Developing qualitative career assessment processes. (Articles).Assessment has been integral to career counseling Noun 1. career counseling - counseling on career opportunities
counseling, counselling, guidance, counsel, direction - something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action since the early 1900s. During that time, the greatest amount of attention was focused on quantitative assessment. Thus, there is still very little to guide the development and conduct of qualitative assessment in career counseling. The authors present an overview of qualitative career assessment and its theoretical underpinnings and propose suggestions that could guide the development of qualitative career assessment instruments.
Since its origins in the early 1900s, assessment has been an integral part of career counseling, and its use is still widely accepted (Chartrand & Walsh, 2001). During this period, most of the attention has been focused on quantitative assessment. Society, however, is becoming more diverse and the world of work more complex, and calls have been made for career assessment to "keep pace with changes in the workforce and society" (Subich, 1996, p. 277). Furthermore, the emergence of the constructivist con·struc·tiv·ism
A movement in modern art originating in Moscow in 1920 and characterized by the use of industrial materials such as glass, sheet metal, and plastic to create nonrepresentational, often geometric objects. worldview world·view
n. In both senses also called Weltanschauung.
1. The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.
2. A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. as an influence in career counseling has seen different conceptualizations emerge of career development and the counseling process. Corresponding with these changes has been increased awareness of the potential contribution of qualitative assessment processes (Goldman, 1990, 1992).
There is still very little to guide the development and conduct of qualitative assessment in career counseling because it has traditionally received less attention in the literature. For example, in a review of research in career counseling and development, where almost four pages were devoted to career assessment, only one paragraph referred to qualitative assessment (Young & Chen, 1999). These authors concluded in their review that "psychometrics psychometrics
Science of psychological measurement. Psychometricians design and administer psychological tests (see psychological testing), both to generate empirical data on mental processes and to refine their understanding of measurement techniques and the and standardized standardized
pertaining to data that have been submitted to standardization procedures.
standardized morbidity rate
see morbidity rate.
standardized mortality rate
see mortality rate. assessment tools are still popular in career guidance and counseling guidance and counseling, concept that institutions, especially schools, should promote the efficient and happy lives of individuals by helping them adjust to social realities. , but qualitative assessment strategies received some attention in the career counseling literature in 1998" (p. 121). In the 1999 review (Arbona, 2000), no mention of qualitative career assessment was made in the one and one half page review.
In this article, we first examine understandings about constructivism constructivism, Russian art movement founded c.1913 by Vladimir Tatlin, related to the movement known as suprematism. After 1916 the brothers Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner gave new impetus to Tatlin's art of purely abstract (although politically intended) and its influences on current conceptualizations of the career counseling process. Second, we provide an overview of qualitative career assessment. Finally, we discuss the development of qualitative career assessment processes. We also offer suggestions that could guide the development of qualitative career assessment instruments.
Understandings About Constructivism
Meaning making is fundamental to constructivism (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b), the worldview that is regarded as providing a second perspective on career assessment (Savickas, 1992). Indeed, Lyddon and Alford (1993) suggested that a fundamental goal of constructivist counseling is "understanding personal patterns of meaning--that is, the way a client organizes and makes sense of his or her experience over time" (p. 52). In a similar way, Peavy (1996) suggested that the generation of personal meaning and the "promotion of reflection on the implications of both new and old self-knowledge" (p. 10) are the primary objectives of constructivist assessment. A significant difference between the traditional logical positivist Noun 1. logical positivist - someone who maintains that any statement that cannot be verified empirically is meaningless
positivist, rationalist - someone who emphasizes observable facts and excludes metaphysical speculation about origins or ultimate causes worldview and constructivism is that "human functioning cannot be reduced to laws or principles, and cause and effect cannot be inferred" (Brown & Brooks, 1990, p. 11). Thus, the objectivity of assessment informed by the logical positivist worldview that can often be supported by test results is r eplaced by subjectivity, as individuals are encouraged to define themselves and their environment and to refer to the subjective sources of their knowledge. From a constructivist perspective, terms such as diagnosis and assessment fit less well in the counseling process (Peavy, 1997). Peavy (1997) proposed that the aim of assessment from a constructivist viewpoint is to "open up avenues of movement, promote empowerment em·pow·er
tr.v. em·pow·ered, em·pow·er·ing, em·pow·ers
1. To invest with power, especially legal power or official authority. See Synonyms at authorize.
2. , support transitions, and assist the client gain eligibility for more participation" (p. 180) in their preferred future.
