Learning, teaching and assessment of law in social work education
Innovation in learning, teaching and assessment of law in social work education: How should students be assessed?
The range of methods of assessment is represented in examples given here, which highlight diverse approaches that educators may find useful to adopt or adapt.
Assessed project workOpen
Courtroom observation report - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, School of Social Work
For this paper, students will attend court for at least two hours as an observer. If you are involved in a case as a witness or a party, you should not report on this experience. You may select federal or state court in any locality that is convenient for you. Please describe your experience and what you observed, thought and felt.
Weave into your paper answers to the following questions:
- When and where did your observation occur?
- What kind of case did you see?
- What was the legal issue that the court was deciding?
- Who was present in the courtroom?
- How did the people involved treat one another?
- How did the case relate to social work?
- Did it invoke for you any issues related to social work values or ethics?
- How did you feel about what you observed?·
- How do you think a vulnerable client would feel in the same situation?
Your paper should be 2 to 3 pages long, typed and double-spaced. It should not report on the content of the case (other than where indicated above) but instead should focus on your attitudes, beliefs, feelings and reflective thoughts about what you observed. It should be written in a clear, concise and comprehensive manner.
Coursework - case studyOpen
Coursework case study - University of Bangor
This assignment is in two parts, both of which are based on the following case study.
This case has been assigned to you following referral by a health visitor, who is concerned about Josie and her children. Josie has just been discharged from hospital having had the initial diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) confirmed. She is the single parent of four children aged between 3 and 14, since her husband died in an accident on a building site 12 months ago. Over the last few months Josie has been feeling ill and very depressed by the possibility of longterm sickness. Her mother, Marguerite, has been travelling 10 miles by bus three times a week to help her with housework and shopping. Delroy (14) and Elaine (12) have taken over much of the responsibility of looking after their younger siblings Sandra (3) and Milly (7).
The health visitor is concerned particularly in relation to Josie’s physical and emotional condition and the effects of those on her parenting skills. She is also very suspicious that Josie is smoking cannabis to relieve the pain of the MS. However, Josie denies this and also denies she is unable to cope with looking after herself and the children. The health visitor is also concerned about the pressures on Marguerite, who is in her early 70s and suffers from asthma, and about Delroy and Elaine, who have been missing school. Delroy is under threat of exclusion because of his frequent absences and his aggressive behaviour in the classroom when he does attend.
Part 1 (2,000 words): This part of the assignment asks you specific questions about the law, which you should answer fully, citing the relevant legislation (including sections of Acts) and making reference where appropriate to regulations, policy and practice documents and judicial cases.
- List the main duties and powers, if any, that a social work authority may have in relation to Josie, and discuss how and why you might use them in this case.
- List the main duties and powers, if any, that a social work authority may have in relation to Marguerite, and discuss how and why you might use them in this case.
- List the main duties and powers that a social work authority may have in relation to Delroy, Elaine, Milly and Sandra, and discuss how and why you might use them.
Part 2 (1,500 words): For this part of the assignment you should choose any member of this family and offer a critical discussion about his/her situation, relating the use of law to practice. Your answer should fully consider: conflicting imperatives; compulsion and negotiation; partnership and empowerment.
Coursework case study - Glasgow Caledonian University
It is not enough for social workers to have some knowledge of the legislation that governs their work, without that knowledge being tempered by an awareness of the potential range of its discretion and the potential consequences of its use. This exercise is intended to give students the opportunity to explore some of the complexities of the social work task within the legal framework. It is not therefore sufficient for students to quote the statutory basis without placing this within the overall social policy context, taking full account of issues of racism and discrimination. Students must not only say what legislation applies, but why they have chosen it and what its potential consequences might be.
In your answer to the case study, address the following three issues. These are of equal importance in terms of the requirement to demonstrate an understanding, but this does not mean they will be of exactly equal length. The overall word limit is 3,000 words.
