BPD Update Online, Fall 2002
Measuring the Effectiveness of Practice
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Measuring the Effectiveness of Practice
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Volunteers Sought for Pilot Study

The CSWE Board of Directors and its Quality in Social Work Education Committee, chaired by Ginny Raymond of the University of Alabama School of Social Work, invite BSW and MSW Programs to voluntarily conduct with their students a systematic empirical study of the effectiveness of their students with clients. The purpose is to determine the feasibility of implementing such an evaluation plan within the context of social work practice, and to undertake a preliminary appraisal of the actual outcomes of practice conducted by social work students.

Both the CSWE Accreditation Standards and the NASW Code of Ethics stress the importance of social workers engaging in the systematic evaluation of the outcomes of practice, with such efforts being an intrinsic component of good practice, not simply a desirable ancillary activity.

Programs are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. No effort will be made to randomly sample programs/schools. At least one faculty member per institution will be recruited to serve as project liaison. This project liaison will not be the field instructor or the field liaison, but, rather, an additional faculty member specifically involved in this evaluation project.

Individual BSW students and MSW students in the advanced (concentration) curriculum who are in field placement doing direct practice are invited to participate on a voluntary basis. No effort will be made to randomly sample students. The Committee envisions the project liaison recruiting 5 to10 students per program.

Each student will be asked to attempt a single-system evaluation design with at least two clients (individual, group, family, couple). Each student, guided by the faculty liaison, project liaison, client input, ethical standards, will select one or more outcome measures that can be repeatedly administered/assessed. Ideally, several measures of the client's functioning/strengths will be obtained at suitable intervals. Efforts should be made to employ reliable, valid, and direct measures of client functioning, with preference given to: direct measures of behavior; 2) rapid assessment instruments of known reliability and validity; and 3) idiosyncratically developed valid outcome measures. For this project, preference should be given to using multiple measures of client functioning in lieu of a single outcome measure.

Students will be provided with a standardized format to graph the information obtained from their clients. These graphs will be imbedded in the context of a written narrative case history. These reports will be forwarded via email to the Quality in Social Work Education Committee, which will prepare a summary report. The data should be submitted to the Committee by the end of May, 2003 or first of June, 2003.

No names of participating clients, agencies, students, or liaison faculty will be included in any report, and participating BSW and MSW program will be identified only if they wish. A report will be prepared for the CSWE Board of Directors, and possibly the membership, describing the design, conduct, and outcomes of this project.

The project liaison is expected to pursue IRB approval for this project as deemed necessary. Certainly agencies and their clients must be informed and give consent for participation in the project. Although names will not be forwarded to the Committee, it is still important to gain written consent of clients when data, even aggregate data, are given to an outside source and for possible publication.

If your program is interested in participating and can have the data submitted by the end of this academic year, email Ginny Raymond at graymond@sw.ua.edu for more information.

Click here to send an email message to Ginny Raymond

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