Thursday, February 11, 2016

KSA of the Day: "The theories of human growth and development"

We haven't posted about a KSA in a long, long while. But the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities list is still a good guide for help getting a sense of what to expect on the social work licensing exam (it's posted on the ASWB's website, if you want to see it). What's really on the social work exam is never everything on the giant KSA list. Remember, it's a list of possibilities. Among those possibilities are the bread-and-butter, real-world, everyday pieces of social work knowables--those are the ones you can be more certain will show up on the exam. Basic diagnoses, social work ethics, and the like.

Rather than bury yourself in the KSA list and eating up all your time looking for explanations of obscure items in your old textbooks or on the web, we suggest spending that time studying practice questions. If you work your way through enough decent practice tests, you're likely to encounter most of the useful stuff on the KSA list eventually.

That said, for today, let's take look at the very first item on the list: "The theories of human growth and development."

It's kind of broad, isn't it? "The theories." There are lots of theories out there. Which ones are you supposed to actually know? One way to answer: which ones do you already know? Which are the ones covered in your MSW program. Freud? Erikson? Piaget? You've probably encountered each at least a little. If you haven't ever heard of a theory, chances are you can pass the exam without learning it from scratch. The exam is designed to assess the know-how of beginning social workers, not PhDs. And it is "know-how" that's being assessed with most questions, not flash card memorization. If Erikson, for example, shows up on the exam, what's more likely is "A social worker using Erikson's stages is MOST likely to..." ABCD. It's not just memorizing; it's applying.

Here's some of what Wikipedia has to offer on these and several more on it's developmental psychology page.  (You'll recall that psychosexual = Freud, psychosocial = Erikson, etc.) As good a place as any to get started reviewing:
We say this again and again: don't overstudy. A rough understanding of developmental theory is just as likely to help you pass the ASWB exam as a deeper dive.

You've got it covered. Good luck!

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