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Outcomes - B.A., Social Work

Outcomes and Assessment

Seton Hall University embraces the principle that effective and meaningful assessment is an integral part of the educational process. This principle is at the heart of our commitment to meet our responsibilities to our students, professions, and the communities that we serve.

We envision ourselves as an exemplar of best practices in generalist, baccalaureate social work education in The United States. 

Built upon a firm liberal arts foundation, our mission is to prepare social work practitioners at the undergraduate level. This preparation is focused upon service, social justice, the dignity and worth of the person, the importance of human relationships, integrity, competence, human rights, and scientific inquiry.

Please note that our mission is consistent with and is specified by the Council on Social Work Education in terms of the values of the social work ( and what we value is our mission in terms of our role as an academic entity preparing students. We also point out that this mission is symbiotic with the servant leadership underpinning of Seton Hall University of which we are a part.

Our goals are abstractions in terms of needing subsequent operationalization as measurable learning/behavioral expectations and thus are presented subsequently as Program objectives within each goal. The intent is a holistic education. These objectives are then assessed, also indicated below in a separate section of this report. These goals and objectives are those required by the Council on Social Work Education, albeit with room for our program's unique context in terms of the mission of Seton Hall University and the community we serve.

Goal 1:  For students to identify themselves as professional social workers and conduct themselves accordingly.

Operationalization of this goal into a measurable learning/behavioral outcome - OBJECTIVES/ LEARNING OUTCOMES as will be continued below for each goal - (our students will learn to):
  • advocate for client access to the services of social work;
  • practice personal reflection and self-correction to assure continual professional development;
  • attend to professional roles and boundaries;
  • demonstrate professional demeanor in behavior, appearance, and communication;
  • engage in career-long learning; and
  • use supervision and consultation.

Goal 2:  For students to apply social work principles to guide professional practice.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice;
  • make ethical decisions by applying standards of the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics;
  • tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts; and
  • apply strategies of ethical reasoning to arrive at principled decisions.

Goal 3: For students to apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • distinguish, appraise, and integrate multiple sources of knowledge, including research-based knowledge and practice wisdom;
  • analyze models of assessment, prevention, intervention, and evaluation; and
  • demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and colleagues.

Goal 4:  For students to engage diversity and difference in practice.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • recognize the extent to which a culture's structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;
  • gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups;
  • recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences; and
  • view themselves as learners and engage those with whom they work as informants;

Goal 5: For students to advance human rights and social and economic justice.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression  and discrimination;
  • advocate for human rights and social and economic justice; and
  • engage in practices that advance social and economic justice.

Goal 6:  For students to engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • use practice experience to inform scientific inquiry; and
  • use research evidence to inform practice.

Goal 7:  For students to apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • utilize conceptual frameworks to guide the processes of assessment, intervention, and evaluation; and
  • critique and apply knowledge to understand person and environment.

Goal 8:  For students to engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • analyze, formulate, and advocate for policies that advance social well-being; and
  • collaborate with colleagues and clients for effective policy action.

Goal 9:  For students to respond to contexts that shape practice. Note:  the context of the social work program is conceptualized as poverty and social injustice.  These are derived from the mission of the University and the community in which we learn and serve.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:

  • continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing locales, populations, scientific and technological developments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant services; and
  • provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in service delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services.

Goal 10:  For students to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.
Objectives/Learning Outcomes:  

  • substantively and affectedly prepare for action with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities; 
  • use empathy and other interpersonal skills; 
  • develop a mutually agreed-on focus of work and desired outcomes; 
  • collect, organize, and interpret client data; 
  • assess client strengths and limitations; 
  • develop mutually agreed-on intervention goals and objectives; 
  • select appropriate intervention strategies; 
  • initiate actions to achieve organizational goals; 
  • implement prevention interventions that enhance client capacities; 
  • help clients resolve problems;negotiate, mediate, and advocate for clients; 
  • facilitate transitions and endings; 
  • critically analyze, monitor, and evaluate interventions.

