Assessment Forum – March 2021 Cohort

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

Remember that our learning group works in a full value environment: We treat our colleagues with respect and professionalism. Our comments should reflect this culture.

14 thoughts on “Assessment Forum – March 2021 Cohort”

  1. Holly Peoples says:

    In our American Job Centers we offer a wide variety of assessments that can be used to assess skills, abilities, and to delve into interest inventories. To get a job seeker started doing career exploration we would have them take the Work Keys Fit test and use that for baseline conversations or the O-Net tools can be very helpful as well starting with the interest profiler. We would also use a TABE test to get a base math and reading level or maybe suplement that with other work keys tests especially if we are going to pay for training to ensure that person has basic skills to be successful in school or whether they may need remediation of some type.

    1. Melina Lopez says:

      My program like yours, provides the same (O*Net, TABE) to my participants. This is done before we can place them in paid work experience, on the job training, or in school programs (training, certificates, associate’s, GED). It can seemed as obstacles to the participants but with explanation and information, they become receptive.

    2. Mari Schupp says:

      I agree with the natural progression to start with a baseline assessment tool to get that conversation going and then to identify where their skills and passions are. Too many times a person believes their interests are in something and then after further discussions they indicate the reason why they are looking at that career goal is because it pays well, it is available now, or they know someone who has done that occupation (“My dad was a firefighter and so was his dad and his dad’s brother”). It may not fit their skill level or overall interest.

      1. Wilma Rivera-Rios says:

        I agree with the fact the clients often believes that their interest in something and later on change their mind. specially, those who are new to the program who are not familiar with the resources, training, education that our program offers. During orientation, we present to the clients all the services we provide for them and for their family as well. After orientation, we take the clients individually to assess, then prepare a plan, do, check and act to guide them towards their goal.

  2. Mari Schupp says:

    Much of the assessments I use initially are informal to get a baseline understanding of what the customer has done in the past, what worked, what didn’t work, why it didn’t work, and what they are very passionate about. This includes finding out what they do on their free time. If someone works on cars on their free time as a hobby but doesn’t feel like they can make enough money in a job, then it needs to be explored a bit more to see if there is an occupation that might give that person some of the car hobby attributes. Although they wouldn’t make enough money working in a auto parts store or becoming a mechanic, maybe they would want to do something that they never thought of such as working on racing tours going into the racetracks in advance and performing work to prepare for the race. There are many positions outside of the obvious positions (those positions that get named when you ask kids what they want to be when they grow up) that could fit the needs of the customer and be something that they didn’t know they wanted to do; identifying those dream positions that are hidden gems becomes challenging, but finding them is when you know you have done your job well.

    Asking them for past history takes those pieces of information and gives you a hazy picture of what has happened in the past and what goals could be set to provide a short or long-term action plan. If something didn’t work in the past, it is good to get that understanding and attempt to remove those barriers, either through supportive services or short term goal planning. Knowing what didn’t work well is as necessary as what worked well. The person also should be able to take that action plan and have a realistic expectation that there may be some training, work experience, or goal setting themselves outside of the immediate action plan that should be tweaked along the way to get to the long term goal. Therefore, it only works if the customer takes ownership of the action plan and uses it consistently throughout the process.

    1. Holly Peoples says:

      Hi Mari, I love the idea of getting a whole person sense for where they have been and where they want to go next. It takes time to develop that relationship and get the details you need to provide some guidance. Painting a picture for yourself and the client in a comprehensive way is helpful to build a set of goals and strategies to meet those goals. Comprehensive Assessment.

    2. Shawna Brooks says:

      I admire how your program is based on the fundamentals of a kid having aspirations to what they want to be when they grow up. I believe it is extremely important to assess the past history of an individual just as much as it is essential to assess where an individual is currently. Helping your client develop and execute an action plan that is realistic is vital to building confidence in an individual to be successful. Those short term goals along the action plan will make an easy build-up towards the ultimate long-term goal within the action plan.

  3. Melina Lopez says:

    My teammates and myself used both informal and formal assessments with our participants. The formal assessments are using the Holland theory (such as RIASEC codes, career exploration-O*Net interest profiler) and TABE test. The informal is through the “biopsychosocial” method.

    The results from the formal assessment such as the O*Net, leads to being informal. This is because as career planners, we explain, educate, and inform about the results to the participants. By doing so, it then allows us to get to know better the participant as a whole (interests, intent, wants, needs, and deficiencies.) With the TABE test, I think it also allows us to conduct and informal assessment. With the results, we can determine and or get understanding where the participant excelled and lacked. This then leads to providing the grade level for enrolment of courses, resources and referrals.

