Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 3rd 2015 Contents B5
Tuesday,November 3, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
If you have ever taken career assess-
ments in high school, chances are likely
that you may have formed a not-too-
complimentary opinion about them. That
is too bad, because when they are select-
ed, administered, and interpreted prop-
erly, they can be a valuable tool in career
Google the term "career assessment," and
you will discover more than 1 million hits!
No doubt about it - career tests are big busi-
ness with billions of dollars being spent annu-
ally on assessments in career transition,
employee selection, training and development,
team building, outplacement, managerial and
executive development, and succession plan-
ning, among many others.
With millions of consumers, companies,
government agencies, non-profits, and edu-
cational institutions relying on career assess-
ments to aid them in meeting their goals, it
is ironic how little about career assessments
is actually understood. Chosen and used
improperly, career assessments yield results
that are no better than an educated guess.
So what are some basic principles about
career assessments that you should know?
Misconception: One career assessment
is just as good (effective) as another.
When you do a search of career assessments
online, you will be inundated with so many
possibilities that you may just be tempted to
stop dead in your tracks and go no further.
Or you may decide to go with the cheapest
one (as in free) or one that has the fastest
turnaround time (such as those available online). But
beware: the vast majority of online assessments that
are free or low-cost are that way for a reason. They
are often authored without any concern for validity or
reliability, or differences in cultures or abilities.
In fact, you could even produce an assessment your-
self! If you go online to www.assessmentgenerator.com,
you can create an assessment test. These self-scoring
tests and quizzes can be fun. They could even prompt
some soul-searching and insight. But they should not
be confused with highly trusted and respected career
assessments like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®,
which have research-based test norms and construction
methods, as well as in-depth validity and reliability
studies to underpin their reputation.
Validity: Why is validity important? It addresses
the question, "Does this assessment measure what it
says it measures? Does it accurately predict what it
claims to measure?" The degree of validity is expressed
as a validity coefficient ranging from 0 (no validity) to
1.00 (100% validity). A validity coefficient above 0.50
means that you can put a reasonable level of trust in
the usefulness of the results.
Reliability: Reliability coefficients, on the other
hand, describe the consistency of test results over time
for the same person, such as in test-retest reliability.
If you as a test-taker were misreading the career assess-
ment instructions or context of a question, for example,
then taking the assessment a second time would likely
alter the results obtained. Usually reliability and validity
coefficients are published in the user manual for a
career assessment. Sometimes these user manuals are
available for download online, and other times you
need to request them directly from the vendor or pub-
Caution... Red Flag: If you cannot find a user man-
ual for a career assessment online or cannot obtain one
from the publisher / vendor, red flags should be flying
in your head. This lack of transparency about how the
assessment was designed and tested and on what specific
normative populations, along with minimal or non-
existent validity or reliability statistics, is serious. Ask
yourself: if the career assessment is as good as the pub-
lisher claims, why are these important pieces of infor-
mation concerning test design, normative populations,
validity, and reliability missing?
If you are a minority or person with disabilities, the
content and phrasing of questions asked in an assessment
may not be relevant to your culture or experiences. You
simply may not be able to relate to the questions well
enough to make an informed answer. That would affect
both the validity and reliability of the career assessment
for you. Check to be sure that the career tests you use
have been researched, written, and formulated based
on populations of people similar to you. Those "nor-
mative populations" are defined in the user manual.
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