- The statutory law and the range of possible options available to the social worker within the legislation: select the legislation you consider to be the most appropriate response. This should involve some discussion of the wider context within which this decision has been made. For example, if you are suggesting that the child in Case Study 1 should be the subject of compulsory social work intervention, what does research tell us about the possible outcomes of such an action? Are there gender issues? How might the mother’s learning difficulties affect her choices? On the basis of this information, why are you making a particular choice of legislative option?
- Roles and responsibilities imposed by the legislation: having selected the legislative option, you should then examine the roles and responsibilities of the social worker and the agencies involved. There will be combinations of roles and responsibilities imposed by the legislation. For example, you would be expected to state that preparing a report for a court is a statutory responsibility. There are also social roles involved in the collation of the report. How these are discharged will be affected by other issues, including the potential for racism and discrimination.·
- The rights of those involved: in deciding on a particular course of action, a social worker would have to be alert to the rights of service users, their families and the community. This will be influenced by external factors, drawn from wider reading.
Anti-racist and anti-discriminatory perspectives should permeate your work, rather than be 'tagged on’ at the end. The way to approach this is to examine the decisions you are taking and the options you are choosing from an understanding that different groups in different situations experience the legal context differently. For example, how might this affect decision making in relation to a young woman with a disability? What do we know about the impact of poverty on people’s access to the law?
In order to examine the range of issues raised within the questions, you will be well advised to look beyond the basic legal texts. Try to link in with the teaching on other modules to provide a broader range of analysis for your work. If a residential option is inappropriate in terms of a legal option, why is this the case? Would it matter if the person were of a different age, sex, culture, income level? What does the literature say about the issues? Obviously within the word limit set for this assignment you will not be able to explore everything in detail. Where sacrifices need to be made, try to reduce the description and retain the analysis.
Sample Case Study 1: Alan Brown (47) and Sue Smith (23) were referred to the social work department by their GP when Sue was eight months pregnant with their first child. The GP was concerned about Sue’s ability to understand the implications of her pregnancy and the responsibilities of parenthood, as she has learning difficulties. She attends the Resource Centre run by the local authority. When the social worker visited, she found the family home sparsely furnished with poor standards of hygiene and no apparent signs of preparation for the baby. The flat is on the 14th floor of a local authority high-rise block, soon to be renovated but currently damp and draughty. Alan Brown was hostile, insisting they did not need any 'interference’ - they had everything under control and would be able to provide adequately for the child.
Three weeks later the social worker received a call from the hospital, expressing concerns about Sue’s handling of her baby son, born two days previously. They felt she was not feeding or handling the baby properly and was not responding to attempts to help her. Now Sue had been seen by staff to smack the baby because he was not feeding quickly enough when her favourite TV programme was about to start. She had become agitated and frustrated with her son, and staff had had to intervene. When Alan Brown had arrived he had been told of the referral and had become very angry. He stated his intention to remove Sue and the baby from hospital immediately, and had said he wanted to ensure his child did not end up in care "like the others”. A check of child protection records had revealed that he had two children from a previous relationship with whom he was denied contact, having committed a Schedule 1 offence against one of those children. His behaviour at the hospital had become so difficult that the police were called and he was charged with breach of the peace and assault. Sue had told hospital staff she did not feel ready to go home just yet.
Exam - multiple choiceOpen
Multiple choice examination (November 2003) - University of Hull
The duty which is placed on local authorities by Section 47(1)(A) of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 requires them to:
- Assess everyone who asks for assessment
- Assess everyone who appears to them to be in need of a service that they may provide or arrange
- Assess everyone who is referred by a doctor or other professional
- Screen all applicants in order to decide whether to assess them
Which of the attached statements best describes the decision of the House of Lords in R v Gloucestershire CC ex parte Barry?
