Gatekeeping in BSW Programs

By Patty Gibbs; Eleanor H. Blakely | Go to book overview

15
Psychological Testing as a Tool in Assessing
Undergraduate Students for Admission to a
Baccalaureate Social Work Program
Rose Bogal-Allbritten and Bill Allbritten

The ongoing discussion and debate about the gatekeeping process in social work education raises many questions about the validity of the criteria used in screening out students considered to be unsuitable candidates for the social work profession. While the majority of baccalaureate programs use a formal screening process (Gibbs 1994; Urwin 1991), many programs continue to define admissions criteria in primarily academic terms. Overall grade point average (GPA) and GPA in the major as well as completion of prerequisite courses appear to be the most frequently used admissions criteria. The most frequently cited GPA in Gibbs's (1994) survey of baccalaureate programs was 2.0 (n = 73, 46 percent), while 42 percent (n = 67) required a GPA ranging from 2.2 to 2.75. Since colleges and universities typically set the GPA necessary for graduation at 2.0, it can be argued that the programs “requiring” a 2.0 for program admission are merely accepting the general standard of their college or university rather than making a deliberate decision regarding an appropriate level of academic performance. Relying on GPA as the primary admission criterion poses another problem: what about the student who scrapes by with an average GPA but does an excellent job in the field and is hired by his or her agency? Or what about the student who goes into the field practicum with a high GPA

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