Learning Plan, Evaluation and Grading Procedures
Learning Plan and Evaluation Procedures
The planning and evaluation documents are designed in accordance with the Faculty of Social Work’s field objectives and the standards of its accrediting body, The Canadian Association for Social Work Education. The Learning Plan serves as the formal field course learning contract. Nine essential social work practice areas based on the social change process have been identified. Each of these practice areas is important for all students. Depending on the student’s field course (foundational or advanced), the emphasis and focus will differ. Other basic and broad areas of practice may be added when deemed appropriate for the student, instructor and agency.
For each field course there are two written evaluations to be submitted to the faculty: the midterm and the final evaluation. The midterm evaluation is a review and revision of the initial goals and objectives as it has evolved from the Learning Plan. It is also a record of assignments and evidence of goal attainment to that point. It especially affords the student and field instructor an opportunity to identify gaps in learning that may be a focus for the remainder of the field placement course.
Student Learning Plan: Process and Instructions
The development of the learning plan is a collaborative process between the student and instructor(s) and begins immediately. The instructor and student meet to determine the student’s learning interests considering agency opportunities, and practice activities that will provide learning within the nine social work practice areas identified. It serves as the basis for evaluating learning at the mid-term and completion of the field placement course. Assessment of learning occurs on an ongoing basis throughout the placement via weekly meetings between student and instructor(s) and the use of clear evaluative measures including for example, live observation, AV tapes, case/project review, reports, process recording, team contribution, one-way mirror, reflective team, etc.
Instructions on completing the learning plan:
- The learning plan, which gives focus and direction to the placement, is written up by the student, and the final document is reviewed by the instructor and intern, with final approval from the instructor.
- This plan is completed within the first four to six weeks of the placement and may be modified throughout as needed.
- As part of the midterm and final evaluation process, students update the plan to indicate their progress in each of the areas identified. This is then reviewed by the field instructor.
- The plan is submitted to the Master of Social Work (MSW) field office and field advisor as part of the midterm and final evaluations.
Evaluation of Learning: Process and Procedures
A formal, written evaluation is completed at midterm and again at the completion of placement using the learning plan as a guide. The evaluation process is collaborative.
The evaluation is a collaborative process between Instructor and student; however, as course Instructor, the Instructor evaluates the student’s progress and provides a mid-term and final grade (pass or fail). Evaluation of all nine social work practice areas is required at the mid-term and final evaluations.
Instructions on completing the midterm and final evaluation:
- At least three weeks prior to the due date of the evaluation, the student revisits the learning plan and completes his/her progress for the appropriate evaluation (mid-term or final).
- The student also provides overall feedback for the appropriate evaluation.
- This copy is shared with the Field Instructor for review and input.
- The Instructor completes the remainder of the evaluation by providing an overview of the student’s activities for the appropriate evaluation (mid-term or final), evaluating the student’s progress in each of the nine social work areas, and providing overall feedback for the evaluation.
- This final evaluation is then reviewed by the Instructor and the student. The student’s name/signature indicates that he/she has read the document.
- The Instructor then submits this evaluation electronically no later than the due date to the following parties simultaneously: Laurier MSW Field Office, Field Advisor, and student.
- Evaluations are reviewed by the Field Advisors and the Field Office and are part of the student’s records.
Learning Goals and Practice Areas
Goal 1: Practicing from a Social Work Knowledge Base
- Apply a broad range of social work theory constructs, with particular attention to concepts and principles related to the nature of the field course (foundational with opportunities for integrated learning in micro and macro social work practice, or advanced social work practice).
- Apply social work concepts and principles regarding diversity and oppression.
- Apply social work theory regarding organizational behaviour, systems/ecological perspectives, human development and helping relationships.
Goal 2: Developing a Professional Self in Terms of Social Work Values, Ethics, Principles and Practices
- According to the Canadian Social Work Code of Ethics, the Ontario Standards of Practice, and the Ontario Human Rights Code (i.e., section 5), including race, ethnic origin, class, colour, creed, heritage, sex, age, mental and physical ability, gender, sexual orientation, record of offences, family status.
- Self reflection.
- Self awareness.
- Differential use-of-self.
- Collaboration and teamwork.
- A balance of autonomy and accountability.
- Time management.
- Administrative task responsibility such as case notes and reports.
- Sensitivity to personal and professional boundaries.
- Sensitivity to placement’s political and relational realities in the agency and community.
- Creative, effective use of resources.
