Accreditation & Assessment

The JMU BSW curriculum is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The JMU undergraduate social work program received initial accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of the CSWE on February 1, 1979, retroactive to the beginning of the 1977-78 academic year. CSWE requires that each program undergo review every eight years and JMU has maintain its fully accredited status at each juncture.

The last Self-Study for Reaccreditation was completed and submitted in summer 2015 to the CSWE Commission on Accreditation. At its June 2016 meeting, the Commission reviewed the report and reaccreditation was awarded for the full eight-year cycle ending in June 2023 with no interim reports required.

Accreditation is important to students as it may be a factor in licensing at the state level as well as for plans for graduate study in social work. Students who would seek Advanced Standing in accredited MSW programs must have graduated from an accredited BSW program. It also facilitates the transfer between universities to ensure that students receive similar content across the nation and thus are able to more easily transfer credits to other accredited programs.

Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards

View the CSWE document

Purpose: Social Work Practice, Education, and Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards

The purpose of the social work profession is to promote human and community well-being. Guided by a person and environment construct, a global perspective, respect for human diversity, and knowledge based on scientific inquiry, social work's purpose is actualized through its quest for social and economic justice, the prevention of conditions that limit human rights, the elimination of poverty, and the enhancement of the quality of life for all persons.

Social work educators serve the profession through their teaching, scholarship, and service. Social work education—at the baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral levels—shapes the profession's future through the education of competent professionals, the generation of knowledge, and the exercise of leadership within the professional community.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) uses the Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) to accredit baccalaureate- and master's-level social work programs. EPAS supports academic excellence by establishing thresholds for professional competence. It permits programs to use traditional and emerging models of curriculum design by balancing requirements that promote comparability across programs with a level of flexibility that encourages programs to differentiate.

EPAS describe four features of an integrated curriculum design: (1) program mission and goals; (2) explicit curriculum; (3) implicit curriculum; and (4) assessment. The Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards are conceptually linked. Educational Policy describes each curriculum feature. Accreditation Standards are derived from the Educational Policy and specify the requirements used to develop and maintain an accredited social work program at the baccalaureate (B) or master's (M) level.

Program Assessment Report for JMU BSW Program (2017-2018)

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the national accrediting body for all baccalaureate- and masters-level social work education programs in the United States. In 2008, CSWE issued a policy statement identifying ten core competencies around which social work curricula should be organized. Accredited programs are expected to assess each student to determine if they are able to demonstrate mastery of the core competencies. The table below reports the percentage of students (including Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 graduates) meeting the set benchmarks, as measured by the Written Comprehensive Examination, the Oral Comprehensive Examination, the Social Work Information Literacy test (SW-ILT) and their final field evaluation.

Percent Meeting Benchmark in 2017-2018

Benchmark data by core competency
Competency Competency Benchmark Percentage of Students Acheiving Benchmark
Identify as a Professional Social Worker 85% 91%
Apply Ethical Principles 85% 80%
Apply Critical Thinking 85% 87%
Engage Diversity in Practice 85% 92%
Advance Human Rights/ Social & Economic Justice 85% 91%
Engage Research Informed Practice/ Practice Informed Research 85% 94%
Apply Human Behavior Knowledge 85% 77%
Engage Policy Practice to Advance Well-Bing and Deliver Services 85% 95%
Respond to Practice Contexts 85% 94%
Practice Engagement 85% 95%
Practice Assessment 85% 90%
Practice Intervention 85% 87%
Practice Evaluation 85% 86%

Scores of 85% and higher are considered meeting the competency benchmark.

Scores of 80 to 84% are considered approaching the competency benchmark.

Scores below 80% are considered not meeting benchmark.

This report is based on data from students graduated in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, a total of 64 students. Each student participated in four assessment measurement activities - the Written Comprehensive Exam, the Oral Comprehensive Exam, the Social Work addendum to the Information Literacy Test, and the Final Field Supervisor Evaluation. On the Written Comprehensive Exam and SW-ILT, a benchmark of 50% was defined as competency. On the Oral Exam, it was a score of 2 on a 5 point scale and on the field evaluation, 3 on a 5 point scale. Each Competency is assessed by at least two of the four measures and percentage scores are averaged between/among them.