Mapping the terrain of selection for social work: a critical analysis of policy, theory and research

Holmstrom, Cath and Taylor, Imogen (2008) Mapping the terrain of selection for social work: a critical analysis of policy, theory and research. Social Work Education, 27 (5). pp. 519-535. ISSN 0261-5479

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This paper explores the implications of the changing UK policy and regulatory contexts for the often competing or contradictory interests and agendas operating within the arena of admission decisions in social work education, highlighted by the introduction of the new social work degrees in 2003-04 and the associated care councils. Other contextual factors that impact on admissions to higher education more generally will also be touched upon, including the widening participation agendas; increased requirements for transparency of decision making in the selection process; questioning of the predictive quality of A-level scores; and, concern regarding recruitment and retention issues. A critical review of relevant research into social work admissions processes and outcomes is reported on. The validity of current selection tools is examined utilising research findings from within social work and allied disciplines. The authors argue that the increased spotlight upon admissions and the 'front-loading' of gate-keeping into social work education is both unrealistic and irresponsible as it omits the crucial ongoing role of assessment throughout the process of qualifying education.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This paper, the first UK study of admissions to social work for ten years, maps the policy and professional practice context for an exploratory study (Social Work Education, 2008). The rigorous literature review explores admissions issues in social work and related fields. The paper is significant in light of current national debates regarding registration and suitability issues and resulted in an invitation to Holmstrom to join a GSCC Working Group 'Suitability for Social Work' (2007). The paper provided the basis for two national workshops (2005, 2007) for social work admissions tutors, led by Holmstrom and supported by the HEA.
Keywords: Social Work Education, Social Work Admissions, Selection for Social Work, Gate‐keeping
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
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Depositing User: Cath Holmstrom
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:30
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2012 15:59
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