From SWAP and JUC-SWEC in association with the 4 UK Care Councils

01 April 2011

Assessment and External Examining for Practice Learning in Social Work

A day conference for External Examiners and Heads of Degree Programmes (or their named assessment coordinators)

Aim: To promote the effective development and implementation of assessment of practice learning for the degree in social work


Objectives

  • To provide an overview about effective practice in assessing practice learning
  • To provide an overview of the EE role in the quality assurance of practice learning
  • To promote debate and understanding about different issues relating to the assessment of practice (e.g. differences between the 4 countries, portfolio construction, practice assessment panels, grading practice, assessing practice through skills etc)
  • To enable networking between external examiners
  • To enable networking between heads of programmes/assessment coordinators
  • To identify how issues in assessing practice learning might be taken forward and/or contribute to existing/new publications

 

Programme

Time Detail
09.45  Registration
10.15 Introduction
10.30

Keynote: Professor Doel        Accompanying Slides

Improving the Assessment of Practice in Social Work Education

11.30 Developments in EE framework and CC updates
11.55 Comfort break
12.00

Workshops: A 1-4 (50 minutes)

  • A:1 Practice Assessment Panels - fit for purpose?
    Judy Kerr, University Of Stirling  Accompanying slides.
  • A:2 Do graded reports make finer practitioners? Learning from the East Midlands Regional experience.
    Presenters: Barbara Coulson and colleagues (Universities of Notts Trent, Nottingham and Derby  Accompanying notes
  • A:3 Portfolio design for robust assessment
    Presenters: Gary Hickman & Rachel Hek, University of Birmingham  Accompanying notes 
  • A: 4 Moderating/standardising practice teachers’ assessment
    Presenter: Sharon Vitali (Oxford Brookes University)  Accompanying slides 

For additional detail please see below

12.50

Lunch
13.30

Workshops: B 5-8 (50 minutes)

  • B: 5 The EEs' role in Practice Assessment Panels
    Presenter: Alison Higgs, Open University  Accompanying slides.  Case study.  Notes from workshop.
  • B: 6 Grading practice
    Presenters: Colin Bright (Southampton Solent University)  Accompanying slidesNotes from workshop. 
  • B: 7 Supporting Practice Assessors with challenging or ‘failing’ students
    Presenter: Jason Schaub, Buckinghamshire New University  Accompanying notes
  • B: 8 Benchmarking the Standards in Social Work Education against the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.
    Presenter: Sheila Lockhart, Education and Workforce Development Adviser, Scottish Social Services Council  Notes from workshop 

For additional detail please see below

14.20 Tea
14.45 EE network discussion and Programme/assessment leads network  Notes from discussion.   Programme leads notes 
15.30 Closing plenary  Notes from plenary 
16.00 End

 

Venue: The event was held at The Resource Centre, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA. Map and directions.

Booking:

Bookings for this event are now closed.

 

Contact: For further information please contact Hilary Burgess, Senior Academic Adviser, SWAP h.burgess@soton.ac.uk

 

Morning Sessions:

 

Workshops: A 1-4 (50 minutes)

 

A:1 Practice Assessment Panels - fit for purpose?
Judy Kerr, University Of Stirling 
 Accompanying slides.

Although in existence in the seventies, PAPs were firmly established as part of CCETSW’s DipSW regulations. The role of the PAPs was seen as pivotal in the collaboration between SW programmes and agencies in the assessment of student practice and the ‘readiness to qualify’. Quality assurance through the monitoring of those assessing practice, the process of the assessment and the learning opportunities provided was a key feature of their role. To what extent do current SW programmes consider the role of PAPs as effective in the process of fair assessment and decision making? Are the current demands on agencies likely to impact on the availability of practice colleagues to contribute to the work of PAPs? Do HEIs support the involvement of non University based assessors? In this workshop we explored the value of PAPs, drawing on the views of a well established panel, with contributions from students, practice educators and fellow HEI PL coordinators.

 

A:2 Do graded reports make finer practitioners? Learning from the East Midlands Regional experience.
Presenters: Barbara Coulson and colleagues (Universities of Notts Trent, Nottingham and Derby 
 Accompanying notes 

Will grades reflect the quality of student’s practice? The East Midlands region social work network has established a model to be used across the universities and agencies for undergraduate social work students. The impetus for change came from several universities for different reasons: needing to demonstrate academic credits for practice; a desire to enable students to demonstrate excellence in practice, and an opportunity for less-academically gifted students to shine. The National Occupational Standards are demonstrated through case summaries, direct observations and a reflective essay. Practice Educators and university tutors mark the reports and agree a final grade. The format was first used at the University of Derby followed by The University of Nottingham and most recently at Nottingham Trent University. Evaluation from the former has enabled further changes designed to make the grading criteria more relevant to practice. In the workshop we presented our experience and discussed with participants their experiences and ideas.

