ASWB Masters Test Information

ASWB Masters - Association of Social Work Boards Masters Exam:

The ASWB Masters exam, formerly known as the ASWB Intermediate exam, is a licensure examination designed by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and administered by the American College Testing Program (ACT) that is used to determine whether or not an individual has an intermediate understanding of the social work field. This ASWB Masters Exam is one of four tests that are commonly used by local licensing authorities to determine which individuals should become licensed social workers. However, which of the four tests are required to obtain a social work license is dependent upon the particular type of social work you are interested in pursuing and the jurisdiction in which you intend to practice. The ASWB Masters Exam consists of 170 multiple-choice questions, 150 of which are scored and 20 that are not scored, that are broken down into 10 sections.

The 10 sections of the ASWB Masters Exam include:

  • Human Development and Behavior (18%)
  • Diversity and Social/Economic Justice (7%)
  • Assessment, Diagnosis, and Intervention Planning (11%)
  • Direct and Indirect Practice (22%)
  • Communication (7%)
  • Professional Relationships (5%)
  • Professional Values and Ethics (11%)
  • Supervision, Administration, and Policy (8%)
  • Practice Evaluation and the Application of Research (2%)
  • Service Delivery (9%)

The ASWB Masters Exam is scored based on the percentage of questions answered correctly. The exam-taker will receive a final scaled percentage score that will be considered as passing or failing depending upon the standards set by the jurisdiction in which the individual applied for licensure.

The exam-taker will have four hours to complete the ASWB Masters Test. To register for the exam, you must have at least a master's degree from an accredited social work program, no post degree experience, and register for the exam with your local licensing authority. Once you have registered for the ASWB Masters Exam, you will receive a letter with information on how to schedule a testing date at an ACT testing center. The registration fee for the ASWB Masters Exam is $175, however, there may be additional fees and requirements for licensure depending on local regulations.

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ASWB Masters Practice Test

1. You are called to evaluate a 64-year-old male with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He lives in an assisted living facility, and was brought to the emergency room by his daughter. She had taken him to lunch, and became distressed when he refused to return to the facility. He states he wants to live in his motor home, as he resents the loss of privacy at the facility. His daughter confirms he owns a working, fully self-contained motor home (i.e., stove, shower, refrigerator, etc). He has adequate funds. He plans to park the motor home in a nearby Kampgrounds of America (KOA) campground, where all utilities can be hooked up. He can have food and other supplies delivered. However, it is November and it is unseasonably cold. The doctor confirms that the patient is prone to pneumonia, and the daughter states "he will die if he doesn't return to the facility." The patient refuses to consider any other living situation. In this situation, the social worker should:

a.Call the police and have them take the patient back to the facility.
b.Call adult protective services for further intervention.
c.Allow the patient to move into his motor home.
d.Place the patient on an involuntary hold for suicidal behavior.

2. A patient who is described as "oriented times four" (or "oriented x4") is able to demonstrate awareness of which of the following four features:

a.Name, date, city, and season.
b.Age, current year, location, and situation.
c.Name, gender, ethnicity, and marital status.
d.Person, place, time, and situation.

3. Define the terms reliability and validity in evaluative testing.

a.A test is reliable if it is easy to use, and valid if it is commonly used.
b.A test is reliable if it produces consistent results, and valid if it measures what it claims to measure.
c.A test is reliable if it includes Likert scale response options, and valid if it has been endorsed by major research institutions.
d.A test is reliable if it measures what it reports to measure, and valid if it produces consistent results.

4. Executive functioning broadly refers to:

a.The skill and capacity of a leader to lead.
b.Higher order cognitive functions and capacity.
c.Administrative policy and guidelines.
d. A bureaucratic leadership style.

5. As a supervisor in a counseling clinic, you are approached by clerical staff asking how long they should retain patient counseling records. The BEST answer you could give is:

a.Until the client is no longer being seen.
b.Until the patient dies.
c.Until the statute of limitations expires.
d.As long as possible, preferably indefinitely.

ASWB Masters Answers and Explanations

1 - C: Allow the patient to move into his motor home. The patient has a plan sufficient to meet his needs for food, clothing, and shelter. He has the legal right to choose where he wishes to live, even if others are not comfortable with his choice. Calling the police will not help, as they cannot force him to return to the facility. Adult protective services may have a subsequent role, if the patient begins to exhibit marked self-neglect or cognitive changes, but they cannot force the patient either. Finally, the patient is not eligible for an involuntary hold, as he is not placing himself or others in danger based upon a diagnosable mental illness, intoxication, or other substance abuse. Careful collateral planning, however, will be important (ensuring the daughter visits and checks in on him, etc) to try and maximize his potential for success. After coping with the hardships of independent living, he may willingly return to assisted living.

2 - D: A patient who is "oriented times four" is able to adequately identify: 1) himself (person); 2) his immediate location (place); 3) general features of time (day, month, year, etc); and 4) his general circumstances (situation; i.e., in a counseling office seeking help, etc).

3 - B: An evaluative test is reliable if it produces consistent results (i.e., if the same test was administered to the same subjects twice [i.e., "test-retest"], or to two similar groups with similar results [i.e., "split half"], it would produce similar results), and it is valid if it measures what is claims to measure. Consequently, a test may be reliable (consistently producing similar results in test-retest experiments) and yet invalid (failing to measure what it claims to measure. However, a truly valid test will always be reliable. Inter-rater reliability indicates whether the scoring process can be accurately carried out by different individuals using the same scoring procedure.

4 - B: Executive functioning refers to higher order cognitive functioning. Specific examples include: organization (attention, decision-making, planning, sequencing, and problem solving), and regulation (initiation of action, self-control, and self-regulation). Lower order cognitive measures include: orientation to place, registration (recall of new learning immediately or within seconds, such as repeating words or numbers provided), recall (short-term and long-term memory), attention, and calculation.

5 - D: As long as possible, preferably indefinitely. Records serve two purposes: 1) to maintain continuity between clinician-patient contacts; and 2) to document quality care. At a minimum, records must be kept in accordance with your state's statute of limitations. However, you may not be legally protected even then, and certainly not after a patient's death (which could be construed, in some cases such as suicide, as a failure in quality care). Therefore, counseling records should be maintained as long as possible, and the longer the better.

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Last Updated: 09/21/2017


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