How Are We Doing?

BSW and MSW Learning Outcomes and Program Assessment


The School of Social Work has a well‐established culture of evaluating student outcomes and continually assessing, evaluating, and improving our students’ educational experience. Throughout the year, we ask our students, agency supervisors, and other stakeholders to give feedback on many aspects of the School (e.g., advisement services, field program, and agency‐school relations).


The data obtained is reviewed by various committees, recommendations are formed and shared, and the resulting changes are implemented in both the explicit (classroom and field), and implicit (the environment in which the explicit curriculum is presented) curricula.


In this section, you can review:

  • The results from the 2015 Outcome Study for the BSW and MSW programs, and the areas our faculty have targeted for review/improvement;
  • The percent of students meeting designated “benchmarks” for each program; and,
  • How our first-time pass rate compares to the entire population of graduates taking the National Social Work Exam.


How do UW-Madison social work students do: A look at student learning outcomes

Professional Social Work education at UW-Madison concerns itself with preparing highly competent, well-trained social work practitioners at the baccalaureate level (BSW) and master’s level (MSW).


In the BSW program, the focus is on preparing students for generalist practice through their mastery of 10 core competencies as measured by the attainment of concomitant practice behaviors.


The MSW program prepares graduates for advanced practice through mastery of the core competencies and practice behaviors as well as mastery of a set of advanced generalist specialization competencies and behaviors delivered in the context of an area of focus. Beginning in 2016-17 these areas of focus are:

  • Aging;
  • Child, Youth, and Family Welfare;
  • Health; or
  • Mental Health


Competencies: Our students do very well…

Data generated from the School’s Outcome Study and the Field Evaluation indicates the degree to which professional program students have achieved the 10 core competencies. We have set a benchmark of 80% of students achieving mastery of each competency in the BSW and MSW programs.



Click on the images below to view the detailed competency ratings for the BSW and MSW Programs. These files require a PDF reader, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.


BSW Competencies

MSW Competencies


Findings below benchmark become the primary agenda for faculty to improve in curriculum or other pertinent areas.


National Social Work Exam Scores: Our students do very well...

Another indicator of student success is looking at passage rates of the national social work exam by UW-Madison students v. all social work students in other programs. As you can see, our students perform approximately 20% above the national average for these tests.


BSW comparison

MSW comparison


Those who wish to see a more thorough view of the results of our most recent Outcome Study regarding the core competencies as well as program satisfaction data are welcome to view power point slides presented to faculty: Presentation to Faculty on Outcome Study results.


If you have questions or suggestions regarding data you would like to see here, please email to Associate Professor Tally Moses at

Last edited by waheiss on Thursday, July 14, 2016 | Printer Friendly Version