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World of Work Inventory and Instruments

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Adult Basic Learning Examination, (ABLE)

This instrument is used to assess the basic educational achievement of adults, although it is most useful for adults with less than an Associate degree. The instrument tests six different achievement areas: Vocabulary, Reading Comprehension, Spelling, Language (grammar and punctuation), Number Operations, and Problem Solving.

Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a series of assessment instruments that measure Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, General Science, Auto and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics Information, Numerical Operations, and Coding Speed. In addition, the ASVAB contains the "The Self Directed Search" assessment device (described below). The results of the test are useful in determining the candidate's suitability for military and nonmilitary careers. The ASVAB is most often used with senior high and post secondary students. Because it is offered to schools without charge, it is a popular instrument in many school districts. It is worth pointing out that the ASVAB has been criticized because of the timed nature of the instrument and the bias that results for persons with some disabilities.

Differential Aptitude Test (DAT) with Career Interest Inventory (CII)

The DAT is comprised of eight subtests, measuring Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, Perceptual Speed and Accuracy, Mechanical Reasoning, Space Relations, Spelling, and Language Usage. The CII measures interests in the following categories: Social Science, Clerical Services, Health Services, Agriculture, Customer Services, Fine Arts, Mathematics and Science, Building Trades, Educational Services, Legal Services, Transportation, Sales, Management, Bench work, and Machine Operation. The test is most often used with secondary students through adults.

Tests of Adult Basic Education (TABE)

This instrument is constructed to assess basic skills in reading, mathematics, and language. The TABE is used primarily among individuals age 16 and over.

United States Employment Service General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB) and Interest Inventory (USES II)

This instrument is used broadly among government employment and labor agencies. Designed to assess individuals age 16 and older, the instrument contains both an aptitude assessment and an interest inventory. The GATB measures the following aptitudes: General, Verbal, Numerical, Spatial, Form Perception, Clerical Perception, Motor Coordination, Finger Dexterity, and Manual Dexterity. When combined with the USES II, the GATB is the most extensively researched vocational assessment instrument available. It should be noted that the GATB, like the ASVAB, has been criticized because of the timed nature of the instrument and the bias that results for persons with some disabilities.

World of Work Inventory

This instrument is appropriate for high school through adult populations. In addition to measuring interests according to the broad Dictionary of Occupational Titles classifications, it provides Vocational Training Potentials in the areas of Numerical, Verbal, Abstractions, Spatial Form, Mechanical/Electrical, and Clerical. The WOWI has several different forms: long and short forms, a Spanish language form, as well as small font and normal font printing. The WOWI is not timed, but there are suggested time frames for its administration.

Interest Inventories

While the preceding assessment instruments help to measure your aptitude for doing certain tasks, interest inventories help you to identify some of the things you enjoy doing or ways in which your personality may play a role in your career satisfaction.

Career Directions Inventory

This interest inventory is used most often with high school and postsecondary students, although it is often used as a career planning instrument for the general adult population. It measures an individual's interest within 15 basic interest areas: Administration, Art, Clerical, Food Service, Industrial Arts, Health Service, Outdoors, Personal Service, Sales, Science and Technology, Teaching/Social Service, Writing, Assertive, Persuasive, and Systematic.

Career Occupational Preference System Interest Inventory (COPS)

The COPS is used primarily with secondary students and adults. The instrument provides scores for career clusters in the following areas: Science (Professional and Skilled), Technology (Professional and Skilled), Consumer Electronics, Outdoors, Business (Professional and Skilled), Clerical, Communication, Arts (Professional and Skilled), and Service (Professional and Skilled). The COPS provides separate scoring categories to show you how secondary students scored, as opposed to adults.

Harrington O'Shea Career Decision Making System Revised (CDM R)

The Harrington O'Shea is a popular instrument for use with college students and adults; however, it is also used widely with secondary school students. The instrument contains six sections. There are sections dedicated to Job Choices, Favorite Subjects (Academic), Future Training, Values, Best Abilities, and an interest inventory. The interest inventory is based upon the theory of John Holland (see the next section, "The Self Directed Search"). It reports scores for six basic occupational categories: Crafts, Scientific, The Arts, Social, Business, and Office Operations.

