Abilities are enduring attributes of the individual that influence performance. Our assessments use elements from the O*NET taxonomy that has comprehensively described these ability areas required across occupations based on Fleishman’s extensive body of research (Fleishman, Quaintance and Broedling,1984). . The overall abilities are divided as related to Cognitive Abilities (related to brain) and related to Psychomotor & Physical abilities. Typically career assessments include a timed aptitude test for evaluating abilities. However a constraint of such timed test is that the evaluation of the abilities is possible on a narrow set of feasible evaluation areas, typically mathematical , reasoning , verbal, spatial and computational abilities.
Tucareers however uses the self assessment of 25 ability areas, thereby providing a more holistic evaluation and consequently being to more accurately making career recommendations. This self evaluation additionally has a benefit that it can be accomplished in a shorter time frame. A concern area most counselors express is that the individual's confidence (over or lack of it), may make him/her over or under rate his/her abilities. However most relevant for the purpose of matching and recommending careers is the relative assessment of the different ability areas than an absolute score / value. The self assessment further give insights on the self efficacy (over/under confidence) of an individual of his abilities, again a very important parameter for the counselor to understand. To get a more comprehensive understanding on the abilities aspect, counselors can thus additionally inquire about academic performances or scores on standardized tests. Tucareers has also provided a separate Timed Aptitude/Abilities test for any in depth evaluation by the counselor.
The abilities assessment asks the test taker to rate how well or how poorly an individual performs on different activities compared to his/her peer group. An example question would be to rate oneself on how well he/she understands any information that is presented in written form. This may include anything that he/she may have to understand by reading, whether its online, printed or handwritten or even on the phone. The answer gives insights on the verbal abilities for the individual. Similarly the next question may ask an individual to rate his/her ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic. For example, if one is asked to make some online content go viral, will he/she be able to think of multiple ways to do so? This question may be relevant in making career recommendations , but very difficult to evaluate in a timed test.
The 25 abilities area that the Tucareers self assessments assesses are defined below
Cognitive Abilities - Abilities that influence the acquisition and application of knowledge in problem solving with an application of cognition (application of brain)
Verbal Abilities - Abilities that influence the acquisition and application of verbal information in problem solving. The sub areas included in Verbal Abilities are
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Expression -The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities - Abilities that influence the application and manipulation of information in problem solving. The sub areas included are
- Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality -The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Quantitative Abilities - Abilities that influence the solution of problems involving mathematical relationships.The sub areas included are
- Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility -The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
Memory -Abilities related to the recall of available information
- Memorization -The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
Perceptual Abilities - Abilities related to the acquisition and organization of visual information.The sub areas included are
- Speed of Closure - The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Flexibility of Closure -The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Spatial Abilities - Abilities related to the manipulation and organization of spatial information.The sub areas included are
- Spatial Orientation - The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
- Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Attentiveness - Abilities related to application of attention.The sub areas included are
- Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Time Sharing - The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
Psychomotor Abilities - Abilities that influence the capacity to manipulate and control objects.The sub areas included are
- Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Wrist-Finger Speed -The ability to make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Physical Abilities - Abilities that influence strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination
- Stamina - The ability to exert yourself physically over long periods of time without getting winded or out of breath.
You can browse the different careers requiring the different abilities on the ONET site and can use examples of suitable careers while interpreting report to candidates
In the next post we look at the Knowledge Assessment in more detail
- Fleishman, E. A., Quaintance, M. K., & Broedling, L. A. (1984) Taxonomies of human performance: The description of human tasks.