Assessment of Learning

All Program required and offered courses at or above the 2000 level are assigned specific goals and objectives pertinent to the respective focus of the course.  The curriculum is cumulative, integrated, and with increasing enhanced expectations, cumulating in the Senior Theory and Practice two course sequence and the "signature pedagogy" learning experience; 400 hours of field learning in an actual, professionally supervised social work agency that meets our criteria for context, as well as ability to help students achieve all requisite goals and objectives over the course of the senior year.

All learning outcomes (objectives) are assessed in terms of a numeric score ranging from a low of 1 to a high of 5.  The "benchmark" for success used by the Program is 4.  Courses have a respective formula for the weight given to respective objectives (learning outcomes) and the resultant tabulation becomes the respective student's course grade (the assessment of learning).  The curriculum is not rote.  Different courses may have the same goals and objectives, albeit at increasing levels of expectations of learning.  The Program requires no less than two numeric scores for each goal and objective listed above.  Thus, an integrated, multiple, albeit increasingly demanding, assessment of learning strategy.  The distribution of respective goals and objectives is included in table form at the conclusion of this document.

Specific strategies/methodologies for assessment of learning:
The program uses a broad array of teaching and assessment of learning strategies including, but not limited to:  examinations, term papers and research reports, individual and group presentations, and evaluation of learning in field by professional social workers in field learning which is guided and monitored by the Program's director of field education.  The Program strongly avoids short answer, multiple choice, and similarly in terms of examinations and other written materials.  Assessment in social work is not rote memorization and as a result, assessment of learning mechanisms stress knowing, understanding, and applying instructional content applicable to goals and objectives of respective courses and learning units.

Mid-semester evaluation of course progress and learning (confidential self-report by students to respective instructors;  End of semester University and Program specific course and instructor evaluations that focus on student self-report of learning.  End of curriculum self-report by students of efficacy of curriculum with regard to learning.

All assessments of learning in terms of goals and objectives are assessed using a numeric template.
Examinations, term papers, and presentations:  all with numeric scores based on the respective goals and objectives being measured as per the above.

Junior semester field experience to assess students' affinity for continued social work education into the senior year and which must receive an overall numeric score of at least 4 (as well as in the co-requisite course "Introduction to Helping Skills") to proceed into the senior year.  This is guided and monitored by the director of field education.

Written narrative by the student at the mid-point of the junior semester which is the Program's official "application" as mandated by the Council on Social Work Education.  This narrative is assessed in terms of the respective student demonstrating affinity for social work education and practice by presenting competencies (goals and objectives) achieved to date in addition to other information pertaining especially to being  able to achieve goal 1 in terms of beginning appropriately to identify as a professional social worker.  These narratives are reviewed by the director of field education and, where deemed necessary, by the entire full time faculty.  The Program also, at this time, assesses the students competency in terms of meeting the various ancillary requirements for entry into the senior year of social work education.

Numeric scores in the senior Theory and Practice I and II sequence in which students write their understanding of underlying theory and apply it to their respective field experience and which is assessed by means of a numeric score for the respective goal and objective being assessed in the respective assignment.

Mid-fall assessment of learning in the senior year field experience.  This is a written report, with numerics and the director of field education directly assesses the respective student's written work, that includes process recordings, non-confidential agency reports, diaries, and consultation with both the student and field instructor.

End fall assessment of learning.  Numeric scores, with explanatory narratives, submitted by field  instructor and reviewed and assessed by the director of field education.  This same process is repeated during the spring of the senior year and also includes agency visitation by the director of field education for assessment of learning and which includes the aforementioned written documents as well.  Students are also given written assignments, typically case studies, in  which they must demonstrate and be assessed of dynamics of field learning in terms of goals  and objectives.

Final assessment of learning by field instructor (with signature) indicating that the student has or has not achieved the requisite level of competencies (goals and objectives).  Note: not achieving the requisite level of competencies is probable but highly unlikely since the student's learning is continuously monitored throughout the senior field experience by the director of field education.

See chart below for placement of goals and objectives in respective courses, each of which have specific numerics for their respective Council on Social Work Education competency requirements.  We are monitoring the accuracy and efficacy of that which is reported below in terms of actual program assessments of learning.

EPAS 2008 Competencies per course
Seton Hall University
BSW Program
As of August 14, 2012

EPAS 2008 Competencies per course - BSW Program
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