The Self Directed Search

There are several versions of The Self Directed Search: for middle and secondary school students and adults with limited reading abilities, college students, and adults. The Self Directed Search, designed by John Holland, is one of the most popular career interest inventories in use in the world. It is based on Holland's theory that there are six basic personality types: Creative, Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, and Enterprising. The theory also assumes that there are six corresponding work environments, and that individuals will find "person environment fit" in work environments that most closely match their personality.

Strong Interest Inventory

The Strong Interest Inventory is useful in assessing the career interests of individuals from middle school through adulthood. The instrument reports a score for the six areas of interest described by John Holland in "The Self Directed Search," as well as 23 basic interest scales and 207 occupational scales.

Instruments for People with Disabilities

There are several programs used in the rehabilitation counseling field to assist in the placement of people with disabilities in vocational education, sheltered workshops, or supervised work settings. You can get information on these instruments by speaking with your state's office of vocational rehabilitation. The following instrument is used in the vocational rehabilitation field but is appropriate for high school and college graduates as well.

McCarron Dial System (MDS)

The McCarron Dial System is designed to assist rehabilitation counselors in working with people of all ages with disabilities. It is used to assess verbal spatial cognitive, motor, emotional, sensory, and integration coping skills. It helps to identify specific needs that should be addressed prior to embarking on certain careers.

Computer Based Guidance Systems

In addition to the instruments listed earlier, there are some computer programs that can help assess some of the same things. Many of these provide almost immediate results and help deliver educational content based on those results.


Discover is a computer program that assists you in the area of self assessment, as well as providing information to help you make decisions about possible careers. It also contains a component that assists you in choosing college or graduate programs throughout the United States.


Like Discover, SIGIPI us is a computer based guidance program that assists in self assessment and career exploration. However, SIGIPI us does not provide information on postsecondary education.

Choices CT

Computer aided guidance programs, like their paper and pencil counterparts, should be used under the guidance of a vocational counselor. It is important to have a professional assist you in interpreting the results. These instruments are not meant to be used like a crystal ball. They cannot tell you "what you should do." Nor, for that matter, can a vocational counselor. What a counselor can do, with the use of these instruments, is help you learn more about your abilities and interests, and how they may relate to different careers.

You Are Not Alone

At this point you have completed what is by far the most difficult part of the job search. Introspection is a difficult task, and taking on such a task while facing the uncertainty of a change in your career makes it an even greater undertaking.

Hopefully these exercises and information have helped you to put your disability into a broader perspective. Every person who undergoes a job search has to face their abilities as well as their shortcomings. And people must decide which of their shortcoming they can address, and which ones they will choose to address. This is no different for a person with a disability. You must see which areas of weakness can be addressed regardless of whether they are related to any disability. Again, my guess is that only a fraction of your weaknesses are related to a disability. I would say that for many people there are ways to address most, if not all, of their weaknesses through the use of various reasonable accommodations.

The process of self assessment as it relates to one's disability is an even greater challenge for individuals who have an acquired disability. If your disability occurred later than adolescence, it is possible that it is not yet completely integrated into your sense of self. If you are still having some difficulty coming to a complete integration of your disability into your self concept, you are not alone. This happens frequently in cases of late onset or acquired disability. In this case, you may wish to contact a counselor, because it can be helpful to discuss these issues with someone, particularly with a professional who has worked with people experiencing the same challenges. Although it is not impossible to work on these issues at the same time that you are conducting your job search, there is some advantage to addressing them beforehand.

Support for Continuing Your Education

When people complete an assessment of their abilities and compare them to the requirements for their career goals, they sometimes find that there is a gap that may require continuing their education. If so, resources are available to make education more affordable. The best resource for financial aid is the Heath Resource center.
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