Welcome to the premiere Ventajas Blog (VBlog) titled Have You Heard??? Here you will find updates on licensing issues and articles that can help build your knowledge and skills for passing the exam. Our first entry will be a two-parter explaining the upcoming changes made by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same (Sort of) – Part I

As of January 1, 2018, ASWB will begin using the Exam Outline and KSAs from their 2017 Analysis of the Practice of Social Work.  As usual, the practice of social work has not changed greatly in the past five years.  If this is the sort of thing that interests you, you can go through the appendices in our Ventajas study books to see just how much has stayed the same. You will find is that the focus of the exam may change a point or two from analysis to analysis, but there are no huge new fields of learning in our profession.

For example in 2018 the Master’s Exam reflects no more than a 3% change in the weights given  the content areas. Content Area I, Human Development, Diversity and Behavior in the Environment decreased by 1%.  Content Area ll, Assessment and Intervention Planning remained the same at 24%. Content Area III was renamed Interventions with Clients and Client Systems. The weight for this area increased by 3%.  The weight for Content Area IV, Professional Relationships, Values and Ethics increased by 2%. This reflects the increased interest in values, ethics and competent practice.

With the Clinical Exam, we see a similar blueprint for the exam, but with some noticeable changes in the percents in the content areas.   Content Area I, Human Development, Diversity and Behavior in the Environment decreased by a large 7% and now constitutes 24% of the exam.  Content Area II, Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment Planning increased by 4% to 30% of the exam.  Content Area III, Psychotherapy, Clinical Interventions, and Case Management, went up 2% to 27% of the exam and Content Area IV, Professional Values and Ethics gained one additional percentage point to represent 19% of that exam.

So, you might ask, “What are the other changes?”  The most obvious is the huge increase in social workers answering the current survey; up from 5,452 in the 2008-2009 survey to a total usable of 23,343 in this survey.  What accounts for this? It is the result of a new dimension introduced in the survey.  In addition to surveying newly minted social workers (no more than three years post MSW) on the tasks they must know how to perform on the first day of the job as well as the criticality and frequency of the task.  ASWB now has added a second dimension.  Social workers as far as ten years post MSW were surveyed as to job knowledge requirements. This component of the survey focused on the theoretical, procedural, and factual information needed by social workers to effectively perform their jobs.

Other observations will follow in the second part of The More Things Change the More They Stay the Same…Sort of. Come back next month! In the meantime, if you have questions or comments about any VBlogs, please reply or send an email to fbbyrd@aol.com.