NOPT holistic assessment - National Organisation for Practice

Holistic Assessment
“ Understanding what a social worker does will only be realised
by taking into account all nine capabilities. Similarly, it is
important that assessment of progression should be made
holistically; neither the nine domains nor the capability
statements set for each level should be evaluated in isolation
from each other” Assessing practice using the professional capabilities framework. TCSW October 20.12
“The ability to move…from the partial to the contextual, and
understand the relationship between the local and the
structural, is what we understand as a holistic approach.” Learning,
Practice and Assessment. Doel et al, 2002
Partial and Contextual
A holistic approach to assessment encompasses both partial and
contextual approaches.
• Partial – a detailed understanding of the various behavioural
competences which constitute practice
• Contextual – at a local level, an awareness of how practice is
influenced by time and place; at a social level, an
understanding of the structural influences on practice
The law of the excluded middle
• Dominant model of Western philosophical thinking – deriving
from Descartes, 17th C. French philosopher
• Cartesian ‘dualism’ – mind/body, good/evil, male/female,
• This dualism can be reframed as a continuum e.g. dawn and
dusk between night and day
• BUT – our understanding is also informed by the wider
context – psychological, socio/economic/political
Holistic assessment – guidelines from
The College of Social Work (1)
• Student progress should be considered as a journey - build on
previous learning, identify future learning as part of their
overall journey as professionals.
Consider the information that you will need to support
your student in their journey – how could you gather
• Assessment should be on-going throughout the placement
and linked to the PCF, resulting from the overall interaction
between student and PE, as opposed to fixed episodes of
How could you ensure that assessment is ongoing?
Holistic assessment – guidelines from
The College of Social Work (2)
• Assessment should supported by evidence, not driven by
it. A range of evidence linked to the PCF should be used –
students will provide evidence but so will others.
Who else might provide this evidence ? How will
you evaluate this evidence and that of the student?
• “Formal interim review” – called different things for
different programmes. This process underpins the ongoing assessment and enables the PE to get support from
the HEI to draw up an action plan.
What should be addressed in the interim review?
What should an action plan contain in order to
support student progress?
Placement Assessment report – TCSW
suggested model
Student evidence
2 x Direct observations
2 x service user/carer feedback
3 x critical reflections
2 x extracts from supervision notes
2 x student work products – e.g. reports, assessments
• 2 x other – e.g. a presentation
Do you think this is sufficient? Are there other things that you
would like to be included?
Practice Educator’s report (1)
An overall judgement of the student’s capability with
reference to the level descriptors to include:
• Capability across all nine domains of the PCF
• Progressive assessment of the candidate’s capability
during the placement
• Any factors that may have affected the student’s
progress during the placement
Comments to be linked to examples of evidence.
Student can add their own commentary.
Assessment report (2)
Holistic assessment of each domain
• Assessment
• Evidence used to support judgement
• Capability demonstrated/not demonstrated
N.B. This is guidance only from the College of Social Work and
the Higher Education Academy – individual programmes may
configure their assessment documents differently.
Do you think that this suggested format meets your
requirements of student assessment as a practice
Further Reading
Biggs, J. (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, Buckingham, SHRE and OU
Donnellan, H and Jack, G (2010) The Survival Guide for Newly Qualified Child and Family Social Workers. London.
Jessica Kingsley
Galpin, D, Bigmore, J and Parker, J (2011). The Survival Guide for Newly Qualified Social Workers in Adult and
Mental Health Services: Hitting the Ground Running . Jessica Kingsley
Knight, P. (2006) ‘The local practices of assessment’ in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 31. (4) pp.
435–452Doel, M., Nelson, P. and Flynn, E. (2008). Experiences of Post-qualifying Study in Social Work. Social Work
Education, 27 (5), 549-571.
Eraut, M. and Hirsh, W. (2007). The Significance of Workplace Learning for Individuals, Groups and Organisations.
SKOPE. Oxford and Cardiff Universities/ESCR Centre on Skills, Knowledge and Organisational Performance.
Cambridge University.
Institute for Learning. Resources from across the Sector:
Moriarty, J (2012). Social Work Post-qualifying courses 1990-2012. Messages about their Development and
Impact. Kings College London and SCWRU
Paulsson, K, Ivergard, T and Hunt, B. (2005) Learning at Work: Competence Development or Competence Stress.
Applied Ergonomics 36. pp. 135-144. Elsevier. Skills for Care (2010)’ We Help to Develop Well Trained Care Staff.
Skills for Care
Skills for Care (2010). Keeping Up the Good Work. A Practical Guide to Implementing CPD in the Adult Social Care
The Higher Education Academy( 1998) The Concept of Capability and its Importance in Higher Education

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