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Section 3.09.01: Educational Agreement: Overview

Goals
Field education strives to address and create opportunities for students to develop a working knowledge of the social work profession while integrating values and ethics. The goal is to encourage students to master their classroom learning and integrate this with their field-based professional practice behaviors/assignments under the guidance and supervision of their field instructor. Field-based learning differs from the classroom-based learning in that the experience is more directive, immediate, and personal. Field-based learning is an active and reflective process with a heavy emphasis on participation.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has established specific competencies for social work education. Students are required to identify assignments and provide justification for assignment completion each term, to show how they will achieve proficiency in each competency. Field site assignments should include using the identified practice behaviors as abilities toward which to strive. Practice behaviors are defined as a blend of activities, knowledge and skills. Students will complete an Online Educational Agreement (OEA) every term, and assignments are behaviorally specific, measurable, and developmentally focused. Field-based assignments are progressive to allow students to participate in a beginning-, middle-, and end-stage approach to learning.

OEA are assignments written for students to complete over the course of each educational agreement (1 semester) while in their field placement. Assignments are written specifically for foundation and advanced field. The advanced field assignments will be specific to each pathway in the MSW advanced curriculum.

The OEA includes pre-written, broad assignments that students will have the opportunity to select, with consultation from their field instructor and field faculty, at the beginning of each field semester. Students will justify completion of assignments in field at the end of the semester by writing justifications that include specific activities the student has completed and how it fulfills the assignment, and what they learned.

The assignments have been developed with the following guidelines (below) in place to ensure quality assignments that are applicable to all students. The structure of assignments on the OEA is as follows:

Foundation Assignments (applicable to foundation field only)
• Students will chose one of the 3–5 assignments for each competency, written to encompass
the
EPAS competencies and all of their practice behaviors. Students will end up completing
nine (9) assignments total for the semester, i.e. one assignment per competency.
• By completing assignments, students will inherently meet the competencies and practice
behaviors. Foundation assignments are also written to include the Knowledge and Values
dimensions.
• Students will provide justification of competency assignment completion by providing
information on placement activities that related directly to each competency assignment.

Advanced Assignments
• Students will chose
one of the 3–5 assignments for each competency, written to encompass
the
pathway-specific advanced competencies and all of their practice behaviors. Students
will end up completing nine (9) assignments total for the semester, i.e. one assignment per
competency.
• By completing assignments, students will inherently meet the competencies and practice
behaviors. Foundation assignments are also written to include the Knowledge, Values,
Skills, and Cognitive-affective Processes dimensions.
• Students will provide justification of competency assignment completion by providing
information on placement activities that related directly to each competency assignment.

Guidelines
• Assignments are written in a way that covers the entire competency and its practice behaviors.
This means that by completing an assignment, a student will be able to meet the CSWE EPAS
competency requirements and the competency's practice behaviors in their entirety.
• Advanced assignments are written in a way that covers the competencies and practice behaviors
established by each pathway.

Measurement/Rating of Student Performance of the Assignments
The measurement/rating scale was developed to address concerns related to leniency bias in the measurement of student performance of the assignments and practice behaviors and to create consistent definitions, showing a clear differentiation between each rating, with the goal of improving consistency across field instructor ratings.

Consultation in developing the ratings was received from our faculty experts on measurement. In addition, we did benchmarking with peer institutions and gathered feedback from exemplary field instructors.

Grades are given by field faculty, based on the field instructor's ratings and other assignments related to the field course, including student participation in Field Connections sessions with their UMSSW field faculty. Grades are given as satisfactory (S), marginal (M) or unsatisfactory (U). Satisfactory foundation-level grades require a minimum of emerging competence. It is expected that competency development is progressive and builds over the semesters a student is in field.


Online Educational Agreement
a. The Online Educational Agreement is a collaborative effort between students and field instructors to outline their learning plan and evaluate progress and outcomes.
b. This is a living document: students and field instructors will use the OEA in supervision throughout the term, to identify the learning and document justifications for each of the assignments under the nine competencies.
c. Development and Initial Submission of the Online Educational Agreement:
d. The online Educational Agreement must be completed each term and becomes a contract for field placement.
e. Upon review of the selected assignments and documented justifications, the field faculty may make comments and/or add suggestions for additional learning opportunities.
f. Students should download a PDF copy of their Online Educational Agreement at the end of the term, as they will not be able to access them post-graduation. Alumni should contact the Office of Field Education if they need access to this information post-graduation.

Final Evaluation and Submission of the Educational Agreement for Grading
The OEA also functions as the end-of-term evaluation form. The final evaluation has the following requirements:
Students: Students begin the OEA evaluation process by completing their self-rating and documentation of their field hours. Students will also submit feedback about their field instructor/agency, which will be delivered only to their field faculty for review and discussion with the student to determine next steps if needed.
Students: Key Learning Experience/Project Summary: A key learning experience is a reflection of a field experience (students should have more than one). The key learning experience is submitted to field faculty as a Canvas assignment. Students may choose to share the document separately with their field instructor. The key learning reflection can be submitted as either a written assignment or by creating a video and uploading it. The key learning experience should address:
o
What? - What was your experience; what was your role; where did it occur?
o
So What? - What tasks did you do; what skills and lessons did you learn; and how did it impact you?
o
Now What? - How do you take these skills and lessons and integrate into your professional identity?
Students: It is required for successful completion of the field course that student participate in at least one Field Connections session each term they are in field. Field connections is the opportunity to receive support, guidance and mentoring from field faculty, as well as provide opportunities for students to share field education experiences with other students.
Students: Timely completion of all field assignments and communication with field faculty is an important aspect of the field course grading rubric.
• Field Instructor(s): The field instructor will rate the student on their level of competency of the selected assignments, practice behaviors, and the documented justifications. If there is a secondary field instructor, both will complete the ratings.
• Students and Field Instructor(s) together: Student and field instructor(s) must meet to discuss ratings. Following this, the field instructor(s) will submit their final ratings. We strongly recommend that field instructor(s) submit final ratings at the conclusion of the meeting with the student.




Students and field instructors should contact the OFE office manager or field faculty member if they have any questions about how to use the online Educational Agreement forms.

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