Literature Review Assignment (25% of Course Grade)
The ability to locate and summarize research around specific problem areas is a key skill you will need to develop. The purpose of this assignment is to locate, summarize and synthesize existing theoretical and empirical knowledge about a social work problem area, including intervention or treatment related information. If you do not yet have a field placement, then you may choose to focus on a topic related to mental illness, homelessness, military social work or child welfare, all areas of research focus for faculty at the USC School of Social Work. The assignment has three Sections, including a: (a) Literature Search and Bibliography, (b) Problem Formulation, and (c) Intervention.
2) Quizzes (20% of Course Grade)
There will be 11 in-class quizzes, collectively worth 20% of your course grade. The quizzes will consist of multiple choice, short answer items and vignette-based questions based on your readings and what occurs in class. Quizzes take 10-15 minutes each and will be held during class. Each quiz will be worth 10 points. The score from one quiz may be dropped. If you miss a quiz, you may elect to use your option to drop a quiz score for the quiz you miss, but only one quiz score may be dropped. The purpose of giving quizzes is to have continuous feedback, for you and the course instructor, related to course mastery. Quizzes will aid students and instructors in communicating about topics in which additional support/clarification is helpful.
3) Homework (10%)
Small homework assignments designed to facilitate understanding of class material and in-class participation, and to support the completion of other major course assignments will occur regularly. You will receive credit or no credit for each homework assignment. Credit will be given if clear effort has been made to complete the assignment as designed. One homework assignment related to measurement will be graded and will be worth 5% of your grade. Other homework assignments will collectively constitute an additional 5% of your grade. The instructor will use homework assignments to understand student progress in the class and to provide consultation and support when necessary.
4) Article Critique (20% of Course Grade)
Professional social workers are expected to be critical consumers of social work and other related literature. The ability to read and evaluate the methodology and conclusions from an empirical article is a key skill you will need to develop. The purpose of this group assignment is to read and describe an article including a critical analysis of the literature review, the sampling methods, the research design, the measures chosen, the statistical analysis, and the outcomes and conclusions. The group will complete and post or deliver a presentation regarding the article and each student will complete a 1 page group process questionnaire.
5) Final Assessment Exam (20% of Course Grade)
Students will complete a final assessment exam, which will measure their ability to apply the knowledge acquired during the course. Vignettes and descriptions from published research articles will be presented and students will be asked to answer questions about specific aspects of research methodology including ethics, research design, sampling, measurement, and interpretation of statistical results. The exam will be administered during Finals Week, as per the USC Finals Week Schedule for the cohort. Please check the date of the Final Assessment Exam to ensure your availability.
6) Class Participation (5% of Course Grade)
Students are expected to contribute to the development of a positive learning environment and to demonstrate their learning through written and oral assignments and through active class participation. Class participation should consist of meaningful, thoughtful, and respectful participation based on having completed required readings and assignments prior to class. When in class, students should demonstrate their understanding of the material and be prepared to offer comments or reflections about the material, or alternatively, to have a set of thoughtful questions about the material. Failure to meet these expectations will result in the reduction of grades. Your instructor may provide a rubric for grading participation. Class participation is worth 5 percent of the final grade.
Note: Additional details for each of the assignments are included in the Course Documentation and Due Dates posted on the Syllabus Addendum.
Class grades will be based on the following:
3.85 – 4
93 – 100
3.60 – 3.84
90 – 92
3.25 – 3.59
87 – 89
2.90 – 3.24
83 – 86
2.60 – 2.89
80 – 82
2.25 – 2.59
77 – 79
1.90 – 2.24
73 – 76
70 – 72
Within the School of Social Work, grades are determined in each class based on the following standards which have been established by the faculty of the School: (1) grades of A or A- are reserved for student work which not only demonstrates very good mastery of content but which also shows that the student has undertaken a complex task, has applied critical thinking skills to the assignment, and/or has demonstrated creativity in her or his approach to the assignment. The difference between these two grades is determined by the degree to which these skills have been demonstrated by the student; (2) a grade of B+ is given to work which is judged to be very good―this grade denotes that a student has demonstrated a more-than competent understanding of the material being tested in the assignment; (3) a grade of B is given to student work which meets the basic requirements of the assignment―it denotes that the student has done adequate work on the assignment and meets basic course expectations; (4) a grade of B- denotes that a student's performance was less than adequate on an assignment, reflecting only moderate grasp of content and/or expectations; (5) a grade of C reflects a minimal grasp of the assignments, poor organization of ideas and/or several significant areas requiring improvement; (6) grades between C- and F are applied to denote a failure to meet minimum standards, reflecting serious deficiencies in all aspects of a student's performance on the assignment.