“Consistent use of the licensing exams protects the validity and defensibility of the exams for all member boards.” — Lavina Harless, Senior Director of Examination Services
Member boards continue to make progress toward exam use compliance. At its August meeting, the ASWB Board of Directors approved a member board’s waiver request for Clinical exam candidates to sit for the exam after 18 months of supervised experience. The approval was consistent with earlier decisions the Board has made for other waiver requests related to the Clinical exam category.
With this approval, the Board confirmed the due diligence actions of nine boards to be transparent about their use of the licensing exams. Of the nine, five allow test-takers to sit for the Bachelors or Masters exam in the final semester of their degree program and three allow Clinical exam candidates to take the exam with less than two years of supervised practice experience but with the required hours or time period of supervision defined in regulation and/or statute.
In addition, ASWB staff report that of the 26 member boards flagged in 2018 for exam use that fell outside of policy, seven boards have resolved 13 of the 48 concerns noted. To arrive at the list of concerns, staff reviewed member regulations and exam administration data between 2013 and 2018. Types of resolution include jurisdictions making administrative, regulatory, and/or statutory changes to modify licensure requirements to be consistent with exam use policy, and jurisdictions requesting and being granted waivers to administer the Clinical exam after the period of supervised experience defined in regulation and/or statute.
The exam use policy states the intended purpose of each exam and candidate qualifications as determined by the practice analysis, which is the foundation of the exam development process. “Consistent use of the licensing exams protects the validity and defensibility of the exams for all member boards,” said Lavina Harless, senior director of examination services. “When exams are administered to candidates whose experience and education fall outside the parameters established in exam policy, the results may begin to shift so that exam results don’t reflect what the exams are designed to test. As more exams are administered year over year, the potential grows for validity to be called into question without jurisdictional changes to conform to policy.”
With ten months remaining in the five-year compliance time period set by the 2016 Board of Directors, staff continue outreach to member boards with offers to assist them with compliance. In 2020, for example, ASWB staff have held multiple online meetings or conference calls with individual member boards to discuss how members can bring their jurisdictions into closer alignment with the exam use policy. Staff also will be reviewing 2019 examination administration data and regulations to identify whether jurisdictions have made changes to address concerns noted initially.
“Members adopted bylaws changes in 2019 making compliance with examination policies a matter of membership rather than a contractual obligation, which dovetails with the compliance initiative started by the Board of Directors in 2016,” said Jennifer Henkel, senior director of member engagement and regulatory services. “As members transition from contract-based exam use to policy-based exam use, staff are available to help answer questions and support boards as needed. At the same time, ASWB will continue to provide contracts for those jurisdictions that require them.”