    In the biopsychosocial informal assessment, I am able to meet the participant where he/she is at. It also allows to get to know the participant and their environment.

    1. Debb Brunell says:

      Melina,
      I think you raise the most important point of what we do – the relationship between the career coach and the participant. It is personal and it takes time but it is where we bring the most value. Formal and informal assessments along with conversations and creating an Individual Education Plan all come down to understanding the participant well and providing the necessary support and information they need to make the best decision for themselves. It is the essence of what we do and what ties it all together. Being knowledgeable about all of the tools at our disposal and which tool to use when is what separates the good career coach from the great one. We must never forget the value that basic human relationship skills like listening and understanding can bring to those we serve.

      1. Roy Savoca says:

        As with any coaching situation you need to understand the person you are dealing with. Some people respond better to some methods while other require a different approach. You must always see through ta persons façade and work with the real issues. Just because a person tells you they want to work management does not always mean they want to work management. Deep down they may want to work outside with their hands. It is our responsibility to get to the point where the person lets us see their real desire.

  4. Debb Brunell says:

    As others have indicated, there is no one tool or assessment that can provide the best solution. The best solution comes from a variety of indicators found through assessments, interest, and desire to succeed. Assessments can certainly provide some places to start exploring. I have found that assessments can also become a barrier to those who may most need our services; they can be intimidating for someone with little confidence or low self-esteem. For those that have not been to school in a while, it can be the thing that stops me from exploring real options for fear of failure. We need to frame the purpose of assessments for most customers and explain what will happen and what the information will be used to do. Maybe the assessment shouldn’t be the first thing we go to for evaluation.

    I like the O*Net and the WorkKeys assessments because the focus is on connecting to specific occupations and that can provide insight into oneself. I think we need to do better at fully understanding how to interpret assessment results. We should understand what’s behind the score, how they were determined, and what occupations are similar that could benefit from skills that a client brings with them – transferrable skills combined with interests may provide the best occupation – even if the prior work/skills obtained did not result in a satisfactory career. So many people have skills they don’t know how to articulate or measure and specific, hard skills aptitude tests could help.

    With the movement toward competency-based education and skills recognition like badging or micro-credentialing, I think we are becoming more hyper-focused on the skills actually required to do a job rather than on the assumptions of knowledge that a degree should have provided. These are big changes for education and it won’t come easy, but it seems to be a smarter and more efficient use of someone’s time and resources.

  5. Wilma Rivera-Rios says:

    At JEVS Human Services, we utilize different types of assessments depending on the activities that the client is partaking at the time; either mandatory or voluntarily. We use the assessments to learn more about the individual’s needs, to be able to define, select, design, collect, analyze, interpret, and use the information to prepare a plan to guide the participant towards their goal. We also utilize the assessment to evaluate participant’s performance in the activities designed to develop their skills, plan, do , check, and act in accordance to the information collected.

  6. Shawna Brooks says:

    At the university level, I would design a career assessment program that uses both informal and formal assessments. During the initial intake process we would conduct an interview with the student and complete an informal assessment to evaluate the basic needs and interest to determine the current stage of progress the individual is at. There is less validity to our informal assessment therefore it will be quickly followed up by a series of formal assessment. The formal assessment will evaluate all aspects of the individual including personality, skills , and abilities. Formal assessment would be timed and included a series of well-structured questions to determine that direct needs for that individual based on the results of their skills assessment and career beliefs inventory. They will also complete a personality inventory and ability test. All of these formal assessments will be combined with the informal assessment results and contribute to the plan and progress for an individual development plan.

  7. Roy Savoca says:

    One issue I have with a large number of assessments is questions which the person answers but really does not care about any of the possible answers. For example would you rather do go dancing or to the ballet. What about the person who does not like either? I have found long survey with too many choices solicit invalid results. On a scale of 1 to 10 is too fine a detail. Like, don’t like, or no opinion would result in a more accurate assessment. The O*Net seems to allows an individual to make selections and refine the selections as they progress. I like this as it fits more with my way of thinking, start with a wide area and refine down. The second is the Self Directed Search. This method allows the person to answer Yes/No Like/Dislike. As with any tool the validity of the results must be carefully evaluate and any bias must be eliminated.

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