The concept of holism holism
In the philosophy of the social sciences, the view that denies that all large-scale social events and conditions are ultimately explicable in terms of the individuals who participated in, enjoyed, or suffered them. is fundamental to the creation of meanings. Events, behaviors, and attitudes can only be understood in relation to their context (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b; Patton & McMahon, 1999; Savickas, 1993). Thus, in constructivist assessment, attention is paid to identifying connections between clients' experiences and various elements from their system of influences (Patton & McMahon, 1999), including the past, present, and future. For example, by exploring family-of-origin events, clients may come to understand their present beliefs or values. Similarly, women reentering re·en·ter also re-en·ter
v. re·en·tered, re·en·ter·ing, re·en·ters
1. To enter or come in to again.
2. To record again on a list or ledger.
v.intr. the workforce, who have discounted previous work experience and the skills and abilities they have developed through unpaid work in the home and raising a family, may be encouraged to relate their skills and abilities to particular paid work roles. As a result, it is not so much the individual ability, value, or belief that is targeted but rather the meaning that clients ascribe as·cribe
tr.v. as·cribed, as·crib·ing, as·cribes
1. To attribute to a specified cause, source, or origin: "Other people ascribe his exclusion from the canon to an unsubtle form of racism" to them because of a connection with other eleme nts of their system of influences. Goldman (1990, 1992) suggested that qualitative assessment is more integrative and holistic Holistic
A practice of medicine that focuses on the whole patient, and addresses the social, emotional, and spiritual needs of a patient as well as their physical treatment.
Mentioned in: Aromatherapy, Stress Reduction, Traditional Chinese Medicine and that it emphasizes learning about oneself within a developmental framework. Thus, individuals or individual traits are not assessed in isolation but rather systemically. Assessment is viewed idiographically wherein where·in
In what way; how: Wherein have we sinned?
1. In which location; where: the country wherein those people live.
2. the individual serves as the reference point both to identify relevant variables and to interpret data" (Hood & Johnson, 1997, P. 9). Meaning or learning is generated from within the individual in relation to his or her experience of the world (Bednar, Cunningham, Duffy, & Perry, 1992).
Just as meaning is fundamental to constructivism, assessment is an active process that is change generating (Goldman, 1990, 1992; Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b; Peavy, 1996). For example, during the process of qualitative career assessment, new meanings and insights are generated for clients, which may, in turn, promote change. This is in direct contrast with assessment conducted under the traditional positivist pos·i·tiv·ism
a. A doctrine contending that sense perceptions are the only admissible basis of human knowledge and precise thought.
b. worldview in which the assessment process itself was viewed as neutral (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b). Traditionally, change was promoted after the assessment process, when the counselor planned interventions on the basis of the assessment results. Constructivism requires both the client and the counselor to be actively involved in the assessment process and action planning through communication that is constructive, planful, and clarifying (Peavy, 1997).
Qualitative Career Assessment: An Overview
The use of qualitative career assessment marks a significant departure from that predicated on the traditional logical-positivist worldview that has dominated career guidance practice. The emphasis in this traditional worldview is on objective reality where clients' traits, such as ability or personality, can be measured and quantified. Accordingly, little emphasis is placed on the meaning clients ascribe to particular traits or to subjective elements that are associated with career concerns. In addition, test administration has traditionally followed a standard set of procedures as outlined by assessment manuals.
