Using vignettes to evaluate the outcomes of student learning : data from the evaluation of the new social work degree in England
MacIntyre, Gillian, Green Lister, Pam, Orme, Joan, Crisp, Beth R., Manthorpe, Jill, Hussein, Shereen, Moriarty, Jo, Stevens, Martin and Sharpe, Endellion 2011, Using vignettes to evaluate the outcomes of student learning : data from the evaluation of the new social work degree in England, Social work education, vol. 30, no. 2, Special issue : Outcomes of social work education, pp. 207-222.
This paper reports the use of vignettes as a methodology to analyse the extent to which the new social work degree programmes enabled students to develop their analytical and reflective capabilities. Two vignettes, which focused on children and families and adult social care respectively, were developed for the study. Students were asked to respond in writing, from the perspective of a social worker, to a standard set of questions at the beginning (T1) and end of their degree programme (T2). Considering the responses to all questions across the two vignettes, a series of scales was developed to measure the key themes which had been identified by qualitative analysis. These included ‘Attention to process of relationships’ and ‘Social/structural/political awareness’. Responses were also rated as ‘descriptive’, ‘analytic’ or ‘reflective’.
Students from six universities in England participated. From an original sample of 222 students, it was possible to match 79 T1 and T2 responses. Analysis of variance demonstrated statistically significant increases in nine of the 11 themes and increases in ratings for analysis and reflection.
In conclusion, vignettes can be used to produce both qualitative and quantitative data in respect of changes in students’ acquisition of knowledge and skills over time.
Article first published online 6th February 2011
Field of Research
160799 Social Work not elsewhere classified 130213 Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio Economic Objective
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
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