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ERIC Number: EJ907040
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1070-5309
A Test of the Validity of the LCSW Examination: "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?"
Albright, David L.; Thyer, Bruce A.
Social Work Research, v34 n4 p229-234 Dec 2010
The authors administered to 59 first-year MSW students the practice test for the clinical-level examination developed by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the latter is used by most jurisdictions to qualify individuals to practice as licensed clinical social workers. To assess the practice test's validity, the authors blanked out actual questions, leaving only four choices (one correct answer and three incorrect ones) and instructed students to select correct answers. On the basis of chance alone, students should have answered an average of 25% of items correct. In reality, they correctly guessed 52% of the items, a statistically significant difference. This suggests that the practice test (said by ASWB to contain items like those on actual examinations) is excessively transparent or guessable and cannot justifiably be claimed to be a valid assessment of competence to practice social work. The authors encourage ASWB to publish in independent peer-reviewed journals a series of psychometric studies on the reliability and validity of the licensing examinations they have developed. The multimillion dollar social work testing industry is big business; both the profession and the public, which relies heavily on the gate-keeping function of these tests, deserve greater transparency and accountability with respect to their legitimacy.
National Association of Social Workers (NASW). 750 First Street NE Suite 700, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-227-3590; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A