It is solved by walking!

Print This Post

Message from the CEO

Recently I was reminded of a Latin phrase that many purport to be the key to health, well-being, and solving problems. The phrase solvitur ambulando roughly translates to “It is solved by walking.”

The idea seems simple enough: Walking gives one time away from the rushed pace of life and allows the mind to consider ideas and alternatives that may not have been previously considered. It can calm us physically and emotionally and, maybe most importantly, get us into nature. But I think the most important part of this idea is that we take time to consider solutions and allow them to develop. Walking gives us that opportunity.

photograph of Dwight Hymans
ASWB CEO Dwight J. Hymans, MSW, LCSW, ACSW

Since March, all of us have been walking through the COVID-19 pandemic searching for solutions to problems and issues none of us thought we would need to solve. For ASWB, many of the problems center around the exam. Test centers shut down and  then opened with reduced capacity. Candidates who had testing  appointments canceled have struggled to find new appointment times that worked for them. Our test vendor, Pearson VUE, developed safety and sanitation standards and implemented protocols to keep test-takers safe. Many stakeholders began to voice concerns about safety and advocate for more testing appointments, adding alternative testing options, and waiving exam requirements.

George Floyd’s death in late May brought renewed attention to racism in our country in an overt and urgent way that the health pandemic, with its disproportionate effect on communities of color, could not. The fight against racial injustice has elevated concerns about fairness and equality.

Throughout all of this, ASWB has listened to the concerns. And they are legitimate concerns. ASWB takes seriously the challenges faced by candidates and has consistently sought solutions that balance these concerns with the need to provide an exam that is reliable, valid, secure, and legally defensible. At times we have struggled with what makes sense as we search for the best direction. There are no easy and comprehensive solutions.

One solution being advocated is administration of the exams through an online proctoring process. With technology appearing to solve so many problems and offering so much opportunity, administering the exams online would seem viable—at least on the surface. ASWB has been exploring this method of delivering the exams for several years. We have consulted with experts in the fields of technology and high-stakes licensing exam administration. We have looked at many of the platforms and companies that offer proctored online testing services. Our conclusion? Adding online testing, with or without proctoring, may be an option for the future. But it is not an option at this time. Far too many concerns exist. Unreliable test security can lead to questioning of  the legitimacy of results. Problems with broadband stability and accessibility can produce inequitable delivery and raise questions about consistency of administration.

ASWB will continue to administer the exams in Pearson VUE test centers, where appropriate safety and sanitation protocols are being followed. This is the only way to ensure that exam results are true and accurate. ASWB has a mandate to ensure that every candidate who applies to a jurisdiction to become a licensed social worker meets minimum competency standards. We are committed to meeting that mandate for our members. At the same time, ASWB will continue to walk through this time looking for viable alternative solutions.