- Local authority resources were not to be taken into account when assessing need
- Resources were not to be taken into account when the local authority had exhausted them
- Need for services cannot be assessed without some regard for the cost of providing them
- Need is an absolute concept and qualitatively different from questions of resource
A person wishing to challenge a local authority by requesting Judicial Review must normally first:
- a) Apply to the local government ombudsman
- b) Exhaust the local authority complaints procedure
- c) Apply to the social care tribunal
- d) Ask the social worker for a formal review and reassessment of care package
Under Section 4, of the Disabled Persons (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1995 carers are:
- a) Entitled to a service
- b) Entitled to practical assistance in the home
- c) Entitled to an assessment
- d) Entitled to a holiday
Under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 carers have:
- An entitlement to a service
- A right to have their needs assessed alongside that of the person for whom they are caring
- An entitlement to have their needs assessed
- A right to an independent assessment
Under Section 114(1), of the Mental Health Act 1983, approved social workers are appointed by:
- A local health authority
- A local social services authority
- The government
- The government
Admission for assessment (Section 2, Mental Health Act 1983) lasts for a period not exceeding:
- 72 hours
- 28 days
- 6 months
- 6 hours
Before compulsory admission for treatment under Section 3, of the Mental Health Act 1983, the patient must be seen by at least:
- One consultant psychiatrist
- An approved social worker
- An approved social worker and a doctor
- Two doctors and an approved social worker
Admission for assessment in cases of emergency (Section 4 Mental Health Act 1983) may be made by:
- A hospital manager
- A magistrate
- An approved social worker or nearest relative
- The police
Case study examination - University of East AngliaOpen
Candidates have already received the case scenarios excluding the questions and will answer questions from two out of three sections. The percentage of available marks is shown at the end of each question. Copies of UEA Law Files may be brought into the examination. Students are examined in three distinct areas of law - mental health, child care and community care. An example of the type of questions set is given below.
Section 1 - Mental Health Law
- Tamsin (23) has lived with her half sister Alison (28) for the last year. Both women have fallen out with their mother, Sheila, since she disapproves of their partners. Tamsin is involved with her employer, Mike, who has a wife and two children aged three and five years. Alison has a relationship with Maria (25) who works in London during the week and returns to her parents’ home every weekend. Under the Mental Health Act 1983 who is the nearest relative for: (a) Tamsin; (b) Alison; (c) Maria? Give your reasons. (10%)
- Tamsin’s relationship with Mike is volatile and causes her much distress. She has walked out of her place of work following arguments, has gone missing with no memory of where she has been, and has slept all night in his garden to be near him. Mike has suggested the relationship should end but Tamsin has refused to accept this and has threatened to harm herself. She has a history of self-harm. Mike’s wife, on learning of the relationship, has telephoned Tamsin telling her to stay away from her husband. She says that he wants nothing more to do with her. Tamsin has cut her wrists. Although the injury is slight she appears to be out of control, threatening to kill Mike’s wife and children, or herself. Alison is used to Tamsin’s outbursts but is frightened as she feels that this episode is more pronounced than others. She has called Maria’s parents who are now at the house preventing Tamsin from leaving. Alison phones the GP who judges that Tamsin’s mental state requires assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983. Which professionals may be involved? What are their roles? (20%)
- The professionals arrive and undertake an assessment. What must the approved social worker do in order to assess Tamsin under the Mental Health Act 1983? (10%)
- It is decided to admit Tamsin to hospital. Under which section of the Mental Health Act 1983 might it be appropriate to admit Tamsin? Give your reasons and explain why you consider other sections to be inappropriate. (20%)
- When Sheila learns of the situation, she arrives at the hospital in a fury and demands that Tamsin be discharged immediately. What rights do (a) Sheila and (b) Alison have under the Mental Health Act 1983? (20%)
- Tamsin remains in hospital and it is agreed that she requires treatment for a mental illness. What treatments may be given to Tamsin without her consent? Describe the legal bases and processes under which these treatments may be given. (20%)
Integrated law assessment - University of Bristol
The 'Society, Social Need and Social Work’ unit aims to provide students with a beginning understanding of the development of social work, a critical analysis of the ways in which social problems may be constructed and social need and social welfare conceptualised, and an awareness of how these issues link with expectations about social workers’ professional tasks. The unit introduces students to the legislative framework within which social work operates, the major functions of social work agencies in different settings and the profession’s value base. The Unit consists of a series of study group themes and a programme of lectures. Working with a facilitator in study groups of about 12, students will explore issues of social need in society, the role of social welfare agencies in relation to three groups - children and families, older people and offenders. For each group a study theme is provided, which includes study outlines on which to plan a study programme using a range of resources including books, articles, videos and consultations. The study group meets twice a week for 11⁄2 hours.
