An Interesting Introduction to Psychology: Aptitude Tests and Evaluations

Dr. Purushothaman
September 27, 2013

Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing, and using data to develop answers to basic questions about projects, policies, and programs. One common approach to program evaluation is Kirkpatrick's model, which posits 4 levels of training outcomes: 1. Reaction criteria focuses on what participants thought/felt about the program, 2. learning criteria provides a quantifiable measure of what has been learned during the program, 3. behavior criteria addresses the impact the program had on a participant's performance/behavior in the workplace, and 4. results criteria measures the effects of the program on broader organizational goals and objectives.

Phillips proposed the Return on investment (ROI) "level 5" evaluation be done at all 4 of Kirkpatrick's levels of criteria, which essentially calculates the money gained or lost as a result of program implementation. Career counseling might involve the administration of Aptitude tests, which help determine and measure one's potential for learning a specific set of skills through future training. Regarding aptitude tests, Special Aptitude Tests are used to assess particular abilities required for a specific job, such as psychomotor abilities (e.g., Purdue Peg Board, O'Connor Finger Dexterity Test), and have a high degree of specificity (i.e., different aptitudes do not correlate); Multiple Aptitude Batteries measure different aptitudes through the administration of numerous tests (e.g., Differential Aptitude Test, General Aptitude Test Battery).

Achievement tests are intended to measure one's previously learned skills and knowledge about a particular domain and might be used in career counseling to determine if a person has the required skills to effectively perform a certain job. Holland's Personality and Environment Typology proposes that career choice is ultimately a function of one's personality and social environment. The 6 personality types delineated by Holland's Personality and Environment Typology include: realistic (practical, physical, hands-on), investigative (analytical, intellectual, scientific), artistic (creative, original, nonconforming), social (cooperative, supportive, nurturing), enterprising (competitive, persuasive, manipulative), and conventional (detail-oriented, organized, clerical) (acronym = RIASEC). According to Holland, Congruence refers to the fit between one's a personality type and occupational environment, while differentiation occurs when a person scores high on 1 of the 6 interests and low on all others.

In Holland's Personality and Environment Typology, higher degrees of differentiation leads to more accurate predictions. Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory, Vocational Preference Inventory, and Self-Directed Search are some tests a career counselor might use to measure the personality types as described by Holland's Personality Typology.

Roe's Fields and Levels theory of vocational choice posits that parenting orientation affects children's needs and personality traits, which subsequently influences occupational outcomes. The 3 parenting orientations distinguished by Roe's Fields and Levels Theory are Overprotective, avoidant, and acceptant; this theory also delineates 8 occupational fields (e.g., business, science) and 6 occupational levels (e.g., managerial, skilled). This theory states that career development occurs in a series of predictable stages and that the tasks of each stage must be mastered before a person progresses to the next stage. Super's Career Development Theory states the 5 stages of career development distinguished by Super's Career Development Theory are Growth (birth - 15 years), exploration 15-24 y/o), establishment (25-44 y/o), maintenance (45-64 y/o), decline (65+ y/o).

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