Chief social worker Isabelle Trowler has outlined the test which will be used to accredit children’s social workers.
The four stage process was outlined in a letter to participating authorities and will apply to both practitioners and practice supervisors.
Social workers will first have to be endorsed by their employers to take the test, based on observations of their practice and written work.
They will then take an online test, where questions will only have one right answer, on legislation, procedures and child development.
Following this, candidates will then take a scenario-based online assessment of their critical reasoning and decision-making, applying competencies set out in the knowledge and skills statement, before they can move onto the practice simulation.
The final stage will feature three observed practice simulations and candidates must then also submit an essay discussion of the simulated situations and their reasoning behind decisions and actions.
In order to assess the validity of this proposed assessment format, those involved in the pilot stage will also feature employers observing candidates direct practice and comparing their findings with the outcomes of the assessment.
‘Robust and reliable’
In the letter Trowler said: “If the analysis of the assessment proves it to be the robust and reliable system we need it to be, those candidates who reach the accreditation standard will be given a passport to an accredited status once the system has been completed and put in place.
“I can reassure you no candidate will be given a fail mark during this stage and every social worker that sits the assessment will be given a full breakdown of their results and areas where further training may be required.”
She also stated this assessment method would not be appropriate to assess practice leaders. Instead they will most likely be continuously assessed with a peer group dimension. Details of exactly how practice leaders will be assessed are still being decided.