The Council is committed to an outcome-focused curriculum that enables and empowers programs to demonstrate how they would meet specified AASW graduate attributes. Our inclination is to follow international trends and pedagogical approaches that move toward guidance rather than prescription in creating a capability-based framework that includes a strong emphasis on desired graduate attributes. Currently AASW graduate attributes reflect an input-focused curriculum presenting a fundamental problem when reviewing them as they are: not amenable to evaluation with respect to program accreditation; they describe knowledge content rather than being framed as attributes (doing and being); they are inconsistent with the AASW Practice Standards; and it is not clear how they relate to the AQF levels 7, 8 and 9.
There are a number of possible ways forward. We recommend that work be undertaken to develop a coherent and accessible statement that delineates the key qualities of a social worker at graduation. For example, a single graduate attribute could be identified as:
A graduate social worker demonstrates developing identity as a professional social worker, through commitment to and understanding of national and international definitions of social work, professional values and codes of ethics, and demonstrates the ability to meet professional practice standards.
We would welcome the opportunity to work with the AASW to explore this and the benefits and opportunities of developing an outcome-focused framework that could include graduate attributes.