Goal 3: Engaging in and Maintaining Social Work Relationships
- Engage in and maintain social work relationships by:
- Using trust-building skills.
- Focusing on strengths.
- Working effectively on a team.
- Responding professionally to the intellectual, mental, emotional, social and dynamic components of relationships at all systemic levels. This includes, for example, issues of loss, conflict, difference, power, resistance, ambivalence, dependency, etc.
- Respecting personal and professional boundaries.
- Negotiating social systems.
- Advocating with and for clients/consumers/communities.
- Becoming familiar with history, development, context and mandates.
- Learn effectively from the teaching/learning relationships with the instructor(s) and others.
- Using effective confrontation and conflict resolution skills where a power difference exists.
Goal 4: Assessing
- Apply the assessment methods and tools of the placement setting.
- Assess the organizational and community context as applicable.
- Assess from a systems or person-in-environment perspective.
- Collaboratively identify and formulate a shared understanding of strengths, capacities, gaps, needs and priorities.
- Organize and record all assessment information clearly and analytically.
Goal 5: Planning
- Identify relevant community resources.
- Collaboratively develop a dynamic action plan which includes short and long term goals based on the assessment.
- Take initiative in clarifying with all participants the purpose, roles, boundaries and expectations of the contract/plan.
- Articulate the rationale for the plan and modify it as is appropriate.
- Take leadership in the resolution of difficulties arising within the context of the plan.
- Practice social planning with all the systems and stakeholders involved.
Goal 6: Implementing Strategies, Methods and Practices
- Collaboratively determine interventions based on the assessment and plan.
- Apply these interventions including the following skills: empathy, active listening, support, empowering, focusing, tuning into non-verbal communication, problem solving, effective use of resources, referral, advocacy, negotiating, consulting, program development, policy analysis, research techniques, mediating, facilitating, motivating, networking.
- Use the strength of the social work relationship(s) purposefully at all levels to facilitate change and development.
- Be aware and flexible regarding the need to respond differentially as situations change.
Goal 7: Documenting
- Document practice (i.e., assessments, process notes, reports, proposals, correspondence, case recording, minutes) in accordance with the policies and procedures of the practicum setting.
- Describe the process, progress and outcomes of practice clearly and concisely.
- Respect confidentiality and legal implications.
- Complete required written work in a competent, timely and organized manner.
Goal 8: Evaluating
- Evaluate the process collaboratively including feedback from all participants.
- Respectfully inform all participants regarding evaluative reports.
- Contribute to the development of agency programs, policies and procedures based on the evaluative work.
- Contribute to agency evaluative research projects where feasible, e.g., program evaluation.
- Critically reflect on her/his own practice (and the practices used in their setting) and identify subsequent learning and growth.
- Engage in a constructive evaluation of the placement teaching/learning experience.
Goal 9: Closure
- Effectively bring direct practice situations, projects and social work relationships to a conclusion.
- Transfer ongoing direct practice situations and projects to another social worker, team and/or other community resources.
- In consultation with the instructor, conceptualize the learning/practice experiences in terms of transferability to other practice situations.
Students are expected to utilize the appropriate placement hours timesheet to document their hours. Timesheets are submitted to the instructors, advisors, and Field Education Office, alongside the midterm and final evaluation by students, and are used to demonstrate and account for required placement hours. Accordingly, the time sheet and midterm/final evaluation are required to enter a grade for the field course.
Practice Elements According to Field Course
The following describes components that may be included in the field course planning process or the student’s workload, taking into account the student’s field course (foundational or advanced), agency requirements, and placement opportunity that is offered.
Practice Elements for Macro Social Work Placements
Depending on the context of the agency, the following provide examples of workload.
- Guideline for workload: a varied, inclusive, clear project which has a time frame (or a couple of projects) which includes the required elements. A flexible workload that provides time for practice related reading, reflection and planning is important.
- Community: community practice in a group context within organizations such as community based social agencies, grassroots groups, neighbourhoods and social action groups, participating in leadership capacities, in social change committees
- Social Planning: using a team approach, developing proposals and participating in aspects of program planning, implementation, evaluation and related research
- Social Policy: analyzing and developing policy in a collaborative context
- Organizations: practice with organizational and administrative change
- The Foundational placement will also offer opportunities for integrated practice, with a few hours per week of formal or informal micro social work practice, such as counselling with individual consumers/clients and families. The Advanced placement may focus on macro social work practice.
