Accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a rigorous process that ensures  degree programs establish and maintain high standards of education. CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) establish social work programs’ structure and curriculum so every student graduating from a social work program should have the same basic skills and knowledge.

The baccalaureate curriculum is built on a liberal arts perspective and provides professional content, including the knowledge, values, processes, and skills deemed essential for professional practice. Graduates should possess a beginning professional level of proficiency in the knowledge and skills needed for self-critical and accountable practice.

Social work education at the master’s level is also built upon a liberal arts perspective. It includes required professional foundation content and one or more advanced practice concentrations designed to teach students advanced analytic and practice skills sufficient for self-critical, accountable, and ultimately autonomous practice in relevant professional areas.

Adapted from: Council on Social Work Education, Directory of colleges and universities with accredited social work degree programs, September 2001.


As required by the Council on Social Work Education, the faculty have put in place multilevel curricular assessment models for evaluating student outcomes. Outcomes include students’ knowledge of content and ability to use appropriate practice skills. Data from these assessments are used to modify the curriculum and are used by faculty to determine the most appropriate and effective practice- and research-based knowledge and skills for inclusion in the curricula of the concentrations. Assessments are summarized after the Spring Semester each year.

More specifically, the assessment models use the following measures:

1. an assessment of a student's performance in classroom coursework,
2. a collaborative/cooperative assessment (involving evaluations by the field instructor, faculty liaison, and student) of the student performance in the field practicum setting,
3. pre and post surveys administered when students enter the program and during one of the last courses they take to determine changes in students’ perceptions of their knowledge and skills related to CSWE competency areas, and
4. an exit survey to determine each graduate's opinion about the educational experiences in the program.

The measures allow us to assess curricular objectives of courses. These are, in turn, linked to the established goals and objectives of the program as well as to the mission, goals, and objectives of the SSW.

Assessment tools used to determine student success

Each of the 9 major competency areas, with their associated practice behaviors are measured in two or more courses at both the BSW and foundation MSW levels, and at the specialization MSW level. In each course offered by the UMSL School of Social Work, assignments contribute toward various competencies with scoring on those assignments completed using 5-point rubrics reflecting the following scale:

  • Unacceptable: Performance is generally unacceptable; never meets competency
  • Deficient: Rarely meets competency
  • Developing: Inconsistently meets competency
  • Accomplished: Consistently meets competency
  • Exemplary: Consistently exhibits mastery of competency

Developing or above is the acceptable measure for BSW students while Accomplished or above is the acceptable measure for MSW students. Student perceptions of whether or not they have met the social work program goals are measured in an exit survey, as described in other sections.

Bachelors of Social Work Student Outcomes

The School of Social Work competency benchmarks for the BSW program are that 75% of students achieve scores of Developing, Proficient, or Exemplary (2.0 or above) on the Field Instructor's evaluation of the students' practicum experience and scores of 75% ('C') or above on classroom assignments linked to each competency.

COMPETENCY
2019 (Fall 2019)
 BENCHMARK
UMSL Campus
MAC Cohort*
Aggregate of programs
Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
90%
89%
 80%
82.6%
Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
90%
95.4%
95.2%
95.4%
 
Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
90%
95.2%
100%
95.2%
Competency 4: Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
90%
91.3%
88.9%
91.3%
 
Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
90%
92.9%
95%
92.9%
 
Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
90%
100%
91.5%
99.4%
 
Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
90%
97.6%
87%
95%
 
Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
90%
97.4%
 83.9%
97.4%
 
Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
90%
96%
 92.5%
96%

 

*Our Mineral Area College program has cohorts every 2 years, so recent assessment data is not available for all competencies.


MSW Assessment of Student Outcomes: UMSL Campus

COMPETENCY
2019 (Spring & Summer)
 BENCHMARK
(Generalist)
BENCHMARK
(Specialized Practice: Field/Classroom)
Generalist Practice1, 2
Family Practice1
Leadership & Social Change1
Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
90%
90/95%
97.9%
96.2%
100%3
Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
90%
90/95%
98.1%
100%
100%3
Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
 
90%

90/95%
97.8%
82.6%
91.7%
Competency 4: Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
90%
90/95%
87%
89.6%
90%
Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
90%
90/95%
95.6%
82.6%
91.7%
Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
 
90%
 
90/95%
98.3%
92.6%
100%3
Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


90%
 

90/95%
93.3%
82.8%
100%
Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
 
90%
 
90/95%
92.5%
100%
100%3
Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
 
90%
 
90/95%
86.6%
100%
90%

1Scores reflect the weighted average of students achieving the outcome measure benchmark in both field and courses as outlined in the Assessment Matrices.

2Generalist Practice Field is not offered in Fall, so these statistics reflect field (SW5800) assessment for Spring and Summer 2019.

3SW6380 is only offered in the Spring, so these statistics reflect field (SW6850) for Fall 2019 and coursework for Spring 2019.

 MSW Assessment of Student Outcomes: MAC Cohort

COMPETENCY
2019 (Spring & Summer)
 BENCHMARK
(Generalist)
BENCHMARK
(Specialized Practice: Field/Classroom)
Generalist Practice4
Family Practice
Leadership & Social Change4
Competency 1: Demonstrate Ethical and Professional Behavior
90%
90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 2: Engage Diversity and Difference in Practice
90%
90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 3: Advance Human Rights and Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice
 
90%

90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 4: Engage in Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
90%
90/95%
 
66.7%
 
Competency 5: Engage in Policy Practice
90%
90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 6: Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
 
90%
 
90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 7: Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities


90%
 

90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 8: Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
 
90%
 
90/95%
 
100%
 
Competency 9: Evaluate Practice with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
 
90%
 
90/95%
 
100%
 
4This MAC Cohort all acheived advanced standing and are engaged in the Family Practice concentration, so no measures are available at the Foundation level or for Leadership and Social Change.