Practice analysis

Before any candidate takes a social work licensing exam, ASWB has done its homework.

  • Exams for the future of social work

    Development of the next iteration of the social work licensing exams will draw on input from multiple sources. Both quantitative and qualitative research will inform ASWB’s work to create exams for the future of social work.

The process of creating the exam begins with a practice analysis, a major survey of the tasks of thousands of practicing social workers. The survey results give ASWB an accurate picture of social work practice and help to establish the categories of exams offered and the necessary content for each exam category.

ASWB conducted its sixth analysis of the practice of social work in 2016, surveying more than 23,000 practicing social workers in the United States and Canada. This survey formed the basis of the current licensing exams, which were released in January 2018.

Licensed social workers participate in every step of the practice analysis. Social workers serve on:

  • An oversight panel of diverse and experienced social workers familiar with all facets of examination development
  • The Practice Analysis Task Force of 20 social workers from diverse backgrounds and practice settings who create the survey, review the results and establish the recommended exam content percentages
  • The passing score study panel of 50+ subject matter experts who assist in determining exam pass points
Photograph of the 2017 Passing Score Study Panel
Passing score study panel