The Association of Social Work Boards has developed a battery of four exams to test the knowledge and skills of individuals hoping to earn licensure in social work. The four ASWB exams, listed from easiest to most difficult, are Bachelor’s, Master’s, Advanced Generalist, and Clinical. The Bachelor’s examination is designed for entry-level individuals in possession of a Bachelor’s in Social Work.
The content of the Bachelor’s exam is as follows:
- Human Development and Behavior in the Environment (14% of the exam; includes the theoretical approaches to understanding individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations; human growth and development; human behavior in the social environment; impact of crises and changes; addictive behaviors; and dynamics of abuse and neglect);
- Issues of Diversity (7%);
- Assessment in Social Work Practice (20%; includes social history and collateral data; use of assessment instruments; problem identification; effects of the environment on client system behavior; assessment of client systems’ strengths and weaknesses; assessment of mental and behavioral disorders; indicators of abuse and neglect; indicators of danger to self and others; and indicators of crisis);
- Direct and Indirect Practice (21%; includes models of practice; intervention practices; components of the intervention process; matching intervention with client system needs; professional use of self; and use of collaborative relationships in social work practice);
- Communication (10%; includes communication principles and communication techniques);
- Professional Relationships (5%; includes relationship concepts and relationship in practice);
- Professional Values and Ethics (13%; includes responsibility to the client system; responsibility to the profession; confidentiality; and self-determination);
- Supervision in Social Work (2%; includes educational functions of supervision and administrative functions of supervision);
- Practice Evaluation and the Utilization of Research (2%; includes methods of data collection, research design, and data analysis);
- Service Delivery (5%; includes client systems rights, entitlements, and implementation of organizational policies and procedures);
- Social Work Administration (1%; includes staffing, human resource management, and social work program management).
The exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions, 20 of which are pretest questions that will be used to develop future versions of the exam and they do not contribute to the test score. The minimum passing score is established by the jurisdiction in which the candidate takes the exam. The ASWB examinations are administered at special testing centers throughout the year in locations around the United States.
ASWB Bachelor’s Exam
ASWB Master’s Exam
ASWB Advanced Generalist Exam
ASWB Clinical Exam
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ASWB Bachelor’s Exam Practice Questions
1. The policy of providing Permanency Planning refers to:
- children who are at risk of removal or are removed from their own homes
- the development of a plan through which abused and neglected children will be assured of a stable family situation throughout childhood
- a stable foster care plan for children removed from their homes
- the use of adoption for children at risk
2. DSM IV permits certain diagnoses for mental disorders to be made, even though the diagnosis does not totally fit DSM IV criterion. These diagnoses are normally modified by the word:
3. A social worker and his agency supervisor are sued for malpractice by the family of a teen age boy who made several attempts at suicide and finally succeeded in killing himself. Which statement best reflects the supervisor’s legal status in this lawsuit?
- Since the supervisor was not the direct clinician and had never personally treated the youth, she is not liable for any negligent actions committed by others in the agency.
- The supervisor shares vicarious legal liability and is responsible for carefully monitoring and evaluating the status of every case under treatment by her supervisees, and for keeping records concerning the supervisee’s work on the case.
- The agency is the only legally liable party and the workers are not individually responsible.
- In cases such as these, parents often believe that a finding of negligence on the part of the clinician will reduce their sense of loss and failure. The lawsuit is probably frivolous and neither the worker, nor the supervisor is responsible.
4. A patient presents at an ambulatory care facility and is in obvious psychological distress, showing severe anxiety and paranoia. The clinician is unable to determine the exact configuration of the patient’s symptoms, but is certain that it is an Anxiety Disorder. The worker is unable to determine if the is order is primary, caused by the patient’s severe kidney disease or related to other factors such as the patient’s continuing substance abuse. The most likely DSM IV diagnosis is;
- Anxiety Disorder, with generalized anxiety
- Anxiety Disorder, undifferentiated
- Anxiety Disorder, NOS
- Anxiety Disorder, provisional
5. A school social worker interviews a 15 year old male student with an IQ of 70. Though assigned to slower classes, the student maintains social relationships and is able to respond appropriately to teachers and class mates. His school work is within the range that would be expected for his recorded IQ. He can read somewhat below grade level. and is able to do very basic arithmetic. He is also able to follow instructions and is generally amiable in responding to coaching and correction.
In developing a plan with this student and the family, the social worker would:
- plan for eventual supervised residence in a facility for the mentally disabled
- establish a plan that includes vocational preparation and that will eventually lead to independent living.
- emphasize vocational achievement in the near term
- provide coaching and tutoring to improve his reading
ASWB Bachelor’s Exam Answer Key
1. B: It is the most general answer and describes the broad outlines of the policy’s intention in regard to children at risk.
2. B: This is a fact question and is unambiguous.
3. B: A supervisor is legally responsible for cases under supervision and shares personal responsibility with the supervisee. The agency is also liable since their agents performed the actions leading to the alleged damage.
4. C: This is a fact question. NOS is an abbreviation for Not Otherwise Specified.
5. B: The youth’s functioning seems appropriate for his IQ and his achievement are within normal range. The question refers to the development of a plan and the answer should reflect a planning response. Given the youth’s age and high functioning, it is likely that he can eventually find employment and live independently. This should be a focus of the social worker.