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2013-2014 Program Assessment Summary

2013-2014 Annual Assessment Report

Arkansas State University

Department of Social Work


                This assessment covers the following semesters: Summer 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring 2014.  The explicit curriculum was measured using the Foundation Curriculum Survey, Professional Identification Rubric, the MSW Graduating Students Exit Survey, and the Evaluation of Student Performance in Field Instruments. Measurement of the explicit curriculum is used to evaluate student achievement on all practice behaviors. The scores of the practice behaviors are then aggregated to determine the number of students achieving proficiency on the ten social work competencies specified by the Council on Social Work Accreditation (CSWE) 2008 Educational Policy and Accreditation standards. The results of the explicit curriculum assessment are summarized on Form AS4 (M), as required by CSWE.

            The implicit curriculum was measured using course evaluations, benchmark/signature assignments, field evaluation, alumni survey, focus groups, and licensure pass rates.  This assessment reflects that the social work department overall is doing a good job in preparing students for a career in social work.  Both the explicit and implicit curriculum assessment results suggest that students have an understanding of the foundation and advanced practice behaviors, and that they are uniformly demonstrating aptitude for the vast majority of the competencies set forth by the Council for Social Work Education.  There are, however, areas that can be strengthened.  Specifically, students express a desire to better understand theory.  This has been identified by students in the past and remains an area of concern.  Also, the research component of the BSW curriculum warrants exploration to help in understanding why those students may feel they are struggling in that part of their education.  The following recommendations are determined from the findings presented in this Annual Report.

1)            The faculty should review the way in which we introduce students to theory and distinguish between theories, conceptual models and clinical approaches. We should work to enhance and strengthen the linkage between theory and evidence-based clinical interventions and provide more opportunities for experiential learning and application of content to practice.

2)            The Chair will meet with the Sociology department to review the results regarding competency 2.1.6 since that department offers the research course required in the BSW curriculum to develop ways to connect this material to social work students. The department will also explore developing BSW social work research courses to be taught by social work faculty.

3)            The department is exploring strategies to assist students with writing. We are working with the English department to offer a practical writing class that has been designed and scheduled for social work students. The course focuses on APA style and professional writing skills.

4)            Faculty will review and enhance the diversity content in the curriculum and assure that such content is well integrated and inclusive of a wide range of groups.

5)            Faculty and the curriculum committee will review specific course-level assignments that did not meet benchmarks during the assessment period of 2013-2014.

6)            Further research will be done and a comprehensive, strategic plan developed to improve pass rates on the LMSW exam.

7)            The employer survey will be reviewed and updated to include assessment questions regarding agency perception and impressions of the program.


Individuals who wish to review the complete 2013-2014 Annual Assessment Report should contact

Dr. Larry Morton, MSW Program Director and Chair of the Assessment Team, at 870-972-3137 or lmorton@astate.edu.