Assessment 2: The Code of Ethics in practice

Assessment 2: The Code of Ethics in practice

Due date: 27/10/2019 (mid-way through Module 6)
Format: Word Document 
Word count or equivalent: 3000 words 
Proportion of total marks: 75%  

Specific Skill to be Assessed  

1.     Understanding of the obligations of the Code.

2.     Ability to identify the ethical dimensions of texts such as policy documents 

3.     Ability to analyse and critically reflect upon texts which have implications for ethical practice

4.     Ability to logically construct and articulate alternative ‘solutions’ to such ethical ‘problems’

Learning Outcomes to be Assessed 

1. Develop a framework for ethical decision making through the evaluation of a wide range of materials about moral and social work philosophy, social theory and ethics, with particular focus on assessing their applicability to arrange of practice issues.

 3.  Assess the values, principles, and competing interests influencing professional practice

4.  Articulate a high level of understanding of the AASW Code of Ethics. 


All documents are representative of specific power relations, histories and constructions of knowledge. With this in mind, it is important to critically examine the document that establishes the professional boundaries of social work: the Code of Ethics (AASW 2010). Beneath every code of ethics, however, lie moral principles. There is often a distinction between your personal moral position and your ethical obligations as a social worker, and occasionally your personal opinions will be inconsistent with the obligations that are outlined as part of the Code of Ethics. The purpose of this assessment task is to help you to be aware of all these elements of professional social work practice, and to be able to draw on them for the benefit of the people whose lives you touch.

This assessment task is designed to extend the skills you have developed in critical analysis in Assessment 1, and to help you apply some of the concepts and principles concerning morality which you have learned from the classes and readings, to an area of your practice which you find particularly meaningful.

The assessment has three parts: (A) a description of an issue of relevance to social work practice which is significant in terms of your own values and moral principles, for which you think the Code of Ethics (AASW 2010) does not provide clear or morally sufficient and acceptable guidance; (B) consideration of the implications for the people affected; and (C) a description of how you would address this issue and its implications, providing additional guidance to other social workers by composing alternative or additional text which you would like included in the Code of Ethics.

Task overview

Part A: the issue (approximately 1000 words)

1.   Identify from your own practice a discomfort of some significance, which involves a situation where you have acted in line with your ethical obligations under the Code, but which still leaves you feeling ill at ease. This requires you to read the Code of Ethics (AASW 2010) thoroughly.

2.   This discomfort will be the point from which you begin an exploration of your own values and moral principles. Describe your values/moral principles, including where (you think) they come from.

3.   Explain how they differ from your ethical obligations, that is, from what you think the Code would have you do. This might include a reflection on what you see as the role of social work and social workers, in relation to the issue you have identified.

Part B: the effects (approximately 1000 words)

4.   Consider the impact on the various stakeholders, that is, the people affected by the way the current Code of Ethics treats your chosen issue.

5.   To guide you in this aspect of the assessment it is recommended that you make use of Bacchi’s ‘What’s the Problem Represented to be?’ Question 5 (Bacchi & Goodwin 2016).

Part C: addressing the issue (approximately 1000 words)

6.   Describe the steps you would take in your own practice to mitigate any ill-effects on people which you have identified under the current Code.

7.   Compose a piece of text which you would like to see added to the Code of Ethics (AASW 2010) to offer guidance to other social workers. 

It is expected that you will analyse a situation which impacts significantly on other people besides yourself, that is, that your discomfort is not exclusively about a difficulty you have faced in isolation as a social work student. 

Further Information

More explanatory information, and the feedback rubric, is provided in the ‘Assessment 2’ folder in the ‘Inventory of Extra Resources’.  In addition, a Collaborate session will be held on Saturday 7th Septembe from 1-2 pm (Adelaide time) explaining this assessment; you are invited to post questions in the general discussion forum which you would like addressed in this session, and of course you can ask questions at the time too. If you cannot join in, a recording of the session and PowerPoint slides will be available afterwards. 

Referencing and Academic Integrity

It is essential that Topic readings* are included in your Reference List, as these have been selected for their relevance quality.

Please also note that Social Work uses the latest APA referencing system – you can find guides to this, to Paraphrasing and Quoting and, most importantly, to Flinders’ Student Academic Integrity Policy, in Topic Central.

* Topic readings are all included in the Leganto readings link – this covers weekly readings, literature referred to in lectures, and a general list related to social work ethics. You may choose from this entire list.

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