Assessment of the legal component is undertaken through:
- an assignment in which law must be integrated alongside other components;
- a law assessment task.
a) Sample assignment titles
- Write an essay outlining the reasons why homeless families are housed in temporary accommodation, the problems and needs they face and the role of social work and social welfare agencies in providing assistance.
- Write an essay outlining the impact of disability on family life, the needs of such families and the role of social work and social welfare agencies in providing assistance.
- Write an essay about older people with medical and social care needs who live alone. Outline how and why their needs arise, and the range of ways in which these can be met, including the different roles and perspectives of health and social services. You should indicate how older people’s rights to selfdetermination and independence could be balanced with the duty to provide care.
- Write an essay about the issues in family-based care for older people. This should include relevant policies, the needs of older people and their carers, the relationship between those in need of care and carers, and the role of social work and social welfare agencies in providing assistance.
- Write an essay on the way the criminal justice system deals with women offenders. Outline the problems and difficulties faced by women as a consequence of imprisonment and the role of social work and social welfare agencies in providing assistance.
- A voluntary agency has expressed an interest in starting up a project for unemployed young people on an estate. Write an essay setting out possible reasons why young people offend, and the potential role of probation and social welfare agencies in providing assistance. Your essay should include an outline of the form the project could take.
Marking criteria are that the assignment should:
- meet the requirements of the question
- use clear and accurate English
- be well organised with an appropriate structure
- use and critically evaluate relevant theory, research and literature
- use and critically evaluate relevant policy and legislation
- make effective use of relevant experience and/or practice
- integrate core social work values, including anti-oppressive practice.
b) Sample law assessment tasks
Division of the task within the study group is encouraged. However, each student’s submission must be an individual one.
In relation to the assessment matrix on pages 134/135 of the Area Child Protection Committee’s Multi-Agency Procedures (of which all groups will have a copy), assume you have undertaken an initial assessment on the child/ children described there and answer the following:
- What need code would you allocate and why?
- What level of response/priority would you decide on? What evidence would you require to demonstrate this? Are there any other relevant factors not included in the matrix?
- What would be the 'range and level of services’ appropriate to the needs identified and who might provide them?
- Discuss the extent to which the matrix facilitates a holistic assessment of the needs of children and their families.
- Outline the legal requirements on social services departments to produce individual care plans for people assessed as in need under the NHS and Community Care Act 1990.
- Identify the difficulties likely to be faced by a care manager in drawing up such care plans.
- Discuss the significance of the above for anti-oppressive practice for older people.
- As a group, produce a summary of the contents of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and discuss its provisions. Include in the summary and discussion your responses to questions (2) and (3) below.
- Outline the overall aims and provisions of the Act and provide more detail on the sections of the Act which provide for 'detention and training orders’ and 'anti-social behaviour orders’.
- The Crime and Disorder Act attempted to establish a coherent new approach to work with young offenders. Outline that new approach. Discuss the extent to which it enacts the government’s policy commitment to be 'tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’.
Combining assessment methodsOpen
Because the knowledge and skills to be assessed vary, it is sometimes appropriate to use mixed methods of assessment that test different aspects of learning and together make up a more comprehensive assessment overview.
