Purpose of Assesment in Social Work

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What are the purposes of assessment in social work?

The aim of this essay is to describe some of the different purposes of assessment in social work and provide some examples. The essay will begin by introducing and defining assessment in a social work context. It will then move on to describe some different examples of assessment in social work. Finally the essay will conclude with an overview of assessment and the importance placed upon it in social work.

Milner and O’Byrne, 2009 and Bartlett, 1970 (see Parker and Bradley 2010, p.1) have acknowledged assessment as a key task in social work practice. This is further recognised in Government Policy aimed at social work education in the teaching, learning and assessment requirements. Education providers must be able to demonstrate that all students undertake specific learning and assessment in the key areas of assessment, planning, intervention and review (Department of Health, 2002, p.3-4). In order to understand the purpose and be able to carry out a good assessment in social work, it is important to understand what is meant by a social work assessment. The Cambridge Dictionaries Online definition of assessment states “when you judge or decide the amount, value, quality or importance of something, or the judgment or decision that is made”(www.dictionary.cambridge.org[02/11/12]). The dictionary definition of assessment gives an understanding of the term in relation to making a judgement or evaluation against a standard. In terms of social work however, the definition does not include the human interactive context (see Parker and Bradley, 2010, p.3). Parker and Bradley also go on to state that within social work it is the person’s potential for growth and change that is being assessed and not their worth.

There are various purposes of assessment in social work which will initially conclude to describe, explain, predict, evaluate and prescribe or suggest methods of intervention (Parker and Bradley, 2010,...
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