By contrast, qualitative career assessment has the potential for "infinite flexibility to meet the needs of diverse clients" (Subich, 1996, p. 285). It offers counselors "methods of helping clients to know and understand themselves better--methods that are flexible, open-ended, holistic, and nonstatistical" (Goldman, 1992, p. 616). Described as "informal forms of assessment" (Okocha, 1998), qualitative career assessment is bounded by less rigid parameters than quantitative assessment in that it may not be guided by a standardized set of directions, and there is little scoring. In cases in which scoring is featured, it is generally subjective (Isaacson & Brown, 1993). Thus, standardized tests A standardized test is a test administered and scored in a standard manner. The tests are designed in such a way that the "questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent"  may seem more scientific than qualitative career assessment devices because they may give an "impression of objectivity, precision of measurement, and dependability dependability - software reliability of interpretative in·ter·pre·ta·tive
Variant of interpretive.
in·terpre·ta statements" (Goldman, 1992, p. 620). With the emphasis in qualitative career assessment being on stories rather than scores (Savickas, 1993) , individual clients are encouraged to tell their own career stories and to uncover their subjective careers and life themes (McMahon & Patton, 2002).
The constructivist approach to career counseling enriches the career assessment process because the counselor seeks to understand the meaning of traits in terms of the client's life pattern (Savickas, 1992). Furthermore, Savickas claimed that qualitative career assessment places emphasis on the counseling relationship rather than on the delivery of the service. For example, the client becomes much more involved in the counseling process because the assessment is grounded in their lived experience on which they are the expert and from which they have a story to tell. Thus, the position of the client in the relationship is elevated from that of "passive responder" (Goldman, 1990, p. 205) to that of active participant. The career counselor's role, on the other hand, is changed from that of expert or "diagnostician" (Subich, 1996, p. 279) to one of interested, curious, and tentative inquirer in·quire also en·quire
v. in·quired, in·quir·ing, in·quires
1. To seek information by asking a question: inquired about prices.
2. ; respectful re·spect·ful
Showing or marked by proper respect.
re·spectful·ly adv. listener; and tentative observer (McMahon & Patton, 2002).
As evidenced by the changed roles of client and counselor, qualitative career assessment defines the counseling relationship differently. Counselors are encouraged to establish collaborative relationships with clients, involve them in the selection of assessment devices, and encourage them to explore meaning from the outcomes (Forrest & Brooks, 1993). Thus, career counseling is viewed as a cooperative rather than an expert process (Peavy, 1996, p. 8). This kind of relationship is significantly different from the more traditional counseling relationship in which quantitative assessment is conducted. Indeed, qualitative assessment processes tend to merge with the counseling process so that the boundaries between assessment and counseling are less distinct (Dowd Dowd is a derivation of an ancient surname which was once common in Ireland but is now quite rare. The name Dowd is an Anglicisation of the original Ui Dubhda, through its more common form O'Dowd. , 1995; Goldman, 1990). Indeed, Neimeyer and Neimeyer (1993b) proposed that "assessment should be seen as an intervention that prompts subjects to reconstrue the concerns being evaluated" (p. 12). This is reflected in the use of processes such as card sor ts, genograms, and lifelines LifeLines is a free genealogy software tool to assist family history research.
Lifelines was originally written by Tom Wetmore circa 1991-1994. Its primary strengths are its powerful scripting language and the ability to easily import and export information in the GEDCOM wherein the counselor works with the client to elicit e·lic·it
tr.v. e·lic·it·ed, e·lic·it·ing, e·lic·its
a. To bring or draw out (something latent); educe.
b. To arrive at (a truth, for example) by logic.
2. meaning during the assessment process. Meaning may be generated throughout the assessment process rather than only at the conclusion of the assessment, after scoring has taken place.
It has been suggested that qualitative assessment tends to be more labor intensive Labor Intensive
A process or industry that requires large amounts of human effort to produce goods.
A good example is the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, etc), they are considered to be very people-oriented.
