Community conversations: Mapping your journey

As part of our ongoing efforts to listen to and learn from the social work community, we are inviting social workers to share their experiences with social work licensing and the licensing exams.

ASWB has engaged HumRRO, an independent nonprofit research and consulting firm, to collaborate with community partners in facilitating inclusive and productive conversations about the social work licensing exams.

Sign up for an in-person community conversation Sign up for a virtual community conversation

In August 2022, the Association of Social Work Boards published an analysis of pass rates on the social work licensing exams that shows differences in pass rates for different demographic groups. The data reflect a multitude of factors that can affect performance on a licensing exam, including educational background, preparation, and length of time between graduation and testing. The differences in pass rates also reflect societal opportunity gaps for historically underrepresented groups.

Closing the gap

Publishing the pass rate data is only the first step in confronting systemic issues. Together we will explore the path forward and reenvision the licensing exam experience.

What is a community conversation?

We want to hear your voice and learn about your experiences. This series of facilitated conversations among social workers is designed to gather information to be used as we develop exams for the future of social work.

How will I benefit?

By participating in a community conversation, you will have the opportunity to share your unique experiences, engage in rich discussions with other social workers, and deepen your understanding of the different journeys of social workers. We will provide a platform for offering feedback on the current licensing exams and identifying factors that contribute to exam outcomes. Each session will center around the test-taker experiences of exam preparation, administration, and outcomes.

Conversations may include:

  • Identifying barriers in the current examination process
  • Exploring how competency should be defined and measured
  • Discussing ideas for restructuring the current exam and the possibility of using additional assessment formats

What is my role?

The role of a community conversation participant is to share your lived experiences. You’ll provide information about your career, educational background, and current circumstances using journey maps to document the motivations, actions, feelings, and challenges you’ve experienced on your journey to becoming a licensed social worker.

Three CE credits will be offered to participants.

Sign up for an in-person community conversation Sign up for a virtual community conversation

What method will be used to facilitate community conversations?

Facilitators from HumRRO will apply journey mapping, a user-centered model, to capture human experiences at specific moments. Journey mapping will provide you with the opportunity to share your unique motivations, feelings, and actions at various points on your social work journey. We will collect feedback on the examination process and brainstorm about possible additional ways of assessing competence.

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What is the facilitator’s role?

The role of a community conversation facilitator is to guide participants through the journey map process, create and maintain a safe space for participants to share their thoughts and ideas, include all voices, listen carefully, and take notes that accurately capture the conversations.

Learn more about the facilitators

Where will the community conversations be held?

To facilitate participation from a diverse range of voices, we will host community conversation sessions virtually and in person for social workers in the United States and Canada. An interactive, self-paced survey option will also be available.

When will the community conversations take place?

Community conversation sessions will take place from January through May 2023. Each session will last approximately three hours and will be scheduled outside traditional business hours.

How will insights and information from community conversations be shared?

ASWB will share highlights and significant findings as part of its next data publication. This qualitative research will help inform ASWB’s initiatives as we continue to develop fair, reliable, and valid exams for the future of social work. Names will not be linked with direct quotes unless permission is explicitly provided by participants.