and apply social work values and ethics to social work practice within all work environments. 4. To engage in respectful, knowledgeable, skillful, and nondiscriminatory practice with particular attention to people who may have been discriminated against on the basis of age, class, color, culture, disability, national origin, ethnicity, race, religion, family structure, marital status, sex, and sexual orientation. 5. To develop knowledge and skills necessary for generalist practice with systems of all sizes, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 6. To apply a theoretical approach supported by empirical evidence to the helping process including relationship building, assessment, planning, and intervention with client systems of all sizes, with special attention to populations-at-risk. 7. To develop the knowledge and skills necessary for professional practice with diverse religious and spiritual client populations. 8. To take personal responsibility for professional development through supervision and consultation. 9. To promote social and economic justice. 10. To prepare social work practitioners to critically analyze existing social policy, including global, federal, state, local, and agency polices and programs, in the context of American social welfare history and contemporary society.

4 11. To apply knowledge of bio-psycho-social-spiritual development and theoretical frameworks of human behavior to an understanding of individuals, families, groups, and organizations across the life span using a person-in-environment approach. 12. To participate in scientific inquiry through the development of research knowledge and skills to evaluate research studies, apply research findings to practice, and evaluate personal practice. 13. To function within the structure of organizations and service delivery systems and seek necessary organizational change. 14. To learn to use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and communities to affect change and to improve service delivery to agency clients. Student Assessment Outcome Measures The undergraduate social work program has a comprehensive assessment plan that includes specific procedures for evaluating the outcome of each program objective. It uses a mixedmethod approach for the purposes of triangulation of data, complementarity, initiation, development, and expansion (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). The inclusion of uniform and standardized evaluation measures increases confidence in the reliability and validity of assessment findings. The inclusion of qualitative data allows more flexibility and depth. As a mixed-method design, the qualitative data augments the information gleaned from the quantitative measures, promotes the generation of new perspectives, and builds upon the previous findings. Beyond ongoing monitoring and evaluation of student progress that is part of normal course instruction, this assessment plan specifies the measurement procedures and methods used to evaluate the outcome of each program objective. 1. Implemented during , the Field Student Self-Assessment and Field Educator Assessment forms are new additions to the continuous improvement process at NCSSS, designed to allow targeted evaluation of all program objectives from two different perspectives: students in the senior year and Field Educators. The Field Student Self-Assessment form asks students enrolled in senior field placements to evaluate themselves on each of the 14 Baccalaureate Program Objectives. Students were instructed to assess their own abilities at this point in their education using a 5-point response format (1 = unsatisfactory; 2 = less than adequate; 3 = adequate; 4 = more than adequate; and 5 = excellent). A corresponding rating scale, the Field Educator Assessment form, was distributed to Field Educators, who were asked to rate their field student s performance on each of the 14 program objectives. A rating of 3, or adequate, was set as the benchmark for all ratings by both students and Field Educators. It should be noted that respondents were informed that this information would be used to provide feedback about the program as a whole; not as evaluation of any individual student s performance. Therefore, both students and Field Educators were instructed to not place students or Field Educators names on the instrument.

5 All data were collected during the Spring 2007 semester. Assessment forms were administered to seniors in their Field Seminars. Students were given a copy of the Field Educator Assessment form to take to their Agency Field Educator, with a letter explaining the form, and a stamped, self-addressed return envelope. A follow-up from the Director of Field Education encouraged Agency Field Educators to complete and mail back their forms. This assessment process will be used in subsequent years to allow for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of program objectives. 2. All seniors are evaluated by their agency Field Educators at the end of the fall and spring semesters. This assessment is conducted using a comprehensive Student Field Evaluation form consisting of 47 items, which includes five different areas (Student Use of Self, Social Work Processes, Understanding of the Agency, Supervisory Process, and Professional Behavior), that assesses student performance at two points in time. Field students and Field Educators also have the opportunity to include additional items to address skills unique to the student in a sixth area (Professional Skills). The first five areas include a total of 16 items that are identified as threshold items or items that are considered as essential for successful completion of the field placement and eventual social work practice. These threshold items are essential for determining continuation in field from the fall to the spring semester during the senior year; failure to meet the benchmark on threshold items will result in a Review Committee meeting. This assessment mechanism provides targeted information concerning how students demonstrate attainment of program objectives in a field placement setting. As such, this evaluative process contributes greatly to the program s understanding of student competencies, especially as they relate to the real world of social work practice. All items are scored using a 10-point rating system (1-2 = Unsatisfactory, performance is well below expectations; 3-4 = Fair, performance is below expectations; 5-6 = Satisfactory, performance meets expectations; 7-8 = Very good, performance exceeds expectations; 9-10 = Outstanding, performance far exceeds expectations). Beyond quantitative ratings, Field Educators are also asked to provide narratives concerning areas of strength and areas of educational gaps or difficulties; particularly, specific feedback is required regarding any area receiving a score of less than 5. Different areas of the Student Field Evaluation form allow assessment of various aspects of 12 of the 14 Baccalaureate Program Objectives. 3. All social work majors must fulfill the CUA Senior Comprehensive Assessment requirement, which they accomplish through completion of a Senior Thesis in SSS 490: Coordinating Seminar. The thesis is completed during the spring semester of the senior year. This multi-faceted, cumulative assignment allows students to demonstrate their critical thinking skills, integration of learning across the liberal arts and social work curriculums, and ability to meet the requirements of a scholarly paper (e.g., extensive literature search; minimum of 12 cited sources; clear, well-organized writing; adherence to formal APA referencing style). The thesis includes the following sections: abstract, problem statement, assessment grounded in human behavior and the social environment, intervention, policy, diversity, research, values and ethics, knowledge building,

