Using Portfolios: Integrating Learning and Promoting for Social Work Students

Mona Schatz


Portfolios are a valuable educational tool to aid in the integrative experience
for graduate social work students. Forty-one graduate students were asked to
evaluate their portfolio experience. A Pearson correlation shows that graduate students
find the experience of developing a portfolio to be reflective of their second year
MSW program (r=.511; p<.01), reflective of their competence as a social worker
(r=.587; p<.01), and reflective of their personal uniqueness (r=.526; p<.01). All students
demonstrated generalist social work practice through the inclusion of materials
reflecting practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, agencies, and
communities. Students also report that the portfolio was a valuable tool to foster integration
of class and field learning (N=24 or 58.5%). Findings reveal that two-thirds of
the students, 68.3%, applied a “medium level of effort” in the development of their
portfolios, yet were able to create a final product that adequately reflected their
uniqueness, their integration of learning, and their competence as a second year student.


Portfolio; reflection; integration; social work education

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