Assessment Forum PWDA

Instructions: Instructions:  You have been asked to help design a career assessment program for your students. What are one or two assessments [formal or informal] you would use with your students? Make one original post and then respond to one classmate’s post. You will make a total of two posts.

20 thoughts on “Assessment Forum PWDA”

  1. ajefferson says:

    I would choose to use formal career assessments for the clients in my program. Because informal assessments are less structured and not tested for reliability, validity, and biases, I’m not fully confident that these assessments would best serve the interest of my program. In order for us to better service our clients, it’s imperative to choose mechanisms that’ll produce the greatest outcomes. The one great aspect of informal assessments is that they’re beneficial in terms of working with diverse populations.

    Abilities tests are good for measuring how an individual would perform in various work-related tasks or situations. It enables a client the opportunity to see whether and how their skill set levels and abilities correspond with those required for the occupation they’re considering. It’s our responsibility as training professionals to set our clients up for success and not failure. These individuals need to know exactly where they stand in regard to actually have the capability to get the job or career they so desire, or whether they need to think about choosing another career path, even though anything’s possible and you can achieve whatever you believe.

    In my organization’s Work Ready program, it’s a requirement for us to give our clients the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) test.

    1. ldube-scherr says:

      I agree with your qualification of the applied use of informal and formal assessments. I would likely utilize informal assessment as an ice-breaker with groups of our students and to ease them towards formal assessment. We have a diverse student body at the college where I work and while they are used to knowledge-based tests because they are in school, they have been less exposed to formal career-focused assessment at the college level. Depending on the student and where they are in their career trajectory (some have well-defined paths they want to pursue while others have no idea what they want to do after they graduate), I would look to interest inventories, abilities tests, and skills inventories formal assessments to help them better understand themselves and to interpret the result to align with and/or define a potential career path.

      As you noted, it’s our job as professionals to set our clients up for success and where they stand so they can make informed decisions.

    2. jwalter says:

      The TABE test is a great tool for the Work Ready and EARN programs since customers have the opportunity to attend Adult Ed classes for their program requirements. The results of this assessment can help staff determine if remediation is necessary before pursuing HSE classes or other trainings.

    3. shellen says:


      I appreciate your perspective on the value of formal career assessments. I agree that while informal assessments have their place, especially in understanding the nuances of diverse populations, the structure and reliability of formal assessments can often provide clearer pathways for our clients. As you’ve mentioned, the emphasis on aligning an individual’s skills with the demands of prospective occupations is particularly crucial. Formal assessments empower clients with self-awareness and offer actionable insights for their career development.

  2. swhitesell says:

    One assessment I would use with students is the O*NET Interest Profiler. Whether the student will continue to college or enter the workforce, this assessment can provide insight into the student’s interests and how those interests translate into a career path. It is a formal assessment that is used in schools (at least my daughter’s) to help students begin thinking about what they want to do after high school. My daughter learned about RIASEC, what the categories mean, and what her interests suggest about her. I believe the O*NET is a great place to start when a student is thinking about their future.
    Another assessment I would use is a Life Values/Work Values assessment. As a Career Coach, I have used this type of assessment many times to start a discussion with a customer about what is important to them in their life and in their work. This would be a great tool to get students to think about what is most important to them and how those values fit into different occupations/career paths. This assessment is an informal, paper-and-pencil activity that lists 24 values in each category and the student is asked to pick up to 8 values in each category that are most important to them. This can also lead to a productive discussion about the student’s future based on their values.

    1. shea.zwerver says:

      You make a good point that the O*NET assessment can be applicable to people who may or may not be pursuing the college path. It is also great to hear that your daughter’s school is using this instrument! And that they have a parent who is so knowledgeable in this area and can help coach their own professional development (kind of like when I was young, how I thought having a hair stylist parent would be the coolest because I could always have nice hair :)). When I was in high school, we didn’t take any such assessments to help guide our career and/or college major.

      I think it is important to remember the vital work/life balance, so I like that you use the Life Values/Work Values assessment. Individuals I work with are mostly coming out of prison and have an urgency to catch up – catch up on earnings lost, skills not gained, etc., so they want to work, work, work. But, if people focus solely on just bringing money in and don’t think about what kind of work is actually fulfilling and what are important life values to them, then they will likely burn out quickly and/or not be as productive as they could in their career.