Practice Elements for Micro Social Work Placements
- Guideline for workload: Example: a few cases (individual or group), a small community outreach project are appropriate for the foundational placement. A flexible workload that provides time for practice related reading, reflection and planning is important.
- Individual Practice: short term and ongoing varied counselling (include therapy, case management, crisis intervention) – if feasible. Observation and extensive shadowing during the foundational placement is expected.
- Family Practice: counselling with families or parts of families (formal family therapy where feasible, couples where feasible - not required)
- Group Practice: facilitating or co-facilitating at least a process and/or psycho-educational group
- The foundational placement will also offer opportunities for integrated practice, with a few hours per week of macro social work practice, such as participating in a small project in, for example, community outreach, program development, committee work, or needs assessment. Alternatively, students can participate in a time-limited way in, for example, a clinical research project at the agency, program evaluation, or policy development. The Advanced placement may focus on micro social work practice.
Practice Elements for Integrated Social Work Practice
- Workload guideline for integrated macro placement: varied, inclusive, clear projects that incorporate community, planning, policy and organizational work. Ongoing client/consumer cases, (or more if brief intervention work) and, if feasible, a group, all of which integrate with macro social work practice, e.g. working on policy and program development on family violence in a team format and providing a community education group program on family violence while carrying a case or two of that nature that require support, advocacy and crisis intervention and referral.
- Workload guideline for integrated micro placement: Case management/psychotherapy with ongoing cases, including some crisis and brief intervention, supportive counselling and possibly intake work, co-leading a psychoeducational, support, or community action group, community work project that integrates with that particular population, e.g., working with community adolescent support service, providing supportive counselling on a drop in basis, advocacy work, developing and facilitating some structured group programing, (e.g., life skills group) for the teens, liaising with schools, mental health and addiction facilities.
Field Education Course Grading Procedures
The field education course is graded by the field instructor at mid-term and at the end of the placement. The learning plan that is negotiated between the student and the instructor provides the framework upon which the student’s learning is assessed. Field education is considered a pass/fail requirement of the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. As such, the instructor provides the Field Education Office with a satisfactory (pass) or unsatisfactory (fail) mark on the midterm and final evaluations. In addition to the provision of a satisfactory or unsatisfactory mark, each mid-term and final evaluation must include a timesheet, which documents the required hours of practice in the field. The field education coordinator is the assigned course instructor for all field courses and is responsible for submitting grades to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies on behalf of all field instructors.The following procedures are used.
Satisfactory grade on the midterm evaluation and approved time sheet (if submitted by due date).
- Student receives a continuing mark (000).
Satisfactory grade on the midterm evaluation and approved time sheet (if submitted after due date).
- Student receives an incomplete grade (INC).
- This mark is revised to a continuing grade (000) once the evaluation and time sheet are received and reviewed. Delayed submissions result in delayed grades which may impact student’s ability to register in courses in a timely manner.
Unsatisfactory grade on the midterm evaluation.
- The field advisor will initiate the field resolution procedure.
- If the placement continues: student receives a continuing grade (000) or incomplete (INC) at the discretion of the coordinator in consultation with the field advisor and instructor.
- If the placement is discontinued: student receives a fail grade (F). The fail mark (F) will be part of the student’s official transcript. Once the course is repeated, a “Repeated Later” notation will be seen on the official transcript and the repeated course will be subject to the course grading procedures. The student will remain on academic probation until the course is successfully repeated.The student has the right to petition Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to have a grade removed as a historical record change prior to convocation.
Satisfactory grade on the final evaluation and approved time sheet (if submitted by due date).
- Student receives a pass, i.e. satisfactory grade (S).
Satisfactory grade on the final evaluation and approved time sheet (if submitted after due date).
- Student receives an incomplete grade (INC).
- This mark is revised to a satisfactory grade (S) once the evaluation and time sheet are received and reviewed. Delayed submissions result in delayed grades which may impact student’s ability to register in courses or apply for graduation in a timely manner.
Unsatisfactory grade during the final evaluation.
- The field advisor will initiate the field resolution procedure or the placement dissolution procedure.
- Student receives an insatisfactory grade, i.e. fail grade (F). The fail mark (F) will be part of the student’s official transcript. Once the course is repeated, a “Repeated Later” notation will be seen on the official transcript and the repeated course will be subject to the course grading procedures. The student will remain on academic probation until the course is successfully repeated. The student has the right to petition Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to have a grade removed as a historical record change prior to convocation.