Using Portfolios: Integrating Learning and Promoting for Social Work Students

  • Mona Schatz
Keywords: Portfolio, reflection, integration, social work education


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.