See also: Capital Intensive, Trading Dollars than quantitative assessment (Goldman, 1992). For example, the counselor has an extensive role in setting the scene for and supervising the qualitative assessment activity (Goldman, 1992). In addition, deriving meaning, insight, and learning from the activity necessitates that the activity is processed or debriefed. Thus, qualitative assessment requires the counselor to be actively involved in the process from beginning to end (Brott, 2001; Goldman, 1990). Peavy (1997) claimed that career counselors "have the privilege of hearing many stories and scripts and then joining the storytellers in the task of reauthoring them toward more preferred futures" (p. 30). Therefore, counselors who listen for life themes and stories act more as "biographers This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by [ expanding it].
Biographers are authors who write an account of another person's life, while autobiographers are authors who write their own biography. who interpret lives in progress rather than as actuaries who count interests and abilities" (Savickas, 1992, p. 338).
Developing Qualitative Career Assessment Processes
It has been suggested that the development of qualitative career assessment processes lends itself to creativity (McMahon & Patton, 2002) and that career counselors can develop their own assessment processes (Goldman, 1992). However, unlike quantitative assessment, there is little to guide practitioners in the development of qualitative career assessment processes, and the issue of psychometric psy·cho·met·rics
n. (used with a sing. verb)
The branch of psychology that deals with the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests for the measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and adequacy has been raised (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b). Whereas the criteria for adequacy of assessment developed under the logical positivist worldview are "normative nor·ma·tive
Of, relating to, or prescribing a norm or standard: normative grammar.
nor and statistical," under the constructivist worldview, the criteria are "primarily interpretive in·ter·pre·tive also in·ter·pre·ta·tive
Relating to or marked by interpretation; explanatory.
in·terpre·tive·ly adv. and phenomenological" (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b, p. 23). Despite these vastly different criteria for adequacy, developers of qualitative career assessment processes may use concepts from both worldviews, as reflected in the following suggestions.
Ground the Assessment Process in Theory
Qualitative career assessment does not imply a lack of rigor rigor /rig·or/ (rig´er) [L.] chill; rigidity.
rigor mor´tis the stiffening of a dead body accompanying depletion of adenosine triphosphate in the muscle fibers. . Just as many quantitative assessment processes are grounded in theory (e.g., Holland's, 1985, 1992, Self-Directed Search; Super, Thompson, & Lindeman's, 1988, Adult Career Concerns Inventory), so too may qualitative career assessment instruments be grounded in theory. For example, Viljamaa (1998), Peavy (1996), and Amundson (1998) based their assessment processes broadly in constructivist theory, and Stevens (1998) consulted with experts on emerging work settings when developing his Occupational Work Settings Card Sort. The genogram, a commonly used qualitative career assessment instrument, and its more recent adaptation, the Career-O-Gram (Thorngren & Feit, 2001), are grounded in systems theory and family therapy. Time lines and lifelines are grounded in developmental career theory, such as that of Super (1990). The links with theory may be made explicit to clients as a background and rationale for engaging in a qualitative career assessment proce ss. For example, a counselor may provide the client with a theoretical overview of a particular qualitative process (see Brown & Brooks, 1991; Viljamaa, 1998).
Test the Career Assessment Process
In the development of well-designed standardized psychological tests Psychological Tests Definition
Psychological tests are written, visual, or verbal evaluations administered to assess the cognitive and emotional functioning of children and adults. or inventories, established procedures for test development must be followed, such as developing items for the inventory, testing the items on adequate samples, and analyzing results (Hood & Johnson, 1997). Similarly, these procedures could be followed in the development of qualitative career assessment processes, particularly those that are commercially produced. For example, Stevens (1997, 1998) stated that his card sort activities have been "extensively tested before publication in many contrasting career counseling and career training environments" (Stevens, 1998, p. 5). On the basis of this testing, Stevens recommended client groups for whom different assessment processes are appropriate.
At a practice level, counselors may also test the career assessment process in relation to its relevance and usefulness to the client and his or her role in the facilitation Facilitation
The process of providing a market for a security. Normally, this refers to bids and offers made for large blocks of securities, such as those traded by institutions. of the process. For example, throughout the administration of a qualitative assessment process, career counselors may seek feedback from clients and monitor their responses. Such testing facilitates counselor responsiveness to client needs by making modifications to or discontinuing the process. In addition, career counselors may seek feedback on their role in the qualitative assessment process. Unlike quantitative career assessment processes that have a standardized procedure, qualitative career assessment processes give the client and the counselor a degree of flexibility and spontaneity spon·ta·ne·i·ty
n. pl. spon·ta·ne·i·ties
1. The quality or condition of being spontaneous.
2. Spontaneous behavior, impulse, or movement.
Noun 1. .
