Part 1 of a 2 Part Series
by Dr. David Caulum, Emeritus Dr. Julie M. Hau
University of Wisconsin-Madison
State of the Art
To the best of our knowledge, CareerLocker has the longest tested and validated assessments included in a career information system in the state of Wisconsin. These assessments are essential to implementing Academic and Career Planning (ACP) programs. The four validated assessments offered through CareerLocker are the Personal Globe Inventory, Learning Styles Inventory, Work Skills Inventory, and Work Values Inventory. Through rigorous research and test development methodologies, these inventories have demonstrated high reliability and validity.
In order to validate an assessment, one must determine if it measures consistently. That is, is it reliable? Reliability refers to the consistency of scores obtained from an assessment. For instance, when measuring the same piece of string with a ruler, one wants to be sure that the same results are achieved time after time. CareerLocker assessments work in a similar way. In highly reliable assessments, like those in CareerLocker, users receive consistent results each time. Since an assessment is usually given only once to a user, it must be as accurate as possible. When an assessment is reliable, it is more likely to be a true reflection of the user. In the case of CareerLocker, assessments reflect the user’s interests, learning styles, skills, and values.
The second indicator of a good assessment is whether or not it actually measures the quality or attribute that it purports to measure. Simply put, the assessment measures what it says it measures. Returning to the example of a ruler, an inch measures an inch, not a centimeter or a foot. Validity also refers to the appropriateness, meaningfulness, and usefulness of the inferences made from assessment scores. An inference is an educated guess based upon previous information and statistics. Validity is a scientific way of verifying that the use of the results of a psychological assessment is conceptually sound. Thus, validity is arguably the primary means of evaluating the quality or soundness of a psychological assessment. CareerLocker assessments have high quality.
Having reliable and validated instruments is among the many strengths of CareerLocker. These assessments provide the foundation for additional career exploration of occupations, career pathways and education. The website also supports job seeking processes, including aspects such as the resume and job interviews. Coming soon are additional pages on networking and financial aid.
For More Information
Numerous research reports are available describing the processes used to develop and validate each scale. Usage data is also continuously monitored to evaluate and improve each inventory or assessment. CareerLocker has an extensive library of published and unpublished studies supporting the reliability and validation of its assessments. To obtain a list of publications or ask specific questions, please email Dr. David Caulum, firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Caulum, PhD has worked at the Center on Education and Work as a Marketing Manager, Interim Director, Director, and, currently, Emeritus Consultant and Researcher. He now focuses his attention on CareerLocker Assessments and issues of content reliability and soundness.