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  1. 1. Learning for Practice – a study of post-qualifying social work education Mary Coles: Manager Scottish PQ Consortium Kate Skinner: Research Lead, IRISS
  2. 2. The Context <ul><li>PQ education for SW in Scotland: </li></ul><ul><li>Two levels of award: </li></ul><ul><li>PQSW = 3rd year of degree </li></ul><ul><li>AASW = masters level </li></ul>
  3. 3. PQ Framework aims: <ul><li>Validate professional development of social workers </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure common educational standards </li></ul><ul><li>Give flexible routes and career pathways </li></ul><ul><li>Promote education as base for high standards of service </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanism for assessment of practice </li></ul>
  4. 4. Main points: <ul><li>Awards achievable without going to college </li></ul><ul><li>Based on assessed practice in the workplace </li></ul><ul><li>Can be combined with college work </li></ul><ul><li>Flexible: can be done in slices and linked to work </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition of learning in practice </li></ul>
  5. 5. The PQ Consortium <ul><li>A collaborative body of employers and educational establishments </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible for: </li></ul><ul><li>- Accreditation of professional programmes </li></ul><ul><li>- Assessment of portfolios </li></ul><ul><li>- Quality assurance of both routes </li></ul><ul><li>- Detailed guidance on assessment </li></ul><ul><li>- Support to candidates </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Study <ul><li>Done in two stages </li></ul><ul><li>Stage 1: using database to look at info on candidates, patterns in successful & unsuccessful awards and feedback to candidates </li></ul><ul><li>Stage 2: will call on views of candidates, employers, assessors and mentors to give info on experiences, barriers and facilitators </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Story so far….Registrations 2001 -2008 32% 4 25% 3 13% 2 30% 1 Percentage n = 793 Area
  8. 8. Commentary <ul><li>Number reflects extent to which employers have embedded a CPD culture </li></ul><ul><li>Some employers facing recruitment & retention problems offered rewards (incl. career progression) to those with PQ credits </li></ul>
  9. 9. PQSW Awards (third year of four year degree) 0 0 Awards by portfolio alone 81 101 Awards by prog & portfolio 19 24 Awards by programme 15 125 Total % AWARDS
  10. 10. Advanced Awards in SW (masters level) 37% 4 32% 3 15% 2 16% 1 Percentage n = 128 Area
  11. 11. Commentary <ul><li>Most candidates used programme route </li></ul><ul><li>These mostly in the central belt (more accessible to those in areas 2, 3 & 4) </li></ul><ul><li>Often fitted with preparation for promotion either by the employer or the individual </li></ul>
  12. 12. Awards <5 6 Awards by portfolio alone 1 Awards by prog. And portfolio 30 39 Awards by programme 100 128 Total Per cent Awards
  13. 13. Commentary <ul><li>Greater percentage of successes suggest that at this level motivation is greater, perhaps because progression is much clearer (advancement beyond qualifying level) </li></ul><ul><li>Low number of completions by portfolio suggests that candidates view the portfolio route as more difficult at this level </li></ul>
  14. 14. Collaborative working <ul><li>Required by PQSW but mostly covered in programmes so info difficult for us to access </li></ul><ul><li>Our hunch is that collaborative working is happening but is patchy </li></ul><ul><li>It is hard to do </li></ul><ul><li>Is an area that is relatively un-theorised and under researched, so is not well evidenced </li></ul>
  15. 15. Overall commentary <ul><li>Achieving award by portfolio is very hard </li></ul><ul><li>For some candidates is not the best way </li></ul><ul><li>Need a high level of individual motivation and capacity for independent learning </li></ul><ul><li>Some candidates have no option – geography, agency resources, policy and priorities </li></ul>
  16. 16. Analysis of feedback to candidates <ul><li>Sample: 30 (total 173) = 17% </li></ul><ul><li>14 were Successful </li></ul><ul><li>16 graded Not Yet Competent* </li></ul><ul><li>* Can resubmit </li></ul>
  17. 17. Strengths commented on: <ul><li>Structure, presentation and referencing </li></ul><ul><li>Critical analysis of knowledge base including research </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection on practice, learning & development and explicit value base </li></ul>
  18. 18. Areas for improvement <ul><li>Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Integration of knowledge base </li></ul><ul><li>Structure, presentation & referencing </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of evidence </li></ul>
  19. 19. Analysis of questionnaires from candidates <ul><li>Sample tiny: more to be done on this in Stage 2 </li></ul><ul><li>Will be supplemented by interviews and greater depth of analysis </li></ul>
  20. 20. Tentative findings <ul><li>Factors that helped with PQ study: </li></ul><ul><li>Training programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Home </li></ul><ul><li>Work </li></ul><ul><li>Release from duties </li></ul>
  21. 21. Tentative findings (ii) <ul><li>Factors that hindered (52%): </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in job responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of support at work </li></ul><ul><li>No release from duties </li></ul><ul><li>Sick leave </li></ul><ul><li>None (38%) </li></ul><ul><li>NB Numbers small </li></ul>
  22. 22. Usefulness of mentor <ul><li>Comments: </li></ul><ul><li>Identified requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Supportive </li></ul><ul><li>Gave good feedback </li></ul>
  23. 23. Employers’ role <ul><li>Funding </li></ul><ul><li>Study leave </li></ul><ul><li>Access to educational resources </li></ul><ul><li>Access to educational support </li></ul>
  24. 24. Impact on practice <ul><li>64% reported positive impact </li></ul><ul><li>Mentioned </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to critically reflect </li></ul><ul><li>Apply evidence to practice </li></ul><ul><li>Increased skills and knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Confidence and competence increased </li></ul>
  25. 25. Impact on career development <ul><li>Confidence in applying for jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of CPD for registration </li></ul><ul><li>33% said employer did not recognise or value PQ </li></ul>
  26. 26. Impact on culture <ul><li>40% said it had impacted positively </li></ul><ul><li>Supported CPD development </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraged others </li></ul><ul><li>Contributed to evidence-based practice </li></ul><ul><li>Increased knowledge </li></ul>
  27. 27. Areas for further investigation <ul><li>Is there a link between time since qualifying and difficulties with analysis, reflection and use of theory & research? </li></ul><ul><li>How does this compare with experience of others in different areas and different disciplines? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there messages for us in helping colleagues with accredited CPD – for individuals and for organisations? </li></ul>