ASWB to deepen connection with social work community, continue to listen and learn from diverse perspectives

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The Association of Social Work Boards is committed to embracing the profession’s values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in every step of developing the social work licensing exams, now and in the future. We are also committed to providing high-quality exams that take into account the historically diverse nature of the social work profession, a diversity that is becoming more important every day. To that end, ASWB is embarking on a research-driven process to further ensure that the exams continue to reflect diverse social work perspectives.

Our first step is to strengthen our connection with social work educators and provide them with resources that can help them prepare their students for the licensing exams. As part of this process, ASWB is creating a collection of resources on the examinations and candidate performance designed to provide insight specifically for social work education programs.

The next—and most important— step will be ASWB’s engagement with the social work community, building relationships and identifying the tools that will best help social workers thrive in a regulatory environment that includes a licensing examination. This intentional engagement, which we are calling the Social Work Workforce Coalition, will inform the upcoming practice analysis survey of social workers. With input from Coalition participants and the social work community, we will create a reenvisioned survey of the entire profession, including licensed and unlicensed practitioners. This new survey—the Social Work Census—is set to launch in 2023. The findings of the census will serve as the basis for the new examinations planned for release in 2025.

Our goal is, and always has been, to ensure that the social work licensing exams reflect the current practice of social work, including its ethnic, geographic, scope of practice diversity. We will continue to seek diverse input from the social work profession and engage in a rigorous, evidence-based approach to building the next exams. We are committed to listening and learning together because we want the entire social work community to remain confident in the exam development process.

This work is already under way, and we look forward to sharing more information in the coming months.