All Field Scholar

Admission of Master’s Degree Students with Criminal Backgrounds: Implications for Field Directors

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Abstract

This study was designed to explore Master of Social Work programs’ policies when admitting students with criminal backgrounds and the implications of this practice for field directors. The issue of students with criminal records is a challenging one for social work programs and the responsibility is often left solely to the field director. In this study, field directors participated in an online survey related to perceived challenges, gate-keeping practices, and policy development. Findings and recommendations are discussed.

Keywords: criminal background checks, field director, social work field education
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Assessing BSW Student Documentation Skills: An Exploratory Study

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Abstract

Using a modified version of an existing documentation review worksheet, researchers conducted an exploratory study that examined the quality of documentation among senior BSW social work majors in their last semester, in which they complete a 500-hour field practicum. Results showed that one percent of students documented a client strength and 45.9 percent of students did not sign the document. Additionally, 96 percent of the documents were legible, and 81 percent of students included service provision in their documentation. Recommendations for further research and suggestions for replication are included.

Keywords: documentation, BSW students, writing skills standards
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Vignette-Based Skills Assessment in Social Work Field Education: Evaluating Students’ Achievement of Professional Competency

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Abstract

This study describes the development and implementation of a Vignette-Based Skills Assessment (VBSA) tool to provide a holistic evaluation of social work student skill development and demonstration of competency in field education. Study participants consisted of 58 foundation-year students from the full-time and part-time cohorts. Students were administered the VBSA at the onset of the academic year in the beginning phase of their field practicum and at the end of the year in the late phase of the field practicum. Results demonstrated statistically significant increases in students’ mastery of seven of the nine social work competencies. Score were also compared to field instructor annual evaluation of student progress but showed inconsistent correlation. Vignette-based assessment methods have demonstrated merit to effectively measure student practice skill progression over time, augmenting field instructor ratings on student practice behaviors. Secondary benefits include early detection and intervention with students who are not meeting minimum standards of practice. Challenges and limitations of the study include the length of time involved in scoring VBSAs and the need for additional research to establish validity and inter-rater reliability of the tool. Implications and opportunities for VBSA use in field evaluation and social work program outcomes evaluation are discussed.

Keywords: field education, social work, competency, student assessment, evaluation

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