    2. ajefferson says:

      I think the O’NET Interest Profiler is a great assessment tool for students trying to figure out what jobs/careers they’d like to pursue for their future. If I were working with students this would most likely be an assessment tool that I’d considering using because many times students have no idea, or are confused as to which direction they’d like to go. There are also some adults in my program that have never really worked and have absolutely no idea of what their future interests are; therefore, I guess this tool could probably work for them as well.

    3. dreber says:

      I think the ONet interest profiler is a great tool as well. I mentioned PACareerZone because to me it is a little more youth focused but I feel that ONet has more beneficial information. We also use ONet for the descriptions under careers to work on youth resumes! I think it is important for the youth to try a few different interest profilers to see if their results on all are similar or not. What we usually find is that they are similar if not the same across the different profilers.

    4. mbyrd says:

      I agree with the O’Net interest profiler. This is a good assessment to use for helping students understand their interest and what might be a good career to start out with. This assessment is used often I noticed in high schools and in college to help students learn what the start of their career path would look like. Working in the CareerLink as a person who used to use the services provided, I wish that this was something that was offered to me back then, as this would have helped me make better career choices along the way. I wanted to study law and work in a law firm but could have saved some money if I would have to stuck with social sciences as I am now working in social services as a career.

  3. shea.zwerver says:

    I would the personality inventory such as the VIA Character Strengths Assessment and Holland’s RIASEC assessment.

    Hollands’ assessment is reputable; it is widely used, was a leader in this space, acknowledged by national committees, and published in peer-reviewed journals. Not being intimately familiar with all the theories and assessments out there, having the wider field use the RIASEC assessments makes me feel more confident in using it with clients. I also like the concept it is based on – that certain personalities seek out and flourish in career environments they fit. For example, is you score high on social then you are drawn to career pathways that help, educate, or serve others.

    Similarly, the VIA Character Strengths Profile which I associated as a personality inventory asked a series of questions that I found easy enough to answer, and can be tied to lines of work. One’s results can then inform careers that tend to align with those personality traits.

    1. swhitesell says:

      Hi Shea, I’ve never heard of the VIA Character Strengths Profile so I looked it up. I completed the survey and found the results to be accurate (for me anyhow). As I read on the website, research has shown that those who use at least four of their top character strengths at work are happier with their jobs and feel that they are on the right path career-wise. My top four Character Strengths are fairness, honesty, humility, and appreciation of beauty & excellence according to the profile. The Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence struck me the most. It’s not something that I have seen on other assessments. I do find alot of beauty in many areas of life, but especially work. There is something so beautiful about a job well done – All the components of the job coming together for a common goal. Thank you for sharing this info with us!

  4. dreber says:

    An assessment that I would use with the youth population we serve is the interest profiler on We have limited time with the students we serve so they have a shortened version (either 30 or 60 questions) of the interest profiler on this website. If you have more time with the student you can do the full 180 question assessment as well. Once we gather the results and determine what the students score highest in based off of Holland’s theory we have the students dive deeper into a career. We have them look these careers up in both PACareerZone and ONet. If the students find something they are really interested in we then try to line up job shadows or paid internships. This process has worked out really well for us.

    1. lisamarie.benavides says:

      Yes! I love the and think it’s a severely underutilized tool! I like that there is a shortened version to account for different time slots and think the aesthetic or overall ‘vibe’ of the site decreases some of the anxiety that students have when they are going to complete assessments. I also think it’s great that it ties into the PA CareerLink® account so that if/as they transition into adult programming, it’s all right there for them.

  5. ldube-scherr says:

    I believe Holland’s RIASEC assessment would be an effective instrument for the students to take at the college where I work. Many have a strong understanding of their interests but as emerging creatives, have less awareness of their “type” and how those types can align with potential careers. I think our students would find this very insightful as they transition through college into the workforce.

    Before administering the RIASEC assessment, utilizing informal assessments such as a card sort would also benefit our students. Many are kinesthetic learners and test anxiety is a real issue for them. While I have only completed the sample provided through this course, the self- administered The O*Net Work Importance Locator seems like would be very insightful in helping them learn more about their work values as would other force-choice assessments. They may have taken various career aptitude tests in middle and high school, but as they are more actively pursuing their chosen career path, the results of various current assessments would be more meaningful, relevant, and practical at this stage of their lives and career planning.

