Theorising Social Work Research

Doctoral and advanced studies in Social Work Seminar topics

Doctoral and advanced studies in social work 15th November 1999, Warwick

Excerpts from: CCETSW (1997) Assuring Qualility for Post-Qualifying Education and Training

1. Requirements for the Post-Qualifying and Advanced Awards in Social Work, London CCETSW

1.2 (i) (cont.) The Advanced Award in Social Work (AASW) recognises the achievements of social workers who demonstrate leadership and expertise in their area of work. Social workers who achieve this level of competence will be making contributions to the development of services and the profession through policy making, innovative practice, research and education.....

(ii) (cont.) Through the accreditation of in-service courses, higher education programmes, open and distance learning and work-place learning, the framework allows all practice-based learning to be accredited, including learning acquired prior to registration for an award.....

2.2 The Advanced Award in Social Work (AASW)

The AASW provides the opportunity for advanced professional competence to be recognised, thus promoting and encouraging the level of skill necessary to ensure high quality of service delivery. Social workers who meet the requirements for the award will, therefore, be able to provide clear leadership and expertise in their area of work.

Structure of the AASW

The AASW is made up of eight general and two core requirements. The core requirements should be demonstrated, and assessed, in an integrated, holistic way, through the general requirements. The quality and quantity of evidence produced must be commensurate with that of a Master's degree (AA/Level M).

The achieve the AASW candidates must meet all the requirements of the award and have attained a minimum of 120 AA credits.

Work towards the award will be assessed in one of four areas of social work: practice, education and training, management, research, or a combination of two or more of these areas. These pathways provide a primary focus for the work undertaken and are designed to facilitate the use of educational provision and should not be interpreted as excluding the other three areas from a candidate's portfolio.

4. Requirements for the advanced award in Social Work (AASW)

4.1 Core Requirements

In meeting the general requirements all candidates must:

a) demonstrate analysis and critical reflection which informs and influences practice, policy and service provision;

b) provide evidence of a commitment to sustaining the values of social work in the light of continuing social and political change and be able to define and develop policies and practices accordingly.

4.2 General Requirements

All candidates must:

AA1 provide evidence of significant contribution to the development, delivery and evaluation of the service provided in a chosen area by demonstrating the ability to research, plan, implement, monitor and evaluate strategies for improvement or change;

AA2 demonstrate critical appraisal of relevant theoretical models, policies and law, in their chosen area, including knowledge of local, national and UK perspectives;

AA3 demonstrate skilled use of a wide repertoire of methods and be able to select and use the most effective approach to meeting consumer need for the different aspects of their work;

AA4 demonstrate competence in enhancing the capabilities of others as a means of informing and improving practice or service delivery;

AA5 demonstrate highly developed skills in strategic networking, negotiation and collaboration;

AA6 demonstrate competence in responding to and managing change in their chosen area, including the ability to respond to unintended outcomes;

AA7 demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the impact of relevant policy, practice and institutions within the European or international context in order to inform practice or service development;

AA8 provide evidence of leadership in their chosen field, including the ability to work independently, and to be accountable, in fulfilling the responsibilities of their role.

5.1 Credits

Credits are units that offer a common measure for the extensive range of social work learning and evidence of achievement. They have three components:

i) credit is awarded according to the level of the learning..... For the AASW it will be awarded to learning that is evidenced at the equivalent of the academic level required for a Master's degree;

ii) second, credit is awarded according to the volume of the learning. Credit should be allocated according to the notional time involved in the question of a particular element of learning. Definitions of notional time should be derived from those current in higher education (see the current edition of The Accreditation Handbook);

iii) and, most importantly, all credit in the PQ framework must be linked ultimately to the requirements for each award.

5.2 (cont.) Accreditation

Because the PQ framework is linked to higher education requirements, opportunities may also be available for candidates to work towards an academic qualification at the same time as pursuing the CCETSW award. Such opportunities will be arranged at local level between PQ consortia and their academic institution partners.

In summary, the attainment of an award in the PQ framework is a result of a candidate achieving all the professional requirements, at the proper academic level, while demonstrating that an appropriate amount of effort and time has been expended in their attainment.

6.2 Registration for the AASW

Candidates may register directly for the AASW or following completion of part or all of the PQSW. Whatever the case, candidates must demonstrate that they have the potential to work at advanced level....

8. Assessment

8.1 Portfolio of Evidence

A candidate must produce evidence of meeting the requirements of [the] award in a portfolio. Such evidence can be generated through learning gained from a taught programme, through work-based learning, or through a combination of these methods.

A portfolio should be viewed as the repository of both the indirect and the direct evidence of a candidate's claims to have met the requirements. Thus where a candidate claims an award exclusively through the completion of one taught programme, for example a Master's degree accredited for the AASW, the candidate's portfolio may consist entirely of indirect evidence (a certificate) that they completed the programme satisfactorily.

In the case of a candidate who claims to have attained some or all of the requirements through work-based experience, more direct evidence of the experience should be contained within the portfolio.

The portfolio should, therefore, either contain direct evidence of the attainment of the requirements claimed or indicate precisely where that evidence is to be obtained.

8.2 Assessment Procedures

All consortia should ensure that they, or the providers of accredited programmes, have appropriate procedures for the assessment of work-based learning. These will include procedures to ensure the appropriate direct observation of practice. A candidate's work-based learning should be:

Where evidence to meet the requirements for an award is accumulated over time, or produced for assessment in stages, portfolios must demonstrate the coherence, integration and progression of the candidate's learning.