6 conclusion, and reference list. Each section of the thesis is scored in the Coordinating Seminar (SSS 490) as a milestone for evaluation. The Senior Thesis is graded in its entirety by the Baccalaureate Program Chair as Pass, Pass with Honors, or Fail. To receive a Pass with Honors, the thesis must receive a grade of 94 or above and a minimum of half of the thesis must have been submitted by the assigned deadline. In the event that the student fails, a second reader is assigned from among the faculty who teach in the undergraduate social work program. If the student fails on the first attempt, she or he has the opportunity to resubmit the Senior Thesis, with modifications, after a waiting period of 60 days. As an assessment mechanism, the Senior Thesis provides useful feedback regarding students conceptual and analytical abilities related to targeted program objectives. Student performance in the Coordinating Seminar (SSS 490) is also evaluated by the Program Chair. The course grade is based upon submission of a portfolio of articles and ten section drafts, completion of in class presentations on the problem under consideration, and participation and attendance in class. 4. All Baccalaureate students at NCSSS take the Area Concentration Achievement Test (ACAT) during the spring semester of their senior year. The ACAT was developed by the Program for Area Concentration Achievement Testing (PACAT) as an assessment tool for measuring student integration of the content components of particular disciplinary majors. As such, it provides useful information to educational programs concerning curricular strengths and weaknesses. NCSSS purchases the Social Work Curriculum C version of this instrument to give as a paper and pencil test to students enrolled in SSS 466: Undergraduate Concurrent Field Education II. Students are given 120 minutes to complete the instrument, which includes assessment of knowledge in four curriculum areas: human behavior and the social environment, social work practice, social welfare policy and services, and research methods. Thus, the ACAT allows additional assessment of 6 of the 14 Baccalaureate Program Objectives. The ACAT is scored by PACAT and results are sent to NCSSS. Using the standard score (500, SD =100), programs can compare their students performance to data from a 5-year national sample of other social work majors. NCSSS receives feedback concerning how each individual student performed and how School scores compare to the national norm. ACAT scores are not used in determining individual student grades for any courses, nor are they used as a graduation requirement. ACAT scores are used only for the purposes of assessment of student learning, program outcomes, and continuous program improvement planning. This assessment mechanism is most useful for gaining information regarding students overall comprehension and integration of targeted curricular areas and related program objectives. 5. To augment quantitative findings from the outcome measures described above, qualitative information from focus group interviews are also utilized for program

7 assessment purposes. Since the academic year, the Baccalaureate Program Chair has conducted focus group interviews with members of the senior class near the end of the spring semester. Students are asked to reflect upon their experiences as social work majors and to share specific areas of strength and identify areas that need improvement. They are also asked some specific, targeted questions depending upon issues that have surfaced during the course of the year or issues raised by the Baccalaureate Program Committee or the Dean. Data from these focus groups are shared with the Baccalaureate Program Committee during the last meeting of the year or the first meeting of the next academic year. Data are incorporated into ongoing program planning and continuous improvement efforts. Use of Results to Improve Student Learning The NCSSS faculty has set benchmarks for student outcome assessment as follows: 1. Members of the B.A. Program Committee assess major s achievement of outcomes on an ongoing basis as part of their regularly scheduled meetings. The Committee is comprised of all faculty teaching in the undergraduate program. This process allows for ongoing assessment and monitoring of student performance. 2. NCSSS faculty has sent a series of benchmarks for the capstone assessment of seniors. Assessment mechanisms for the Baccalaureate Program include 5 quantitative measures (Field Student Self-Assessment Form, Field Educator Assessment Form, Student Field Educator Form, Senior Thesis, and scores on the ACAT). All of these measures constitute either direct or indirect assessment of student performance in relation to the Baccalaureate Program Objectives. Two of these measures provide general information regarding the overall percentages of students who successfully met the targeted benchmark. Results show consistently high percentages of students achieving the targeted benchmarks in terms of field performance (Student Field Educator Form) and comprehensive understanding of curricular content (Senior Thesis). The remaining three measures have more variation and allow us to pinpoint areas of strength and areas needing improvement. It is possible to identify patterns of student performance across assessment tools: a) All senior social work majors take the Social Work ACAT in spring semester of the senior year. While this standardized exam does assess students on their individual achievements, it also gives the NCSSS faculty an overview of the performance of a cohort of their seniors in relation to the current comparison group NCSSS faculty have set the benchmark for this outcome measure as the cohort meeting or exceeding the mean score total reported by PACAT for the social work ACAT over the past 6 years (current mean is 55.96). NCSSS faculty compare the group mean with the national norm for each of the four curriculum content areas and for the total score to evaluate performance. b) All senior social work majors must complete a senior comprehensive thesis. The NCSSS faculty has set the benchmark for this outcome measure as 100% of senior majors passing this Senior Assessment.