Mixed assessment methods - University of Lincoln
Professional Practice and the Legal Framework (Level 1): this unit concentrates on giving students practice-relevant knowledge of key aspects of the legal framework, a critical understanding of the debates on applying the law, and skills in finding out about and understanding new and existing legislation. The unit will examine the key philosophy and principles underpinning the legal framework. There is particular emphasis on applying the law in an antioppressive way that promotes service user participation at the highest possible level.
The assessment will be in two parts:
- A series of three multiple choice class-based tests testing students’ knowledge of specific legislation.
- A written assignment of not more than
2,500 words in which students
are asked to demonstrate their understanding
of the legal framework for professional practice
through a response to case material. The assessment
reflect the learning outcomes for the unit,
rewarding evidence of:
- understanding the key philosophy and principles underpinning legislation
- selection and accurate description of relevant legislation
- knowledge of statutory responsibilities and powers of social workers
- description of how the legal framework affects decision making in social work practice
- identification of legal dilemmas and relating these to professional practice
- consideration of how the law can be used anti-oppressively in order to promote service user participation.
Mixed assessment methods - North-East Worcestershire College
Law for Social Work Practice (Level 2): the academic assessment comprises two elements:
- Open book examination to test legal knowledge.
- Written assignment in which students choose one piece of social welfare legislation and plot its route from inception to enactment. They will research its origins (from Private Member’s Bill or Parliamentary Committee) through its passage to statute, looking at objections and amendments to its final stages. They will be required to critically evaluate its intent and purpose, whether the final Act achieves the original aims and whether it is controlling or empowering to service users.
Assessing social work law practiceOpen
Assessment of practice learning outcomes will be undertaken in the context of the national occupational standards. While law is mentioned explicitly in only one of the key roles addressed in the standards, law learning can be more overtly mapped into many others, and used as evidence for developing expertise in line with the standards.
National occupational standards key roles Evidence indicators Prepare for, and work with individuals, families, carers, groups and communities to assess their needs and circumstances Identify authority, the powers and duties related to the reason for involvement, and to the function of assessment Plan, carry out, review and evaluate social work practice, with individuals, families, carers, groups, communities and other professionals Integrate the requirement of legal mandates within intervention plans. Awareness of legal review requirements. Share information in line with legal requirements. Explain people’s rights and also the powers to protect and control Support individuals to represent their needs, views and circumstances Assist service users to participate in decision making. Awareness of the legal requirements for participation. Engagement with advocates. Provide information in accessible formats. Complaints and representation Manage risk to individuals, families, carers, groups, communities, self and colleagues Identify duties to assess. Analyse the legal implications of information collected. Record according to legal requirements. Use legal procedures when balancing rights and risk Manage and be accountable, with supervision and support, for your own social work practice within your organisation Data protection. Interprofessional working. Challenges to unlawful practice Demonstrate professional competence in social work practice Clarity about reasons for decisions. Awareness of legal requirements on decision making, anti-discrimination legislation. Communicate legal frameworks in an understandable format. Review how legal duties are interpreted by courts and perceived by service users and carers
Differentiating between interim and final learning outcomes
Social workers in training must complete a minimum of 200 days in practice in at least two settings. An outline practice curriculum has been published (Ball et al, 1995) but practice assessors have to be clear about what level of readiness for practice is required at different stages of student learning. The following summary (Preston-Shoot, 2000b) is one way of capturing the distinction between different stages of social work law learning and practice.
