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Social work students do well on national exam

ISSUED: 21 December 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Students who have earned a bachelor of social work degree from Shepherd University have scored well over the past eight years on the national licensing exam administered by the Association of Social Work Boards.

Dr. Doug Horner, professor of social work and chair of the Department of Social Work, said between 2006 and 2008 Shepherd students had a pass rate of 93 to 100 percent, and from 2011-2014 the pass rate was 92 to 100 percent. Statistics for 2009 and 2010 were not reported to the program.

“The pass rate average in the United States from 2006-2014 has been either 70 or 71 percent,” Horner said. “We’re very pleased that our students have done exceptionally well throughout eight years of taking the exam.”

Students who want to become licensed social workers must pass the exam. Horner credits the program’s rigorous curriculum with helping them succeed.

“The program is time consuming and very demanding,” Horner said. “Our field experience, called the signature pedagogy of social work, helps prepare the students. That’s where everything comes together.”

Since 1975, the Council on Social Work Education has accredited the program. Horner said in order to maintain this accreditation students are required to have 400 hours of field experience. But the social work program decided to go beyond the accrediting body’s requirement.

“Our students do 600 hours because we learned from graduates that the last 200 hours do make a significant difference,” Horner said. “That’s when the light bulb goes on.”

Horner said it’s gratifying to know that Shepherd social work students do so well on the national exam.

“We hear from the students routinely who have come back to the area or who have remained here,” Horner said. “They have been very supportive of the younger generation with supervising them in field placements and assisting the program financially.”

Listen to the interview HERE.

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