8 c) The Senior Field Education Evaluation is a comprehensive, quantitative and qualitative evaluation of each student s performance in the field that takes place in spring of the senior year. NCSS faculty have set the benchmark for this outcome measure as 100% of students will receive a rating of 5 or above on threshold items on the field evaluation. d) Field Student Self-Assessment Form: In spring of senior year, majors respond to a survey to assess their own perceptions of their mastery of field education objectives. NCSSS faculty has set the benchmark for this outcome measure as 80% of students will self-rate as very good or above. e) Field Instructor Assessment Form: In spring of senior year, field educators complete the same assessment to record their perceptions of students mastery of field education objectives. The NCSSS faculty has set the benchmark for this outcome measure as faculty will rate 80% of seniors as very good or above. Students also have opportunities to participate in the evaluation of outcomes. 1. This includes course and instructor evaluations, which they complete online, and student evaluation of the field education experience. 2. Students also participate in their own organization, the Bachelor of Arts Student Services Organization, which provides them with a forum for providing feedback on the achievement of outcomes. The Program Chair regularly attends these meetings and uses them as a forum for communicating information on program goals and objectives as well as outcome data. Students are encouraged to offer input. The BA Committee uses data from all of these assessment mechanisms for continuous program improvement and as part of program renewal. Data from outcome measures is utilized to revise curriculum, inform the sequencing of curriculum, and to plan for the future. NCSSS has a formal, structured plan for the review of outcome data: outcome data from the previous academic year is presented at the first BA Program Committee meeting of the new academic year. Data from each measure is presented, and the committee has the opportunity to discuss the findings. This data is then used in setting the committee s agenda for the year. In addition, outcome data is presented to the full NCSSS Faculty Assembly at a Faculty Retreat held each fall. At this time, data is also presented from the graduate program. Additionally, outcome data is available for constituents to review on the NCSSS website.

9 Assessment of Baccalaureate Program Objectives: Outcome Measures BA Program Objectives 1. Understand the history of professional social work, including past traditions and current issues. Outcome Measures 2. Apply critical thinking skills to social work practice. 3. Know the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers and apply social work values and ethics to social work practice within all work environments. 4. Engage in respectful, knowledgeable, skillful, and nondiscriminatory practice with particular attention to people who may have been discriminated against on the basis of age, class, color, culture, disability, national origin, ethnicity, race, religion, family structure, marital status, sex, and sexual orientation. 5. Develop knowledge and skills necessary for generalist practice with systems of all sizes, including individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 6. Apply a theoretical approach supported by empirical evidence to the helping process including relationship building, assessment, planning, and intervention with client systems of all sizes, with special attention to populations-at-risk. 7. Develop the knowledge and skills necessary for professional practice with diverse religious and spiritual client populations. 8. Take personal responsibility for professional development through supervision and consultation. Area Concentration Achievement Test Area Concentration Achievement Test 9. Promote social and economic justice. 10. Prepare social work practitioners to critically analyze existing social policy, including global, federal, state, local, and agency polices and programs, in the context of American social welfare history and contemporary society. 11. Apply knowledge of bio-psycho-social-spiritual development and theoretical frameworks of human behavior to an understanding of individuals, families, groups, and organizations across the life span using a person-in-environment approach. Area Concentration Achievement Test Field Instructor Assessment Form Area Concentration Achievement Test 12. Participate in scientific inquiry through the development of research knowledge & skills to evaluate research studies, apply research findings Field Instructor Assessment Form to practice, and evaluate personal practice. Area Concentration Achievement Test 13. Function within the structure of organizations and service delivery

10 systems and seek necessary organizational change. 14. Learn to use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and communities to affect change and to improve service delivery to agency clients.

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