Strength based assessment is a tool that focuses on people’s strengths rather than their problems, with an aim to move away from categorising the person as the problem and to focus on their strengths and resilience by empowering the client to be the problem solver. It is important for the worker to assist in recognising, organising and enhancing existing strengths and resources. The worker needs to be optimistic about what people can achieve by focussing on the capacities of individuals to be resourceful in different situations. Dennis Saleebey states (Saleebey, 2002) I firmly believe that once committed you will be surprised even amazed, at the array of talents, skills, knowledge, and resources that you discover in your clients–even those whose prospects seem bleak.
For example, a worker could be faced with a client who is a middle aged man with a family and after years of loyal employment with a company, is made redundant. His role as a father, partner and provider is tied up with work. In this case the client could be feeling very helpless. Using a strength based assessment, we can focus on his strengths as a father and provider, rather than focussing on the person as having the problem. Therefore, working with the client in this way will work towards providing him with self empowerment to manage the tough road ahead. Norm-based Assessment
Norms are the accepted social behaviour of a society. The social behaviour is governed by rules and these rules are the norms of that society. Norm based assessments allow you to compare a client’s level of functioning or other characteristics against other people in their particular situation or age group. This will provide you with the information as to where a client sits on a standardised scale. It starts with gathering credible data from a population and identifying the norms regarding attitude and behaviour of concern. For example, a youth may be considered underweight or overweight based on the norms for their height and age group. Therefore by using the norm based assessment we can evaluate the validity of this theory. A study was done on peer weight norm misperception as a risk factor for being over and underweight among UK secondary students. They concluded that “Pervasive misconceptions of peer weight norms may contribute to unhealthy weight-related behaviours and help perpetuate student’s overweight or underweight status”. (Perkins, Perkins, & Craig, 2010) Competency-based Assessment
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To assess and interpret client needs in some areas, you may need to observe clients or have specialists conduct competency based assessment. This may involve using a checklist to observe a client as they undertake specific activities, such as self-care tasks. The checklist helps to assess a client’s skills in a consistent way and across a number of areas, allowing you or others to draw conclusions about their competency in these areas. For example, using the Home and Community Care (HACC) Assessment framework which is a basic home help program funded by the Australian Government. It is for older people who are mostly, but not completely able to live and cope on their own, and don’t yet need higher levels of care at home. To get care at home, a simple and straightforward assessment of the person’s situation will be completed to work out their best options. The HACC assessment, according to Victorian Government Health Information “establishes the expectations and understandings of the person and their carer and sets up the initial pathway through the service system that best meet their needs.” (Victorian State Government Department of Health, 2014)
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Perkins, J., Perkins, H., & Craig, D. (2010).
Peer weight norm misperception as a risk factor for being over and underweight among UK secondary school students. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 1. Saleebey, D. (2002).
The Strengths Perspective in Social Work Practice (3rd ed.).
Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon. Victorian State Government Department of Health. (2014).
Retrieved March 26, 2015, from http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hacc/assessment.htm