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1996 Job Analysis

In 1995-96, the Association of Social Work Boards undertook a job analysis study in support of its examination program. Essentially a survey of social work practice across the country, the job analysis instrument was sent to a total of 20,000 licensed social workers who had passed an ASWB examination between 1990 and 1994. Responses to the survey guided the ASWB Job Analysis Task Force in developing new examination content outlines that reflect current social work practice at various levels. In turn, the content outlines will determine the nature and distribution of questions that appear on the ASWB examinations.

The job analysis survey instrument consisted of a demographic questionnaire, 160 task statements, and rating scales, and was sent to a random sample of social workers that paralleled the demographic profile of the membership of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Of the 20,000 surveys sent, a total of 3,808 returned responses were determined to be usable. This sample-roughly 20 percent of the total distribution-is within acceptable standards. Qualifying responses were then placed into one of four groups-those who held a BSW degree and had less than five years' experience, respondents who held an MSW degree and had less than two years' experience, respondents with MSW degrees and between two and five years of experience in non-direct practice, and respondents with MSW degrees and between two and five years of experience in direct practice.

Overall importance ratings for each task statement on the survey were determined for each group through an examination of frequency and criticality ratings. Tasks were then linked to Knowledge, Skill, and Ability (KSA) statements to define the components required to perform each task; the relative weight of each KSA was determined; and all KSAs were clustered into logical content areas. These content areas became the components of the content outline for each examination, with the number of test items assigned to each content area based on the total weight and number of KSAs in that area.

The job analysis process resulted in several significant changes in the content outlines for the ASWB examinations. Most notably the content areas representing diversity, communication, professional values and ethics, and service delivery all increased in weight compared to the previous ASWB job analysis and verification study. These changes indicate that the entire social work profession is evolving, and support the need for regular job analyses to maintain the validity of licensure examinations.

To receive a copy of the full Job Analysis report, contact ASWB at 1-800-225-6880.