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Standard 25

Determination of Candidate Competence

Prior to recommending candidates for a School Social Work Credential, one of more persons who are responsible for the program determine that candidates have satisfied each professional standard.   This determination is based on thorough documentation and written verification by at least one district supervisor and one institutional supervisor.


The PPS Coordinator in the Department of Social Work Education is responsible for recommending candidates for the PPS credential with the specialization in school social work. This recommendation is based on a thorough review of all program coursework and performance in the field practicum as reported by the school site supervisor. Evidence that all requirements have been satisfactorily met is documented in assigned grades and written evaluations of field practicum performance.

Determination that candidates have satisfied each professional standard

In the Department of Social Work Education, the determination of candidate competence is the responsibility of the PPS Coordinator, Andrea Carlin, in consultation with other faculty and the PPS field instructors. The candidate’s satisfactory acquisition of classroom knowledge is measured through exams, papers, class discussion and class projects. It is the faculty member of record who determines mastery and competency of the subject areas taught and conveys this by assigning a grade to the student. At California State University, Fresno, graduate students must maintain an overall minimum grade point average of 3.0 to be in good standing academically. In addition, no course in which a grade of less than “C” is earned may be used toward a graduate degree. The Division of Graduate Studies monitors student adherence to the academic regulations for graduate study and notifies each department of students that have failed to meet graduate study requirements. The MSW Coordinator also reviews student grades each semester to ensure that students have demonstrated satisfactory knowledge and understanding in the required curriculum areas. The PPS Coordinator is informed of any PPS candidates that may be in academic jeopardy.

Evaluation of field internship experience is the most individualized part of the program. It is intended to be an ongoing process of discussion, feedback and assessment between the student, field instructor and the faculty liaison. The evaluative process occurs within the framework of the Department of Social Work’s curricular goals, its mission, and the learning opportunities provided by the PPS credential field placement setting. The agency based field instructor is responsible for the ongoing teaching and evaluation of the PPS candidate and field placement. The field instructors have an M.S.W. and a PPS credential and are certified by the Department Field Review and Certification committee as capable of fulfilling the important role of field instructor. PPS candidates receive a minimum of one hour per week of supervision from the field instructor. Benchmarks used in the weekly supervision include the MSW learning agreement, the PPS learning agreement addendum, the goals and objectives of S Wrk 282/283 (Advanced Field Instructed Practice I and II), the PPS Candidate Handbook and specific learning assignments.

The field instructor, in cooperation with the faculty liaison and the Department of Social Work Education, ensures that the breadth and depth of learning tasks assigned to the students cover all the required competencies for the MSW and PPS program. Evaluation of the achievement of these competencies occurs on an on-going basis in supervision through written assignments, discussions, role-plays, participant observation, and direct observation of the candidate.The faculty liaison provides support to the field instructor and student throughout the field placement. The liaison role in social work is similar to that of the Master Teacher in education. This faculty member provides consultation and advisement to both the student and field instructor regarding expectations, learning assignments, and evaluation through regularly scheduled liaison visits. A minimum of two visits per semester at the school placement sites are conducted by the faculty liaison. These visits may also include observation of the candidate.

At the mid-point and end of each semester, this ongoing evaluative process is formalized in the writing of an evaluation of student performance using the standard department evaluation form for the respective field practicum course in which the student is enrolled. Both the student and the field instructor participate in writing the evaluations. Learning progress is evaluated on a variety of MSW and PPS competencies and goals for the next semester are set. PPS candidates are also evaluated on their demonstration of professional dispositions each semester (PPS Dispositions Evaluation). Finally, at the end of the second year internship, candidates are also evaluated on demonstration of the competencies of the PPS program (PPS Evaluation of Student Performance). The field instructor recommends a grade of Credit or No Credit and forwards the evaluations to the faculty liaison. The faculty liaison reads and signs the evaluations and discusses them with the Field Coordinator if necessary. The Field Coordinator is responsible for the final grade. Candidates are required to perform at a satisfactory level in at least 80 percent of the required learning assignments/competencies in order to receive credit for the field practicum.

At the conclusion of the field practicum in the schools and the MSW program, PPS candidates submit a PPS Portfolio which is a compilation of assignments and evaluations that demonstrate mastery of the PPS program requirements. The PPS Coordinator reviews the portfolio to make a final determination regarding competency for practice in the schools. See the Evaluation of PPS Portfolio Rubric. Evaluation occurs in four content areas: professional development; multi systems practice; PPS competencies; and, evaluations. Points earned for all areas are calculated and a final, overall percentage for performance is tabulated. PPS candidates must achieve an overall performance rating of 80 percent or higher in order to be recommended for the credential. Students who have earned the Master of Social Work degree and who are determined to be competent for school social work practice are recommended to the Credential Analyst for authorization of a PPS credential in school social work. Candidates are responsible for completing all administrative requirements in applying for the credential.

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