Dr. Kathryn Krase, associate professor of social work at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, has co-authored “Evaluating student outcomes in field education through a standardized instrument: The Updated Field Practicum Placement Assessment Instrument (SWEAP 2015 FPPAI)” for Field Educator (Fall 2020). The co-authors are Dr. Dana J. Sullivan (Western Kentucky University), Dr. Kristin Danhoff (Metropolitan State University of Denver), Dr. Brian Christenson (Capella University), Dr. Ruth Gerritsen-McKane (Regis College), Dr. Tobi DeLong-Hamilton (Brandman University) and Dr. Tameca Harris-Jackson (Regis College).

“The SWEAP 2015 Field Placement/Practicum Assessment Instrument is a standardized measure of student attainment in field practicum/placement,” explained Dr. Krase. “The tool is used by field instructors in undergraduate social work programs and in the generalist year of graduate programs to assess student competency across the nine CSWE Core Competencies.”

The current study was designed to evaluate the reliability and validity of the SWEAP 2015 FPPAI. The data for this study included instrument results collected as part of generalist practice field placement evaluation of undergraduate and graduate students from 2015 to 2019. The sample included 4,209 students in 66 different undergraduate social work programs and 795 generalist-year master’s level social work students in 10 different graduate programs.

The team found that a major benefit of the SWEAP 2015 FPPAI is that the time and energy otherwise necessary for developing tools, collecting data and calculating outcomes is done methodically in a system designed by experts in the field. “By using standardized instruments through a mechanized and online process,” noted Dr. Krase, “program faculty and staff can focus instead on the bigger picture of using assessment findings to improve their programs and better support their students.”

The team also noted some limitations to their study: the 4,209 students might not have been representative of students from all CSWE-accredited undergraduate and graduate programs; there are barriers to the use of the SWEAP 2015 FPPAI, most notably the expense and the fact that it is completely online; and it is only appropriate to use it for reporting of student outcomes data for undergraduate social work programs and the generalist practice experience of graduate social work students.

However, the team felt that their study made a significant contribution to the limited body of published research done on the validation of field instruments. “Further research exploring the use of data collected using a singular instrument, but across multiple social work programs,” observed Dr. Krase, “is strongly recommended to improve the assessment scholarship related to the validity of field instruments.”

Leave a Reply