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Avila BSW Program Assessment Plan and Continuous Improvement

The Avila University Social Work Program has made a commitment to achieving excellence in social work education. The faculty recognizes that this value is demonstrated through use of effective assessment processes. In addition, the faculty knows that such assessment is continuous, requiring skill, creativity, and dedication on the part of everyone in the Program.

A comprehensive multimodal plan has been developed, is being utilized, and includes activities and procedures for evaluating student attainment of ten Core Competencies as demonstrated through achievement of forty-one associated Practice Behaviors. The Assessment Plan guides the measurement of the Program’s ability to advance graduates who have attained the requisite knowledge, skills, and values of professional social work practitioners. The ongoing collection of data, analysis and evaluation of this data result in program viability and effectiveness by identifying potential areas for growth and improvement, as well as affirming strengths.  Details of the Plan and the most recent results of assessment activities are available by clicking here. 

Program Core Competencies and Practice Behaviors are distributed to students in course syllabi at the beginning of each semester (August and January).  They are also published in the University catalog, the Social Work Student Handbook, Field Education Manual, and on the Social Work Program’s web page.  Faculty agreed to the following benchmark. “Ratings equivalent to or above 80% achievement will be attained by at least 80% of students.” This achievement level is based on a Program value of excellence.

The Program Assessment Plan contains two direct measures.  The first occurs in the spring SW 496 Field Experience course. The Field Instructor rates the student's demonstrated performance on each of the Practice Behaviors. These are aggregated, resulting in one comprehensive Measure of Achievement of all forty-one Practice Behaviors and ten Core Competencies.

The second direct measure occurs in the course SW 498 Social Work Capstone (spring).  Students in that course identify a client and conduct independent research on the effectiveness of their intervention with that client system.  Results are presented at a Social Work Colloquium event.  An external rater evaluates each student’s poster and uses a rubric to rate achievement.  The Assistant Director of Field Education also scores student achievement using a rubric.  Three other measures are used as supplemental measures to assist in identifying attainment of Practice Behaviors and Core Competencies.  These measures are a Senior Exit Survey, an Alumni Survey, and Course-embedded Key Assignments.  The results of these measures are aggregated with results from the primary measures. The following table summarizes the Assessment Plan elements.


Recent Results of Assessment Activities

As the chart below indicates, based on evaluation of  last year's assessment activities, Social Work graduates at Avila had attained all of the Core Competencies at the Benchmark rate by the time they completed their Social Work courses. 


2012 - 2013 Avila BSW

Core Competency Achievement


Competency Benchmark


80% ≥ 80% score


Percentage of Students Achieving Benchmark

May 2013

2.1.1  Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.2   Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.3   Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.4   Engage diversity and difference in practice

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.5  Advance human rights and social and economic justice

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.6   Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.7   Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.8   Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.9  Respond to contexts that shape practice

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.10 (a) 1 – 3

Engage and Assess individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. 

80% ≥ 80% score


2.1.10 (b) 1-4

Intervene with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

80% ≥80% score


2.1.10 (c) 1-5

Evaluation with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

80% ≥80% score


2.1.10 (d) 1

Terminate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities.

80% ≥80% score




The most recent summary reports of data are available in the Social Work Self Study document, linked above.