The Problem of Assessment in Social Work: Practice, Education and Continuing Professional Development

Cooper, Barry (2009). The Problem of Assessment in Social Work: Practice, Education and Continuing Professional Development. Saarbrucken, Germany: VDM Publishing House Ltd.

Abstract

Is social work ‘The Assessment Profession?’ This book argues that assessment is a defining feature of professional social work and it analyses how the power of assessment pervades both individual and institutional practices. Social workers’ roles and tasks are increasingly shaped by the need to carry out social assessments of people’s lives in complex and contestable public welfare environments. At the same time, social workers themselves are subject to assessment of their competence and capability through occupational standards and continuing education requirements. In highlighting social work as uniquely positioned within this nexus of assessment processes, the author offers a historical and contemporary synthesis of ideas that combine the critical social theories of Habermas with the pioneering constructivism of George Kelly’s Personal Construct Psychology. The book outlines an innovative research enquiry which is used to explore the dilemmas and opportunities of practice-based professional learning and offers a ‘conducive’ alternative approach to assessment in social work. This book will be important reading for students, practitioners and social care educators.

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