Interim competence Ready for practice Ability to identify legal concepts and to understand the division between legislation, regulations and guidance Ability to be confident, credible, critical and creative in using social work law and social welfare law Ability to understand the legal framework and the principles underpinning it, in relation to cases Being conversant with the relevant legal rules and skilled in using them Ability to use authority in practice Ability to explain one’s authority to service users and professionals Ability to identify what antidiscriminatory practice requires in a legal context Ability to integrate antidiscriminatory practice with practising social work law Ability to identify the roles of different professionals and agencies, and where these are located in legal powers and duties Ability to manage the interprofessional context of work - negotiating roles, networking and teamwork Ability to use off-the-peg responses to assessment for services Ability to plan an intervention on the basis of assessment; ability to construct individually designed solutions Ability to identify people’s rights Ability to balance the rights of different individuals involved and the interests of society Ability to identify the relationship between legal responsibilities and professional values; ability to identify points of multiple accountability Ability to manage the tensions between welfare and other considerations, such as resources and justice; ability to manage multiple accountability by clarity of which values guide practice in what circumstances and reference to knowledge for informed decisions Ability to collect information and analyse it against the legal mandate and social work role Ability to use evidence in constructing a case; ability to engage in effective advocacy
It is vital that assessment of law learning and application is undertaken in placement. The following are examples of how this can be achieved.
Placement-related assignment - Cornwall college
The Social Worker in the Legal System/Law In Practice: following an academic assessment by examination, students are required to undertake a law-related task during their practice learning placement. This is the preparation of an analytical learning diary.
Students should aim to produce about six entries, depending on the nature and depth of the work they are undertaking from a legal perspective. The intention should be for each entry to focus on a different client, and on the way in which the law impinges on the work undertaken with that client. However, it is recognised that some aspects of the law are likely to be common to many pieces of work the student undertakes, for example, working in partnership. In this case, this aspect should be addressed in depth in one entry and can then be referred to in others.
Students are expected to make their diary entries in relation to work they are undertaking themselves. However, as wide a range of entries and opportunities as possible should be sought and these may include observation of or involvement in work that is not the student’s own, for example, court work, mental health admissions. More than one such entry would be exceptional and should be discussed in advance with the tutor.
The format for the diary entries should include:
- The date
- A brief overview of the work undertaken
- A summary of the legislation that is relevant to the situation
- The way in which the legislation has an impact, or is likely to have an impact, on the lives of the service user/carer/family
- A detailed description of those aspects of the legislation/guidance that the student needed to be aware of in order to undertake the work and/or a detailed description of the procedures, systems and guidelines relevant to what was observed
- A description of what the student actually did and/or a description of what they observed happening in response
- An evaluation of their practice and/or
of the practice observed:
- Was their practice aided by the legislation, or did it impose constraints?
- Were guidelines followed and what impact did that have on the service user/ carer/family and on the aim and purpose of the intervention?
- How did the student view their practice in using the legislation (give examples and critique)?
- What were the value issues/conflicts?
Short answer paper - University of Luton
Social Work and the Law: this module is in part assessed through a short answer paper, which students have 6 weeks to complete. The paper is set prior to the start of the practice placement, with the intention that students use resources and discussion with personnel on placement to assist their research. The paper consists of 23 questions, of which the following are a sample.
- What is the difference between a power and a duty? Give an example of each.
- What is meant in law by the 'burden of proof? Explain the difference in the burden of proof in criminal and civil law.
- Ivy is 15 and has cerebral palsy. She lives with her parents, grandmother and brother. What legislation would inform your work in this situation? What services might be provided? What principles would guide your work?
- Ron is 80 and lives alone in a second-floor flat. He is recently widowed. He has difficulties coping at home and is at risk through forgetfulness and falls. What legislation would inform your work with Ron? What conflicting imperatives might be involved?
- How would you enable a dissatisfied client to complain about services they had received? What is the legislative base for this procedure?
- What duties does the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 place on local authorities?
- Give a brief analysis of your placement agency’s anti-racist and antidiscriminatory policies. How are these connected to the legislation?
- What is the difference between the nearest relative as defined in the Mental Health Act 1983 and next of kin?
- A gay man who lives with a long-term partner requires admission under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983. His mother lives nearby and sees him regularly. Who is the 'nearest relative’?
