Setting appropriate competency benchmarks to support successful social work program assessment,
Sullivan, Dana J.
Hamilton, Tobi DeLong
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Mastering competence is a ‘cornerstone’ in the preparation of social work students for professional practice in the field. But who determines how competency is defined? And, ultimately, who gets to determine when a student achieves competence? These are important questions. This article relates the development and adoption of competency-based social work education to the reality programs face in documenting student achievement in an effort to satisfy competency-based accreditation standards set by the Council of Social Work Education for undergraduate and graduate social work programs in the United States but has relevance to similar processes in other countries, as well. A pragmatic road map for the development of competency benchmarks for the purpose of program assessment is offered here, using real-life examples from programs successful with accreditation and reaffirmation using standardized assessment instruments. Problems inherent in the development of these benchmarks, and with the current state of program assessment, are explored.
Scholarly research article / peer-reviewed
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