 

A:3 Portfolio design for robust assessment
Presenters: Gary Hickman & Rachel Hek, University of Birmingham 
 Accompanying notes

This workshop provided an opportunity to consider issues in the development and design of portfolios. We presented the process used at the University of Birmingham to devise guidance for practice teachers on marking practice, and for practice tutors on marking the written element of the portfolio, and thus deciding at what level (Pass, Merit, and Distinction) they should grade the student's work. The grading is recorded in the student’s transcript, but does not contribute to the final degree classification. We hope the ensuing discussion gave participants an opportunity to consider strategies and approaches to portfolio design to ensure the most robust way of assessing students practice.

 

A:4 Moderating/standardising practice teachers’ assessment
Presenter: Sharon Vitali (Oxford Brookes University) - Accompanying slides

This session explored the challenges to measuring and grading practice performance. Through the use of video and criterion-referenced grading exercises, the participants considered the strengths and challenges of their current assessment techniques. Small group discussions provided an opportunity for sharing existing best practice, and guided exercises introduced participants to systems they can institute to increase the validity, reliability and inter-rater reliability of their practice assessments.

 

Afternoon Sessions

 

Workshops: B 5-8 (50 minutes)

 

B:5 The EEs' role in Practice Assessment Panels
Presenter: Alison Higgs, Open University   
 Accompanying slides.   Case study.  Notes from workshop.

Using the EEs’ role in Practice Assessment Panels as a focus, I used a case scenario to examine the following themes:

• Preparation for effective panels
• Equity: ensuring all voices are heard
• The External Examiner perspective: intervening in difficult decisions
• Evidence – what do we mean by ‘good quality’?
• Accountability and appeals
• Good practice for External Examiners

An introduction highlighted some general issues relating to the EE role in Panel meetings. Small groups then considered the same Practice Panel scenario. Each group were asked to look at and feed back on different aspects of the scenario. Participants were also  expected to identify any aspects of their own EE role, where they would like advice or clarification from the group. The workshop then agreed some principles of good practice to take back to the main group.

 

B:6 Grading practice
Presenters: Colin Bright (Southampton Solent University)  Accompanying slides Notes from workshop

Southampton Solent University and The University of Southampton have worked closely together to develop an innovative approach to the assessment of student performance within Social Work Practice Placements. This approach embraces the diversity that is presented by the wide range of placements that are now employed: Statutory/Non-statutory, Adult Social Care and Children and Families through the application of generic assessment criteria that are informed by the National Occupational Standards for Social Work. The workshop began with an introduction to the current criteria and assessment process, and then used an interactive exercise which will also inform the next stage of development. We are keen to seek the views of both external examiners and other programmes about the transition of these assessment criteria – identifying the specific Social Work skills that will be the priority for the future of Social Work.

 

B:7 Supporting Practice Assessors with challenging or ‘failing’ students
Presenter: Jason Schaub, Buckinghamshire New University 
 Accompanying notes

This workshop presented and explored the themes emerging from preliminary data drawn from a project which is exploring social work students’ practice placement in pre-qualifying education. Specifically, the project seeks to gain detailed insight into assessors’ views of the ‘challenging’ or ‘failing’ student on social work placements. In line with recent discussions and concerns within the profession regarding assessment of social work students on placement (Basnett & Sheffield, 2010), we are exploring the experiences and perceptions of practice assessors of these students, and their sense of the support they require from academic colleagues in order to make this assessment. After an initial presentation, we jointly explored how best to support practice assessors with a ‘difficult’ or failing student.

 

B:8 Benchmarking the Standards in Social Work Education against the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.
Presenter: Sheila Lockhart, Education and Workforce Development Adviser, Scottish Social Services Council  Notes from workshop

This workshop presented new case study materials commissioned by the SSSC to support student practice learning. The materials were developed using the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) to help clarify expectations of student learning and assessment during practice learning opportunities at SCQF levels 9 and 10.
Each case study addresses a learning focus within one of the six Key Roles (or Standards) within the SiSWE. The case studies include an explanation of each Key Role, a case study, practice indicators at SCQF levels 9 and 10, and activities to support student learning and assessment, with links to other learning foci and suggested further resources.

The workshop presented the context for the project and demonstrated the case study material using one section as an example. Group discussion gave an opportunity for consideration of the materials and initial impressions. Hard copies of the relevant section were available for participants to take away .

 

 

 

 

 

 

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