Ensure That the Process Can Be Completed in a Reasonable Time Frame
As discussed previously, it has been suggested that qualitative career assessment processes may be time-consuming (Brown & Brooks, 1991; Goldman, 1992). Given the proliferation proliferation /pro·lif·er·a·tion/ (pro-lif?er-a´shun) the reproduction or multiplication of similar forms, especially of cells.prolif´erativeprolif´erous
n. or Web-based assessment processes (Chartrand & Walsh, 2001) and a tendency for clients to expect single sessions with career counselors, it is desirable for clients to know how long an assessment process will take. When a process is necessarily long, it may be possible to divide it into sections from which the client can choose or return to at a later stage (see Viljamaa, 1998). For example, Gareerstorm (Viljamaa, 1998) allows clients to choose from a number of sections and informs them of the amount of time required to complete each one.
Design a Process That Fosters Holism How should I go to police station
Holism is fundamental to the constructivist worldview and, as such, needs to be reflected in the development of qualitative career assessment instruments. Thus an exploration of a client's values may result in the construction of a genogram and an exploration of the relationship of past family influences and present occupational values. More recently, an adaptation of the genogram, the Career-O-Gram, has been used to explore career histories and assess the multiple influences on an individual's career development (Thorngren & Feit, 2001). Alternatively, clients who are unsure about occupational goals may examine other facets of their lives, such as their use of leisure time, to discover skills and values (see Amundson, 1998).
Write the Instructions for the Client They ere there come
Constructivism promotes a collaborative client-counselor relationship. The position of the client is elevated in that he or she has more involvement in and control of the assessment. Traditionally, assessment manuals have been written for counselors who have had the responsibility of administering the assessment instrument. However, constructivism opens the possibility for instructions to be directed to and shared with the client. For example, in their assessment instruments, Viljamaa (1998) and Stevens (1997, 1998) both include phrases such as "you may like," "your values," and "after you have," which personalize per·son·al·ize
tr.v. per·son·al·ized, per·son·al·iz·ing, per·son·al·iz·es
1. To take (a general remark or characterization) in a personal manner.
2. To attribute human or personal qualities to; personify. the assessment process for the client and promote his or her involvement in and responsibility for the assessment process. In addition, such instructions encourage counselors to be less directive.
Write Readable read·a·ble
1. Easily read; legible: a readable typeface.
2. Pleasurable or interesting to read: a readable story. and Easily Understood Instructions
When instructions are to be read by clients, it is important for them to be readable and easily understood. This is not meant to be derogatory de·rog·a·to·ry
1. Disparaging; belittling: a derogatory comment.
2. Tending to detract or diminish. to clients but rather respectful of their lack of familiarity with psychological and counseling jargon jargon, pejorative term applied to speech or writing that is considered meaningless, unintelligible, or ugly. In one sense the term is applied to the special language of a profession, which may be unnecessarily complicated, e.g., "medical jargon. that could be contained in the instructions. User friendly instructions are respectful of clients and promote cooperation and collaboration. For example, although the instruction to "draw a time line" is readable, it may not be easily understood by a client and may be better divided into a series of steps including, for example, "draw a line down the middle of your page"; also, a genogram could be explained in everyday language that includes "sometimes it helps us to understand where we get our ideas about work from if we think about the family we grew up in."
Sequence Logical, Simple, Small, Achievable Steps
Small steps that flow logically from one to the next provide a sense of direction when the qualitative career assessment process is used. In addition, small tasks that are achievable can promote a sense of hope in clients. Clients may work through the assessment process on their own or in collaboration with a counselor. Again, flexibility is desirable if the client wants to include other information or to explore more meaningful areas.
