On August 5, 2022, the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) released 2022 ASWB Exam Pass Rate Analysis which offers descriptive data on takers of the social work licensing exam, including state and program-level information. Further analysis is necessary, yet the descriptive data reveal that test takers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color do not pass the test at the same rate as White test takers.
While many of us in social work education have believed this to be true for a long time, the disparities revealed in the data are shocking. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) appreciates the intention to release the data as part of ASWB’s commitment to participating in data-driven conversations around diversity, equity, and inclusion, but we believe the descriptive data released by ASWB to be incomplete and contains flaws.
There are other steps that CSWE believes can be taken to help rectify an egregious harm to the test takers and to our society that desperately needs social work practitioners to reflect the full diversity of its population.
CSWE demands that a full analysis of the data be made available for review beyond the descriptive analysis that has been shared to date.
CSWE also commits to exploring models that eliminate the need for licensure. In many cases, a licensing exam may be redundant because graduating from an accredited program of social work is evidence of achievement of the competencies articulated by the CSWE and the social work education community.
CSWE will collaborate with our social work education and practice constituents to develop a set of recommendations that will support more equitable outcomes.