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Cognitive Development and the "One Foundation" Controversy

W. David Harrison and Charles R. Atherton
Journal of Social Work Education
Vol. 26, No. 1 (Winter 1990), pp. 87-95
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23043213
Page Count: 9
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Cognitive Development and the "One Foundation" Controversy
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Abstract

Accreditation standards for graduate and undergraduate social work programs are based on the policy that there is a single professional foundation. But is this an appropriate policy if the undergraduate and graduate students are quite different in their developmental levels? This study compared the cognitive development of students beginning their social work education at the bachelor's level with that of students beginning at the graduate level. Although the groups were similar in their levels of commitment and empathy, graduate students scored significantly higher in their ability to see situations in more mature and complex ways. If further research supports our contention that graduate students are at a higher level of cognitive development, is the same foundation content (which includes knowledge, skills, values, and experiential learning in the field) appropriate at both levels?

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