Aug 6, 20222 min
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
Today the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) released a long-awaited report on first-time pass rates (with demographics) for social workers who have taken their licensure test. This has been a long process resulting from years of advocacy from social work organizations (including NASW) and advocates to force a report in which ASWB was not initially willing to release.
The data presented shows the disparity in pass rates for people that have been historically oppressed, particularly for Black test-takers. None of this is ok. The report particularity exposes the inherent bias within the test while showing - in data form - the harm being done to the profession and marginalized communities. The harm that historically oppressed communities have been reporting for years is now confirmed.
The report itself is not enough; unfortunately, ASWB’s proposed remedies fall woefully short of correcting the wrongs perpetrated by an organization that knew about these disparities but, for various reasons (including financial), appears to have looked away. All aspects of the social work community must now come together and propose meaningful changes on how licensure in this profession in Illinois is acquired.
We encourage you to review the report and data yourself. We note that the report mentions that first-time pass rates are better for determining bias; however, the information was written to highlight eventual pass rates, which skews the results. You can find first-time pass rates in the appendixes. You can also find state-specific data on the ASWB Pass Rates website (toward the bottom) and in the graphics here in this post.
As a reminder, Governor Pritzker signed a law sponsored by 2 NASW-Illinois Members - Sen. Villa and Rep. LaPointe - that successfully removed the requirement for LSWs to take the ASWB test for licensure. That change, pushed for by the NASW-Illinois Chapter, resulted in almost 3,000 new licensed LSWs in the first six months of this year – an increase over the 421 LSWs licensed in that same time period in 2021.
We still have more work to do, and we will likely have more to say in the days to come—but for now, we hope you will read the report and join us in creating a better social work profession.
Read the report here: 2022 ASWB Pass Rate Analysis