Continuing our long-standing partnership with the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), HumRRO will conduct a rigorous study that reflects the most wide-reaching, comprehensive investigation of social work practice ever initiated.

The practice analysis will clearly delineate the many diverse tasks social workers perform, the varied settings where they serve others, and the knowledge they need to perform their work competently. This information will play a critical role in helping ASWB fulfill its mission to protect the public by promoting competent social work practice through providing support and services to the social work regulatory community.

To maintain an up-to-date understanding of the social work profession, ASWB follows best practice recommendations by conducting practice analysis updates approximately every five years. In fact, HumRRO completed the last practice analysis update in 2016. The current effort builds upon that work, aiming to capture the tremendous diversity characteristic of both social work practice and the social worker workforce, through a number of activities:

  • Conducting a census of the profession to generate a comprehensive understanding of all social work practitioners, including those who are unlicensed. This work will serve the social work community by fostering a shared understanding of the rich diversity inherent in both who social workers are and what they do.
  • Engaging the social work community by convening a Social Work Workforce Coalition composed of leaders representing professional associations, educators, practitioners, and regulators. Grounded in a keen understanding of recent trends and practice evolution, the Coalition will provide input and recommendations throughout the project.
  • Facilitating a series of community input sessions to foster an inclusive environment and address any questions or feedback ASWB’s many constituent groups have about the practice analysis or the social work licensure exams.
  • Working to identify background factors that could relate to performance on the exam, such as education, experience, and completion of preparatory courses, and building them into the scope of the practice analysis.
  • Fielding a web-based survey throughout the United States and Canada in multiple languages to identify the most important work activities and knowledge domains for each type of social work license. These analyses, along with a mapping of the knowledge domains required to perform each task, and structured input from subject matter experts, will inform potential updates to licensure test blueprints.

Throughout the project, HumRRO will collaborate with ASWB and the Coalition to investigate additional topics that the practice analysis results could inform, such as exam pass rates, exam design and format choices, and the possibility of offering an additional assessment format or path to licensure for candidates who have been unsuccessful on the current examination.

“We greatly value our partnership with ASWB and are honored to be conducting this study,” said Kevin Bradley, Ph.D., HumRRO’s project director. “Social workers’ dedication to serving others amidst many challenges and resource constraints is inspiring, and we welcome the opportunity to help understand the profession through this work.”

Kevin Bradley - Director, Credentialing Services

For more information, contact:

Kevin Bradley

Senior Staff Scientist