    While the college does not yet have a career services office, this chapter was very practical in helping me better understand the various types of assessments (formal and informal), how they tie into the various theories, and some of the pros and cons of each. Additionally, it was very insightful to learn that unless the college hires staff who are appropriately qualified, we would only be able to administer Level A assessments.

  6. jwalter says:

    After reviewing the various assessments, I would incorporate Holland’s RIASEC assessment. This assessment not only offers valuable insight into the individual’s interests but also sets the stage for a relaxed environment. This is a great tool to use initially since some other assessments can be intimidating. The RAISEC assessment is quick, easy to complete, and insightful. When reviewing the results, customers may share information about previous jobs which is beneficial.

  7. mbyrd says:

    An informal assessment is always the best I think and really reminds the clients/Students that this assessment is just helping them and me understand their interest, likes, and dislikes are important when trying to find work or start a educational program. The O’Net exams are great and the one that I took felt like they were repeating questions using different words, I would however try to reframe from doing that and using that method. Its good to maybe ask the question twice just help get the best answer but I think adjusting the data to help narrow down the point to question is best. An example of that would be ensuring that psychometric properties are inline. The text explained that the assessment needed to consider the questions and results are clear and reliable. I think that using Hollands RIASEC assessment is good because our interest help keep us happy and motivated at work. This is most likely the best instrument for students to use.

  8. shellen says:

    When it comes to designing a career assessment program, choosing the right tools is of paramount importance. Assessments should be valid and reliable and cater to the specific needs and aspirations of the individuals taking them. Among various categories of career assessments, one that stands out for its precision and utility is the “abilities test.”

    Abilities tests measure specific skill sets and capabilities to ascertain how well an individual might excel in tasks or roles. Abilities tests can be particularly beneficial for individuals either just starting their careers or considering switching to a new profession. By understanding their inherent abilities, individuals can make more informed career choices that align with their strengths.

    Abilities tests are crucial in identifying and harnessing an individual’s strengths. They act as compasses, pointing individuals toward career paths where they will likely succeed and find satisfaction and purpose. Whether one leans towards formal assessments like the ASVAB or more informal methods, the aim remains to enable individuals to make informed and fulfilling career choices.

    1. jpaldino says:

      I love your idea as it is so thorough, and it makes sense. I would struggle with this as I do now in my day-today life because I am unorganized. So, it is difficult for me personally to get all of the applicants to take the assessment with the passwords and links, then grading them, filing them, interpreting them and so on is really rough for me. But your ideas make perfect sense from a program perspective and of course having a baseline on our people is paramount. Good job!

  9. jpaldino says:

    For designing a career assessment program, I would lean towards a more personal process consisting of a personal interview starting with my understanding my client’s dreams and goals. And asking them to begin to think about having a long-term career path plan in place. Not just looking for a what I call “survival job”. Of course, we may need to get a job like that but that would be a part of the plan not a true-life choice that we should be content with.

    Then I would work backwards from there into skills, talents, traits, likes, and dislikes as they see it not from any testing. I would then cover past job successes and failures. As they saw it. Then move into learning their strengths and weaknesses. Focusing on what they are able to do. The positive.

    From there the program would try and create some scenarios for my client potential career path and job opportunities.

  10. lisamarie.benavides says:

    When designing a program, or beginning to work with a new client, I think I would lean toward starting with a personality inventory, particularly if a client is unsure of where they’d like to begin. This is largely due to how effective they have been in my career development. When I was 25, I completed the DISC assessment that helped me understand who I showed up as in workplace settings in a way that I had not been able to see before. It allowed me to significantly narrow the field of what I wanted to do long term and gave me a much better perspective as to why certain work was potentially more challenging for me. Most importantly, in my opinion, it allowed me to better understand how others worked with different strengths/tendencies creating a much easier path to collaboration. I don’t believe you should solely depend on a personality inventory, however. It is equally important to use assessments to identify where a client is at now skills wise, to determine what they need to do to get where they want to go. I think starting with a personality or even beliefs inventories opens to more natural conversations about the hard things.

    Informal assessments are valuable when a client is uncomfortable with formal assessments or if I feel like a client isn’t getting to the truth of the matter because of confirmation bias or anxiety around ‘tests’. Sometimes, the ice is much easier to break and authentic responses are given when a customer or student doesn’t know the activity they’re doing is an assessment until after it’s complete.

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