Masters Thesis

MSW students' knowledge of child development: a comparative analysis of foundation and advanced students

The purpose of this study was to explore the level of knowledge and understanding that MSW students possess in the area of child development. The study was guided using a quantitative method and exploratory research design. Two questions were utilized to guide this study and in the creation of the survey: How knowledgeable are MSW students in the area of child development? And, Is there a difference between foundation and advanced students and their knowledge of child development? A total of 48 MSW students participated in this study. The results indicated that foundation students reported significantly higher perceptions of child development knowledge than advanced students. Nevertheless, both advanced students and foundation students possessed a low level of actual knowledge. These findings are consistent with previous research that demonstrates that professionals often over inflate their perceptions of child development knowledge while scoring lower on actual knowledge. These findings highlight the critical need for ensuring the social workers possess foundation child development knowledge needed for working with vulnerable youth and their families in the many arenas in which social workers operate. Implications and recommendations for practice, policy, and future research are discussed.