- In what ways does the Children Act 1989 seek to empower children and young people?
- Under what legislation may the local authority provide residential accommodation and for whom (excluding children).
- Give an example of a 'qualified right’ under the Human Rights Act 1998.
- In what way does the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 add to the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995?
- 14. What are the implications of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights for practice in your placement agency?
Practice analysis - University of Birmingham
Students are required to take one case, or one other significant piece of work from their placement. Ideally, the work chosen should be capable of tracking over time, to allow for recording both the impact of early actions and the development of practice learning. Students may concentrate on the major feature(s) of the case but MUST state explicitly in their answer what other issues have been identified but not addressed.
Distinction between legal powers, official guidance, agency policy and professional responsibilities should be clearly made. Attention must be paid to issues of discrimination and oppression in the operation of the law. Students are advised to consult with their practice teachers on this assignment, particularly in choosing suitable work and to ensure that both knowledge and applicability of the law in practice are adequately demonstrated in the assignment. Please note that accuracy in the area of the law is essential and lack of accuracy will be heavily penalised. Where legislation provides a choice of action for practitioners, students must make explicit what the choice is and why they chose their particular course of action. Answers should contain an analysis of the law and its application to the case and should avoid the use of descriptive listings.
Overall length should not exceed 2,000 words.
Taking responsibility for professional developmentOpen
Given the importance of legal research skills to the ongoing professional task of continuing and updating legal knowledge, it is legitimate to assess how well students have identified sources of information and laid foundations for integrating law within their own future professional development.
Developing the skills for constructing and updating social work law and social welfare law materials (drawn from the postgraduate programme described in Preston-Shoot, 2003)
Students are required to begin the construction of a personal set of social work law and social welfare law materials appropriate to their professional interests. This is to be presented together with a critical discussion of the methods (organisational and editorial) and skills employed. Assessment will test understanding of the range of status of law materials for social work practice and the acquisition and development of the skills necessary for this task.
Establish the social work law subject matter of your collection.
- What classification system have you used? How have you organised cross-references in order to capture overlaps? What choices have you made regarding inclusion and exclusion, and why?
- What materials are you going to collect and which materials are you going to reference?How are you managing issues concerning the bulk and expense of materials?
- How will you update the materials? Materials will need to be updated and obsolete materials discarded. Wrong information can be dangerous.
- The sourcing of materials is crucial. Where will the materials come from and how will you organise access and receipt?Materials from papers, law reports, statutes, regulations, guidance, research reports, inquiries, journals, books.
- How will you use the materials to improve your practice and to disseminate to colleagues?
- Reflecting back, which of the resources that you have collected had been made available already by your practice agency? What might be the implications for practice of the lack of access to law reports, journals covering legal issues, research and inquiry reports, guidance etc?
- What models of good practice can be extracted from the materials collected? Students are asked to present their materials to the student group.
Other assessment toolsOpen
Kearney’s list (2003) of learning to learn tools can be used for assessment:
These can help students to link social work law teaching and learning from the academic curriculum with practice learning opportunities. Specific questions can be asked, for example about parental responsibility or children in need in the Children Act 1989, assessment duties in the NHS and Community Care Act 1990, complaints procedures, or guardianship under the Mental Health Act 1983. Students can then be asked to outline and evaluate their own practice, or of that of their agency, in cases where parental responsibility, children in need, community care assessments, complaints procedures, or guardianship have been at issue.
Students undertake visits to courts, case conferences, placement allocation panel meetings, and reviews. They then complete a report that describes their observations and audits this experience against their knowledge of the legal rules, especially policy and practice guidance.
Students evaluate their learning from statutory functions undertaken on placement.
Research and enquiry
Students undertake a review of the literature on a particular area of practising social work law.
Learning from the perspectives of experts by experience
Students interview and evaluate their learning from experts by experience who have encountered legal rules in action.