Standard 4

Assessment

The program provides candidates with the knowledge of current theories and methods of using assessment data to support data-based decision making for the purpose of understanding, evaluating and promoting positive pupil performance, program outcomes, and school climate. Candidates develop an understanding of the influence of multiple factors on pupil achievement. The program requires candidates to analyze assessment information in a manner that produces valid inferences when evaluating the needs of individual pupils and assessing the effectiveness of educational programs.

Introduction

Candidates for the PPS credential with specializations in school social work and child welfare and attendance demonstrate knowledge of current theories and methods for conducting assessment and utilizing assessment data for planning and evaluation. Candidates develop understanding of the influence of multiple factors on pupil achievement and use assessment data to positively influence pupil performance.    Demonstration that each content area has been satisfactorily learned and applied is evidenced by a passing grade in related courses, an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and a grade of "Credit" for the field practicum. The specific content areas are listed and discussed below with the corresponding social work courses which address the area.

Theories and methods of using assessment data to support data-based decision making

The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) introduce students to generalist social work practice featuring a problem solving approach and emphasizing a commitment to social justice and cross-cultural competency from an empowerment perspective. Students develop foundation knowledge of theories, principles and methods for gathering and utilizing assessment data. For example, see S Wrk 221 course content on Assessment models. Central to these courses is the teaching of both knowledge and skill to conduct multidimensional assessment utilizing an ecological systems framework.

Candidates demonstrate the ability to interpret and communicate assessment data to parents, school staff, and the community as part of the requirements of the PPS internship in the schools, S Wrk 282/283. All candidates are required to develop a learning agreement and PPS learning agreement addendum which outline the planned learning assignments for the internship. Among the requirements are the completion of multidimensional assessments (See PPS competency #6: demonstrates skills in conducting appropriatebiopsychosocial assessments), consultation and collaboration with school personnel, participation in multidisciplinary education teams, outreach and on-going work with parents and families to facilitate understanding of pupil progress and achievement. In carrying out these various assignments, candidates promote positive pupil performance and support program outcomes. They also develop skills under the supervision of an MSW, PPS field instructor to utilize assessment data to support data-based decision making.

The two macro oriented practice courses provide content that can be applied to the assessment of school climate. S Wrk 246, Social Work Practice with Formal Organizations, includes information on organizational environments, personnel and staffing, and communication within organizations. S Wrk 247, Social Work Practice with Communities, addresses the assessment of community needs, social planning and strategies for intervention. This practice content, in combination with specific content on school climate presented in S Wrk 274, Advanced Social Work Practice in Schools I, prepares candidates to assess school climate and intervene to improve the learning environment. For example, see course content on School Climate. Candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate application of acquired knowledge and skills in assessment of school climate through the field placement in schools, S Wrk 282/283.

Understands the influence of multiple factors on pupil achievement

In conducting appropriate multidimensional assessments, PPS candidates demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the influence of non-cognitive factors on assessment outcomes. The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221), provide the theoretical and practice foundation for conducting multi-dimensional assessments from an ecological systems framework. This framework necessitates examination of factors such as language, ethnicity, poor nutrition, physical and emotional abuse, poverty and other social variables. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) provides more detailed practice methodologies for conducting multidimensional assessment. See course content from S Wrk 224 on Defining Assessment and Diagnosis.

Class assignments include case presentations and written papers demonstrating thorough assessment of various systems level factors impacting functioning. Assessment of pupils in the school setting occurs as part of Advanced Field Instructed Practice, S Wrk 282/283. Such multi-dimensional assessment includes evaluation of factors such as poverty, abuse, medical disorders, pharmacological interventions, and socio- economic status.

Human Behavior in the Social Environment: A Multi Systems Approach (S Wrk 212) provides foundation knowledge of the effects of emotional, intellectual, physical and social characteristics on functioning within major life activities such as learning performance for school-age clients. Human Behavior in the Social Environment: Cultural Diversity and Oppression (S Wrk 213) explores diversity issues arising from ethnic social identity, language and cultural differences that may affect assessment and learning performance of pupils. Both the Foundations for Social Work Practice (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) and the Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) courses address the understanding and assessment of a wide range of characteristics that influence functioning, including learning performance in school. Field Instructed Practice, (S Wrk 280/281 and 282/283), provides candidates with the opportunity to apply knowledge and skill in identifying emotional, intellectual, physical and social characteristics and their effects on assessment and the learning performance of diverse pupils. Such opportunities occur in individual and family assessment as well as in consultation with teachers and participation in educational team process such as Student Study Teams and IEP meetings. The School Social Work/CWA courses, S Wrk 274 and S Wrk 275, provide specific content assessment (see S Wrk 274, Week2) as well as factors that affect learning performance such as gender, native language, learning disability, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Analyzes assessment information for planning and evaluation

The Seminar in Foundations for Social Work Practice I and II (S Wrk 220 and S Wrk 221) introduce students to generalist social work practice featuring a problem solving approach and emphasizing a commitment to social justice and cross-cultural competency from an empowerment perspective. Students develop foundation knowledge of theories, processes and principles which serve as a basis for sound social work practice. Central to these courses is the teaching of both knowledge and skill to conduct multi-dimensional assessment utilizing an ecological systems framework. For example, see course content from S Wrk 221 beginning with week 5.

Understanding the significance of cross-cultural sensitivity with a concomitant awareness of the need to adapt assessment methods to the specific backgrounds of pupils is emphasized. The Seminar in Advanced Social Work Practice with Individuals (S Wrk 224) builds upon this foundation. Students gain more in- depth knowledge and skill for multidimensional assessment of the individual pupil within his/her social context which reflects individual developmental growth and the impinging environmental factors. Students are also introduced to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV, TR as a professional frame of reference for diagnosis. The School Social Work/CWA courses, SWrk 274 and SWrk 275, also have specific content on assessment in the school setting. For example, see S Wrk 275 content on Assessment. Legal and ethical guidelines for the use of tests and other types of assessment are provided in the classroom as well as the concurrent field placement, S Wrk 280/281 and S Wrk 282/283. Both years of internship provide the practice content for PPS candidates to apply their knowledge and skills in assessment theory and methods. All PPS candidates are required to complete multidimensional assessments of pupils. This assessment information is used to evaluate the needs of individual pupils and to plan effective interventions to maximize personal, social and educational success.

All of the practice courses in the MSW and PPS program have content on evaluation of practice. Candidates are oriented to their professional responsibility to evaluate the effectiveness of practice to ensure results-based accountability. The practice classes and concurrent internships have specific assignments to demonstrate knowledge and application of evaluative skills. The foundation research courses, S Wrk 260 and S Wrk 261, present specific content on the application of technology for data collection and analysis for the purposes of both daily practice evaluation as well as more formal research. For example, see course content on evaluation from S Wrk 260 beginning with WEEK 6.

This content is applied throughout the program in evaluation of practice as well as in the completion of the culminating experience of a Master’s project or thesis, S Wrk 298 or 299. PPS candidates apply this knowledge and skill base to their work with pupils, families and staff as well as to the evaluation of program effectiveness.

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