SW 685 – Evaluation in Clinical Social Work Practice

SW 685 – Evaluation in Clinical Social Work Practice

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There are two major assignments for this class – a Single System Design Project and a Program

Evaluation Project.

There will also be regular quizzes (3-6) throughout the semester to ensure that assigned readings

are completed and comprehended.

ASSIGNMENT 1: Evaluation of Clinical Practice: Single System Design

The student will design and conduct a single system evaluation of clinical work with a client

system (individual, group, family, agency, etc.) from the student’s field placement. Students

must complete the following steps:

1) Identify the client goal (i.e., behavior to be changed).

2) Identify the intervention (provide an evidence-based rationale).

3) Design a multiple-baseline single system evaluation.

4) Select a practical and valid outcome measure (provide rationale) that can be repeatedly

assessed over time.

5) Implement the design and gather data over a six week time period.

6) Plot a graph of the baseline & intervention outcome phases. Explain your findings and

describe how these findings inform a potential program design within the field agency.

(Addresses SLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9)

Assignment 2 – Evaluation of Clinical Practice: Program Evaluation

Step 1:

During this step of the evaluation students will identify an agency program (e.g., intervention,

prevention) aimed to address an identified client need and assess the extent to which it meets best

practice standards.

 Students should provide a narrative description of the program and the agency (e.g., theoretical model/framework, agency mission, program goals, target population,

community context, need being addressed by the program, length and duration, mode of

delivery etc.).

 Students must then present a comprehensive review of the “best practice” literature associated with the target population’s identified need (e.g., best practices for preventing

teen pregnancy among adolescent girls; best practices for intervening with substance

using older adult veterans; best practices for improving parenting skills and family

functioning). In this section, students must attend to the best practices associated with a

given problem area (e.g. teen pregnancy, substance use, poor parenting skills), as well as

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relevant developmental (adolescence, adulthood, older adulthood) and cultural (e.g.,

race/ethnicity, immigration status, military/war culture) factors.

Step 2:

During this step students will assess program process. That is, students will assess program

performance in the domains of service utilization and program organization. Students should

answer the following questions:

 How many persons are receiving services?

 Are those receiving services the intended targets?

 Are they receiving the proper amount, type, and quality of service? Students will evaluate the extent to which their agency’s program is consistent with best practices.

This section requires specific examples of how the agency’s program is/is not supported

by the best practice literature.

 Are there targets who are not receiving services or subgroups within the target population who are underrepresented among those receiving services?

 Are members of the target population aware of the program?

 Are necessary program functions being performed adequately?

 Is staffing sufficient in numbers and competencies for the functions that must be performed?

 Is the program well organized? Does staff work well with each other?

 Does the program coordinate effectively with the other programs and agencies with which it must interact?

 Are resources, facilities, and funding adequate to support important program functions?

 Are resources used effectively and efficiently?

 Is the program in compliance with requirements imposed by its governing board, funding agencies, and higher-level administration?

 Is the program in compliance with applicable professional and legal standards?

 Is performance at some program sites or locales significantly better or poorer than at others?

 Are participants satisfied with their interactions with program personnel and procedures?

 Are participants satisfied with the services they receive?

 Do participants engage in appropriate follow-up behavior after service?

 Students must provide specific recommendations for improvement based on this evaluation.

Step 3:

During this step students will examine the agency’s current approach for assessing and

evaluating program outcomes and provide specific recommendations for improvement.

 Students will describe the specific target outcomes currently assessed by the agency (e.g., teen pregnancy rate in Broward county; alcohol and other drug use among participants;

parenting skills), the measures/assessment tools currently used to collect this data, the

methods for collecting this data, and the overall research design.

 Students will discuss the extent to which the current evaluation plan meets the standards for effective program evaluation discussed in this course and provide recommendations

for improvement. In this section it is important that students attend to whether:

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o Target outcomes are consistent with program goals and interventions delivered o Assessment tools are valid and reliable o Data collection is a standardized process designed to minimizes bias o Research design is strong enough to allow evaluators to draw meaningful


(Addresses SLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

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Cathy, CS