Kuder Career Assessments

Kuder Career AssessmentsFrederic Kuder published his first career interest assessment in 1939. The Kuder Preference Record was different from the other vocational assessments of the day in that it asked respondents to indicate their preferences for everyday activities rather than their occupational preferences. The 1943 version became the standard career assessment used to assist World War II veterans with their educational planning under the GI Bill. The next generation of Kuder career interest assessments began in 1966, with the Kuder Occupational Interest Survey. This version contained 10 interest scales and provided test takers with scores that indicated their similarity to workers in 100 occupations and 40 college majors.

In the late 1990s, the latest version of Kuder brought the most change to the assessment since its conception. The name of the interest assessment was changed to the Kuder Career Search with Person Match, and the approach to matching test takers with employed others also changed. The publisher now offers two additional career assessments, the Kuder Skills Assessment and Super’s Work Values Inventory, Revised. In keeping with the times, all three Kuder assessments are available online at http://www.kuder.com. From the Kuder Web site, individual or group test takers can obtain and print their assessment results in seconds. Yet another innovation is the Kuder Electronic Career Portfolio, which offers the option of loading results from the Kuder assessments, along with the demographic information and resumes required by most prospective employers.

The Kuder Career Search with Person Match (KCS), the Kuder interest assessment, contains three sections. The first section depicts the test taker’s interests in each of the six Kuder Clusters (Arts/Communication, Business Operations, Outdoor/Mechanical, Sales/ Management, Science/Technology, and Social/Personal Services). Results on each cluster are depicted on the profile in a bar graph format from highest similarity to lowest. The second section of the KCS assists individuals in exploring careers by educational levels, making it possible for the test taker to consider exploration of careers requiring post-high school training through college degrees. The third and newest section, Person Match, is based on a matching system first introduced by Kuder in 1980 as person-to-people matching. This approach matches individuals to people in jobs, rather than the traditional approach of matching people to job titles. To select the most similar matches, a modification of Spearman’s rank order correlation is used to compare the test taker’s KCS responses with the KCS profiles of more than 2,500 individuals in the Person Match reference pool.

The Person Match scale is depicted as a list of the top matches. As the test taker clicks the mouse on each person in the list, they obtain a mini-autobiography written by that individual. Donald Zytowski, principal KCS researcher and developer, suggested explaining these matches to clients by stating that each identified match has preferences highly similar to their own preferences and that those listed as person matches may be in a variety of jobs or occupations worth further exploration. The actual job titles of the top person matches may not immediately appeal to the test taker, but the similarities may be found in the details contained in the autobiographical sketches. The mini-autobiographies easily lend themselves to the use of stories during the assessment interpretation process. In 1993, Mark Savickas explained that twenty-first-century career counseling will be about stories, not scores, and the Person Match scale of the KCS can help clients with the formation of their own career stories. The variety of job titles represented by the person matches also promotes the notion of multipotentiality, or the idea that all workers have the potential for job satisfaction in many work environments.

The Kuder Skills Assessment profile depicts the test taker’s self-reported skill levels (low, medium, high) for the same six Kuder Clusters contained in the KCS. The second section, Exploring Careers by Educational Level, matches the second section of the KCS. The results of the Kuder Skills Assessment and the Kuder Career Search with Person Match can be depicted on a combined profile for comparison of skill and interest levels. Online career exploration is facilitated via links to middle school, high school, college, and adult levels of the Kuder College and Career Planning site. Other links provide access to occupational information (O*Net), job search opportunities (America’s Job Bank), Resume Builder, and information about colleges (College Search). The test taker has all the materials of a career resource library available online.

The third Kuder assessment, Super’s Work Values Inventory, Revised, assesses the test taker’s preference for 12 work-related values: achievement, coworkers, creativity, income, independence, lifestyle, mental challenge, prestige, security, supervision, variety, and work environment. Results are listed in order of preference. A definition of each value is provided.

Results from the three Kuder assessments are available to administrators (such as the school counselor, career counselor, or advisor) in an administrative database. The database can be arranged in a variety of useful ways, such as by name, age, gender, or Kuder Career Cluster. Administrators can easily identify groups of test takers for special programs, guest speakers, college visits, or career guidance sessions. These recent innovations have made the Kuder career assessments readily accessible to administrators and test takers all around the world.

Donald Zytowski has published extensively on the various versions of the Kuder interest assessments. He is currently responsible for further research and development of the Kuder Career Search with Person Match, the Kuder Skills Assessment, and the Super’s Work Values Inventory, Revised, for their publisher, National Career Assessment Services, Inc.

References:

  1. Diamond, E. E. 1990. “The Kuder Occupational Interest Survey.” Pp. 211-239 in Testing in Counseling Practice, edited by C. E. Watkins Jr. and V. L. Campbell. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  2. Kuder, F. 1980. “Person Matching.” Educational and Psychological Measurement 40:1-8.
  3. MacCluskie, K. C., Welfel, E. R. and Toman, S. 2002. Using Test Data in Clinical Practice: A Handbook for Mental Health Professionals. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  4. Savickas, M. L. 1993. “Career Counseling in the Postmodern Era.” Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy 7:205-215.
  5. Zytowski, D. 1999. “How to Talk to People about Their Interest Inventory Results.” Pp. 277-293 in Vocational Interests: Meaning, Measurement, and Counseling Use, edited by M. L. Savickas and A. R. Spokane. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black.