The MSW Program at WKU was established to provide effective community based social work practitioners and to address a demonstrated need in the community. The program is committed to educating students who will be prepared for effective social work practice, with a particular emphasis on the knowledge, skills and values necessary for rural practice. To ensure the successful preparation of these social work practitioners, this program has instituted several mechanisms to monitor and evaluate its efforts on an ongoing basis. These include:
1) Foundation and Concentration Level Assessments
2) Foundation and Concentration Field Evaluation Instruments
3) The ACAT (Area Concentration Achievement Test) in Social Work
4) Alumni Survey
5) Agency Survey
6) Cultural Awareness Inventory
The design and implementation of the evaluation effort are guided by the following principles:
1. Outcome oriented evaluation
Derived from its program mission: goals, objectives, and performance indicators are formulated to provide direction to achieve targeted educational outcomes. The specific and measurable performance indicators guide the implementation of the outcome evaluations. These performance indicators ensure that specific educational outcomes are met at both the foundation and concentration levels. The outcome evaluation design focuses on measuring each of the specific performance indicators that support the Program Goals and Objectives.
Multiple measures for obtaining data from multiple sources have been developed to evaluate each of the performance indicators. Each indicator is evaluated through data collected by at least two different forms of instruments and from at least two independent sources. All reasonable efforts are taken to obtain clear feedback to make appropriate and conscientious assessments of the educational outcomes.
3. Multiple intervals monitoring
Each performance indicator is monitored and measured at different points in time during a student’s course of study. The administration of the measurement instruments is different for students that are in the 2-year and Advanced Standing programs. Students in the 2-year program are assessed and monitored in the foundation year and a comparison instrument is utilized to determine comparability between cohorts finishing the foundation year and newly admitted Advanced Standing students. Both cohorts are assessed and monitored as one group in the concentration year.
4. Continuous feedback loop and evaluation utilization
The purpose of the evaluation is to provide ongoing feedback from program constituents to obtain a level of measurement that can be linked to quality assurance and program renewal. It is the intent of the MSW program to utilize findings from various evaluation mechanisms to make the maximum use of obtained results. Evaluation findings are documented and discussed at MSW program faculty meetings, Social Work Department faculty meetings, and at the DAC MSW Sub-Committee meetings to generate continuous insights and lessons-learned for program renewal. As modifications and alterations are made new findings will again be initiated to ensure that there is an ongoing loop of information
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