Healthcare and Medicine Reference
In-Depth Information
10
Competency-Based Evaluations
CHAPTER 10
INTRODUCTION
In this chapter, we discuss the evaluation of work done by human service
workers (social workers, psychologists, counselors, etc.). Their work often
uses vague treatment techniques and often vaguer goals; hence, managers
often use attendance, completion of paperwork, and other readily mea-
surable work behaviors in evaluation, rather than attempting to determine
the degree to which people are helped with problems that affect their
social functioning (the ability to work, for example). Readers in other
fields may understand from the content of this chapter that it is possible
to measure more-significant work-related behaviors that really cut
to
what workers are hired to do with clients and consumers.
The human services have generally not done a good job of behavior-
ally defining expectation for workers. Some authors argue that what we
do is often difficult to quantify and that, other than agency expectations
regarding easily measurable behaviors such as attendance and report dead-
lines, the clinical work we do is too complex to measure. Witkin and
Harrison (2001) point out that what human service professionals do may
not be open to the same level or type of evaluation used in medicine
because we often act as cultural bridges between systems, individualize
clients in ways that may defy classification and evaluation, and work with
oppressed people whose problems may not allow use of more traditional
evaluative strategies.
We sympathize with this concern, but we don't agree. If we can't
explain the impact of our work to the public at large, our clients, and to
policy makers, how can we expect continued support? If we argue that
what we do is too complex to measure, then we exist outside the defini-
tions traditionally used to define professions. And more to the point, we
ignore the progress made in finding evaluation strategies that actually do
help us measure client change.
This chapter will take a very behavioral approach, one that argues that
if you can't set worker standards for performance and measure how well
workers achieve or surpass
those standards, you can't really evaluate
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