Provide a Focused and Flexible Process
Although this point may sound like a contradiction CONTRADICTION. The incompatibility, contrariety, and evident opposition of two ideas, which are the subject of one and the same proposition.
2. In general, when a party accused of a crime contradicts himself, it is presumed he does so because he is guilty for , it represents a critical difference between assessment that is conducted using the traditional worldview and assessment that is conducted using the constructivist worldview. Within the traditional worldview, there is no opportunity to deviate from the process outlined in the assessment manual. When the constructivist worldview is used, clients may spend a longer time on meaningful elements of the assessment, or they may choose to move tangentially tan·gen·tial also tan·gen·tal
1. Of, relating to, or moving along or in the direction of a tangent.
2. Merely touching or slightly connected.
3. into meaningful areas. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , clients need to be able to choose to move on or not complete the assessment if they do not find that it is personally meaningful.
Encourage Cooperative involvement of Counselor and Client
The emphasis of the constructivist worldview on the counseling relationship is the active involvement of the counselor and the client in the assessment process (see Brott, 2001). The boundaries between assessment and counseling are less clearly defined (Dowd, 1995; Goldman, 1990). The successful use of constructivist assessment, as with other interventions in counseling, requires that the assessment process is designed to be sensitive to the needs of the client and to be appropriately timed (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993b). Furthermore, these authors suggested that a "seamless blend" of constructivist assessment with counseling skills counseling skills,
n the acquired verbal and nonverbal skills that enhance communication by helping a medical professional to establish a good rapport with a patient or client. can "augment aug·ment
v. aug·ment·ed, aug·ment·ing, aug·ments
1. To make (something already developed or well under way) greater, as in size, extent, or quantity: , deepen deep·en
tr. & intr.v. deep·ened, deep·en·ing, deep·ens
To make or become deep or deeper.
to make or become deeper or more intense
Verb 1. , and direct" (Neimeyer & Neimeyer, 1993a, p. 222) counseling practice.
Include a Debriefing de·brief·ing
1. The act or process of debriefing or of being debriefed.
2. The information imparted during the process of being debriefed.
Noun 1. Process
Qualitative career assessment processes may be viewed as experiential ex·pe·ri·en·tial
Relating to or derived from experience.
ex·peri·en learning activities (Patton & McMahon, 1999). Although some learning and meaning will result from the activity itself; much more learning and meaning will result from a carefully structured and thoughtful debriefing process after the activity (Kolb, 1984). The instructions that accompany the qualitative career assessment process may provide examples of such questions for clients who are working through the process on their own. When counselors are working with clients, the process that facilitates learning and generates new meaning may be more flexible and spontaneous.
With the increasing influence of the constructivist philosophy in career counseling and career development, it is timely that counseling professionals have begun deliberating the influence of this worldview on the development of qualitative career assessment instruments. As Peavy (1996) observed, many career counselors incorporate constructivist thinking into their work without being able to articulate it. As more qualitative career assessment instruments become commercially available and more counselors incorporate them into their work, it is important that some of the fundamental underpinnings of qualitative career assessment are considered and articulated. Whether the instruments are being developed for commercial distribution or for single use in counseling sessions, being aware of what informs practice can only serve to strengthen it. It is hoped that these suggestions will encourage further interest in qualitative career assessment and stimulate further thought about what guides the development of quali tative career assessment instruments.
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Marry McMahon and Wendy Patton, School of Learning and Professional Studies, Queensland University of Technology; Mark Watson For other persons named Mark Watson, see Mark Watson (disambiguation).
Mark Watson (born September 8, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a professional soccer player who has earned the second most caps in the history of the Canadian national team. , Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Port Elizabeth Port Elizabeth, city (1991 pop. 670,653), Eastern Cape, SE South Africa, on Algoa Bay, an arm of the Indian Ocean. It is a tourist center and a major seaport that ships diamonds, wool, fruit, and other items. . Correspondence concerning this article should he addressed to Mary McMahon, School of Learning and Development, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove Kelvin Grove is the name of various places: