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Virginia and Randall Richards
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Virginia and Randall Richards
Saturday, August 2, 2008
This is the seventh article in a series of articles that will discuss the literature on the predominant career theories; history of and theory behind interest inventories; a discussion of the prominent interest inventories; the best use of interest inventories in the career development process; conceptual additions applicable to the study of interest inventories; literature that has focused on career indecision in adolescents; and educational interventions with additional focus placed on middle schools. All of these articles come from dissertations by Virginia Robinson Richards, EdD, and Stephen Randall Richards, EdD, both copyrighted 1998. These articles are presented as a quick refresher for professional guidance counselors, an introduction to these theories for the non-professional, and as a starting point for students of the many disciplines related to career development theory. The bibliographies are purposely missing. If you choose to copy our work (shame on you), you will at least have to go to the library to find the work and maybe touch the covers of these works. We appologize for the non-academic format, but in a blogging forum it is not possible to keep the work as originally presented.
History of Interest Inventories
Definitions of Interests
Hansen (1984) found three distinct components mentioned in the literature addressing the meaning of interests. First, interests have often been linked to personality (Berdie, 1944; Darley, 1941; Holland, 1985) as indicated by Holland’s (1985) reference to six categories of interest as personality types. Next, motivation or drive has been mentioned in defining interests (Berdie, 1944; Darley & Hagenah, 1955; Strong, 1955). The third component has been labeled self-concept (Bordin, 1943; Super, 1990). Composed of intelligence, interest, and social status, Super referred to self-concept as how one sees one’s self and, as such, is an important determinant of career development.
A long-standing and comprehensive definition of interests in which personality and motivation are mentioned was defined by Layton (1958). The interests of an individual can be defined as his (or her) like for, dislike for, or indifference to something such as an object, occupation, person, a task, an idea, or an activity. Interests are one aspect of what is broadly considered as the motivation of an individual. Thus, interests are a part of the person’s personality structure of organization. When the individual’s interest is described in relation to occupations or the world of work, we speak of his (or her) vocational interests. (pp. 3-4)
Types of Interests
Interest can be characterized as expressed interest ‑ what an individual expresses an interest in, manifest interest ‑ what an individual actually does as an indication of what one’s interests are, inventoried interest ‑ interests determined by the pattern of an individual’s responses to lists of occupations or activities, and tested interest ‑ measurement of one’s vocabulary in a particular area in the belief that if one is truly interested in something, he or she will know the vocabulary used in that area (Super & Crites, 1962). The first studies of interest were centered around expressed interest, but work done during the past half century has focused on inventoried interest since early findings by Arsenian (1942), Bendell (1941), Cronbach (1970), and Darley and Hagenah (1955) concurred in concluding that little relationship existed between expressed interest and inventoried interest.
While these early negative findings led to neglect of expressed interests in counseling, studies by Borgen and Seling (1978), Enright and Pinneau (1955), Holland and Gottfredson (1975), and McArthur and Stevens (1955) found expressed and inventoried interests about equally predictive of occupational entry. Super (1990) maintained that expressed interests or preferences held over a long period of time are a very good indicator of occupational entry and success in the occupation. According to Hansen (1984), integration of expressed and inventoried interests is the preferred method of vocational exploration. Students who have a definite occupational choice may use interest inventory scores as confirmation of choices already made, whereas, students with conflicting results between expressed and inventories interest have a reason to explore the reason behind the discrepancies that may lead to a better understanding of an individual’s motivation for occupational selection.
Early Work With Interest Assessment
Early assessment of career-related interest was attained by asking persons to estimate how they felt about an occupation or activity (Fryer, 1931). Individuals were allowed to try out an occupation by taking courses in the occupational field, reading information about the occupation, or by actually working in the occupation in an effort to increase the accuracy of an individual’s estimates about an occupation or activity.
During the early 1920s, interest questionnaires, such as checklists or rating scales, replaced the try-out methods to save time and cost. One of the most popular checklists of the time, Miner’s Analysis of Work Interests (1922), was taken individually and then discussed during a counseling session. Next came rating scales, with Kitson’s (1925) Vocation-to-Vocation rating scale being one of the most popular during the late 1920s. Kitson’s scale asked people to rate the vocation in which they were actually employed in relation to all other vocations.
Following on the heels of interest questionnaires, interest inventories were developed in an effort to provide better estimates of interests (Hansen, 1984). Interest inventories were designed with a statistical component for summarizing an individual’s interest into a score representing the degree of interest in a field, profession, or occupation. Interest inventories that incorporated objective scoring procedures were the most common. Though appearing before Miner’s (1922) and Kitson’s (1925) checklists, Kelley’s (1914) battery of questions was the first to be scored and appeared to have provided a template for later inventories. Kelley’s instrument combined both an inventory that asked for estimates of interests and an objective test that measured one’s knowledge about certain occupations.
In 1919, Clarence S. Yoakum taught a seminar at Carnegie Institute of Technology during which a pool of over 1000 items was developed without involving any statistical analysis of the items. Rather, an attempt was made to write items representing the entire domain of interests (Hansen, 1984). Though later investigators worked to identify, through statistical analysis, the worth of the original items in terms of the degree to which the items discriminated between the like, dislike, and indifferent responses of various groups, it was determined that changes in society, technological discoveries, and technological obsolescence make the process of refining items pools a never ending challenge. In 1921, the Carnegie Interest Inventory was developed at another Yoakum seminar by condensing several interest inventories developed using samples of the items formulated during the 1919 seminar (Hansen, 1984). Much work was done that closely resembled the original Carnegie Interest Inventory, including the Occupational Interest Inventory (Freyd, 1923), Interest Report Blank (Cowdery, 1926), General Interest Survey (Kornhauser, 1927), Purdue Interest Report (Remmers, 1929), Interest Analysis Blank (Hubbard, 1930), and Minnesota Interest Inventory (Paterson, Elliot, Anderson, Toops, & Heidbreder, 1930). Some of the early interest inventories have been adapted over time and some have disappeared, but one of the most important outcomes of the Youkum Seminar is the Strong Vocational Interest Blank--Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SVIB-SCII) because it is still the most frequently used test in college counseling centers (Hansen, 1984).
Prominent Interest Inventories
Strong Vocational Interest Blank--Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SVIB-SCII) Strong was among a group that developed a derivative of the Carnegie Interest Inventory during the 1920s. The research conducted by Clarence Yoakum provided Edward K. Strong with ideas on the measurement of interests leading to his development of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank (SVIB) which placed the technical and usage levels of vocational interest measurement near the technical and usage levels of the measurements of intelligence and aptitudes (Darley & Hagenah, 1955). Strong systematically collected large amounts of test data showing that people in different occupations can be distinguished from each other by the simple procedure of asking them to check their likes and dislikes on a long checklist (Campbell & Hansen, 1981; Super, 1942).
Strong’s inventory was developed by means of a strictly empirical procedure, making few psychological assumptions and developing his scoring formulas on the basis of correlations of responses with criteria (Cronbach, 1949). Modifying the initial empirical methods of differentiating occupations one from another by using factor analysis, Strong then developed a method of identifying items within the interest tests to distinguish characteristics of specific occupations from those of people in general (Hansen, 1990). These responses to items that members of an occupation have in common constitute normative scales on which items are internally consistent or homogeneous only for the occupational group which they differentiate, thereby allowing counselors to report the degree to which the test-taker has interests similar to those of persons in a given occupation (Zytowski, 1973).
Strong’s initial interest inventory consisted of a list of four hundred occupations, school subjects, hobbies, types of activities, personal characteristics, and similar items with the examinee indicating like, dislike, or indifference to each activity and whether or not the identified characteristic was possessed. These results were then compared to the responses of other persons known to have achieved success in a given occupation. Strong’s normative scales compared interests of an individual with those of persons in a particular occupation or, perhaps, a college major (Campbell & Hansen, 1981; Super, 1942). Campbell and Hansen maintained while the SVIB "cannot tell anyone where he will succeed . . . (it can) act as a mirror to reflect back the individual’s interests in a manner allowing comparison of his likes and dislikes to those in individuals in specified occupations . . . (where he is) likely to find job satisfaction" (p. 2).
The SVIB, published in 1927, has been revised twice for men (1938 and 1966). The women’s SVIB, first published in 1933 and revised twice (1946 and 1969), is thought to be psychometrically superior to the men’s form because new techniques and analyses were tried with the men’s form, evaluated, and then modifications were made on the women’s revision. Renamed the Srong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII) in 1974, the choice was made to merge the female and male inventories, marking the beginning of an effort to provide equal career exploration opportunities for both women and men (Hansen, 1986). The SCII later underwent revision in 1981 and again in 1986 when SVIB items were selected to represent each of Holland’s personality types. The General Occupational Themes were broadened with the emphasis shifting from offering predominantly professionally oriented occupations to offering a mix of professional occupations along with nonprofessional or vocational-technical, thus, increasing the utility of the inventory to include those with a wider range of occupational and educational goals. Hackett and Watkins (1995) observed that the 1985 revision to renorm the occupational samples, to increase the number of occupational scales, and to decrease the gender restrictiveness has been successful.
Used widely with a varied clientele including high school and college students, cross-cultural populations, and minorities in a variety of settings, e.g., educational, business, and rehabilitation, the SII is also used extensively in research efforts (Hansen, 1986). While Campbell and Hansen (1981) purported "From its inception in 1927, the Strong Vocational Interest Blank was an empirical, atheoretical instrument" (p. 28), Strong’s development of assessment procedures cannot be ignored as the SVIB and SCII are among the most widely used interest inventories today and still have a "profound impact on interest measurement" (Walsh & Osipow, 1986, p. vii).
Holland’s Theory Based Interest Inventories
Holland’s Vocational Preference Inventory. Holland’s (1966) Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI) is based on his earlier psychological rationale (1959) that it is possible to categorize people into six types: realistic, intellectual, social, conventional, enterprising, and artistic. As Holland developed the VPI, he also developed his theory of careers (Holland, 1966). The true significance of Holland’s work is that in each case, he developed his theory first and then designed instruments based on this theory. Holland’s theory was developed by extensively examining the vocational interest, vocational choice, and personality literature to identify interest and personality factors, then determining the relationship between these factors. Scales were developed using occupational titles as items representative of the factors to measure the personality factors. Holland originally developed 7 scales: Physical activity, Intellectual, Responsibility, Conformity, Verbal activity, Emotionality, and Reality Orientation. These were later reduced to 6 and renamed: Realistic, Investigative, Social, Conventional, Enterprising, and Artistic.
Holland (1973) developed the Self Directed Search (SDS) as a result of the continued development of his theory of careers. Holland (1973) saw the SDS as “one way in which the classification and the theory have been used to organize the assessment of the person and world of occupations within the same framework” (p. 86), viewing the SDS as simulating “in an explicit way what counselors, parents, psychologists, and personnel workers do in more intuitive and less precise ways” (p. 87).
Holland’s Self-Directed Search. The SDS (Holland & Rayman, 1986) was developed for two purposes: to increase the number of people a counselor could successfully work with, and to provide vocational counseling to those who do not have, or who do not wish to have, access to a counselor. First published in 1971 and revised in 1977 and 1985, the SDS provides the test taker an assessment booklet which, when filled out, yields a hierarchical three-letter classification code with the first letter representing the strongest preference for a particular personality type. The three-letter code is then used in conjunction with the Occupations Finder to locate suitable occupations, simulating what a person and a counselor might do together over a period of several interviews. By eliminating unnecessary individual counseling and reducing the time needed to proctor, mail, score, and interpret interest inventories, counselors could spend more time with those who need individual counseling.
Based on Holland’s (1985) theory of career choice, the SDS was developed using the hypothesis that certain characteristics, i.e., competencies, preferred activities and self-ratings of abilities, of the individual as well as vocational interests are important in the vocational choice process (Campbell, 1988). Identified by Holland’s research (1985), six personality types, i.e., Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional, serve as the basis to relate a person’s self-assessment of abilities and interests to appropriate occupations. Also based on Holland’s (1985) theory is the concept that a relationship exists between the person’s characteristics and a work environment, and that individuals will achieve greater success, satisfaction, and stability in occupations where the work environment fits their personality. Thus, the SDS can be used in identifying appropriate career choices.
Holland and Rayman (1986) considered the SDS to be an advance in interest assessment and vocational treatment for several reasons:
1. A person’s vocational aspirations, interests, competencies, and self-rated abilities are organized by a particular theory and related to an occupational classification system using the same theory.
2. Self-administered, self-scored, and self-interpreted, the SDS can be used with or without a counselor.
3. An ideal innovation, the SDS is an inexpensive assessment-intervention requiring no special training and is compatible with other existing career material.
4. The theoretical base of the SDS demonstrates that long term research and development support continued and constructive revisions.
5. An open inventory, the undisguised groupings of items on the scales communicate the structure of vocational interests to encourage the test taker to think about work and personal characteristics in a systematic way.
6. The SDS and its related theory “represent a technological-theoretical advance” because they provide an “organization for mapping and understanding the massive information about people and occupations and the relation of one to the other” (p. 58).
The SDS consists of an Assessment Booklet, an Occupations Finder, and an interpretative booklet Understanding Yourself and Your Career. Developed to counter complaints that the SDS was not as self-interpreting as promised, the booklet was an effort to permit understanding of the theory behind the SDS rather than a simple description of the personality types (Holland & Rayman, 1986). The booklet also encourages test takers to further investigate the jobs identified as appropriate and to view this list of jobs as only suggestions. Consulting with a counselor is also suggested, and some question the ability of individuals to administer, score, and interpret their own SDS (Brown, 1975; Cutts, 1977; Dolliver & Hansen, 1977).
The Assessment Booklet includes six scales with 38 items per scale in each of three categories: activities, competencies, and occupations, ability ratings in 6 areas, and 8 lines on which to list occupational daydreams, careers the test takers have daydreamed about, and those the test takers have discussed with others. The test taker then scores the responses given and calculates 6 summary scores. Using the summary scores, the test taker obtains a three-letter code determined by the three highest summary scores. The summary code is then used to locate appropriate occupational options listed in the Occupations Finder which contains 1,156 occupations (Holland & Rayman, 1986).
During revisions, additional job titles have been added to the Occupations Finder to make the list more reflective of current occupations. Changes have been made in an attempt to diminish sex differences in responses to the scales by altering selected items on the Occupations Scale. Devised for poor readers, Form E, i.e., Easy, (1979) was a modification of the SDS lowering the reading level several grade levels, i.e., Grade 4, below the standard form, i.e., Grade 8, with the scoring procedure yielding a two-letter rather than a three-letter code. Form E’s Occupations Finder, renamed Job Finder, has been modified to reflect the use of the two-letter rather than three-letter codes (Campbell, 1988; Holland &, Rayman 1986).
Campbell (1988) and Manuele-Adkins (1989) expressed concern about the number of scoring errors made by test takers, the inconsistent use of Holland’s typology across sections of the measure, and questions about test fairness because of the use of raw rather than normed scores. Zener and Schnuelle (1976) compared the SDS, the Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI), and no treatment. High school students taking the SDS or VPI evaluated the inventories as positive, were satisfied with their current occupational choice, considering more occupational alternatives than the control group, and the SDS group had less need to see a counselor. Pallas, Dahmann, Gucer, and Holland (1983) reported similar findings with high school and college students, as well as workers. Additionally, Power, Holland, Daiger, and Takai (1979) found that test takers with a clear sense of vocational identity found the SDS experience reassuring.
The Use of Interest Inventories To Affect Change
Little recent research was discovered concerning the power of interest inventories or other exploration instruments to affect change in exploration behaviors, described by Oliver and Spokane (1988) as exploration validity. But work of particular interest in this area is Gottfredson’s (1986) principles of beneficial test usage. Gottfredson prescribes a method for the use of interest inventories and feedback reports to affect career exploration. These principles are of particular importance because they serve as a guide for the successful implementation of the RIPA to maximize the benefits that students receive from the experience.
Gottfredson’s Principles of Beneficial Test Usage
Gottfredson’s (1986) list of principles of beneficial test usage was designed to put vocational interest testing in a broad prospective by suggesting how interest inventories might be used in a beneficial manner. She also described types of results that could be expected when interest inventories and feedback are properly used. It is important to have a valid assessment of a person’s vocational interest because these interests reflect people’s perception of who they are (i.e., occupational self-concept) and because they influence career attitudes and behavior. The following list is a restatement and elaboration of principles found in the counseling literature. Gottfredson believed these principles apply to any person or group. Principles of beneficial test usage propose that:
1. Inventories should be viewed as treatments.
2. Interest inventories and their interpretive materials constitute packages of interventions with specific packages differing somewhat from one inventory to another.
3. Interest inventories are most useful when embedded within a broader career counseling process that recognizes the constraints on career choice.
4. Treatment should be tied to goals.
5. Goals for the counseling process, including interest inventories, should relate to the adjustment and welfare of individuals rather than to social groups of which individuals may be a member.
6. Career counseling strategies, including the use of interest inventories, should be targeted to counselees’ career development problems rather than to counselees’ special group status unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise.
7. Interest inventory scores are useful in diagnosing whether career choice is proceeding satisfactorily and why it may not be if it is not.
8. Interpretive materials that accompany interest inventories can be valuable in exposing and treating some underlying problems in career choice.
9. Interest inventories are useful in developing next best alternatives when compromises are necessary.
Gottfredson’s (1986) principles of beneficial test usage present a model procedure for use of the RIPA in providing the most beneficial results for students. Cole and Hanson (1975) suggested that “interest inventories should no longer be merely reported or interpreted. They should change behavior” (p. 12). Likewise, Zytowski (1978) stated that “interest inventories have become an instrument of social change” (p. 129). This view was resounded by Rounds and Tinsley (1984) when they noted “the active ingredients of several vocational intervention procedures are assumed to be the assessment process itself” (p. 130). Gottfredson suggested that if her nine principles are followed, exploration will be promoted.
During the past several years, researchers have been rejecting the importance of predictive or concurrent validity studies for evaluating interest inventories and have begun advocating that an interest inventory should be evaluated primarily for its capacity to generate exploratory behaviors for female and male clients (Borgen & Bernard, 1982). For example, Cooper (1976) challenged publishers of interest inventories to conduct research to provide interpretive materials that would facilitate an increase in women’s exploration of career choices. The concept of exploration validity was first put forth by Tittle (1978), and the concept is evolving as an important index of the effectiveness of career interventions and is viewed as just as important as attitudes and satisfaction with career interventions (Borgen & Bernard, 1982; Oliver & Spokane, 1988; Randahl et al 1993). Randahl et al. noted that though attitudes and satisfaction with career interventions are important outcomes to assess, the evaluation of exploration validity (i.e., instrumental behaviors [Oliver & Spokane, 1988]) of interest inventories or career interventions gradually has evolved as another important index of their effectiveness.
The lack of exploration validity studies for the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) was noted as one of its shortcomings (Borgen & Bernard, 1982). As a result of the Borgen and Bernard study, Slaney and Lewis (1986) conducted a study of the SII and the Vocational Card Sort (VCS) with 34 career-undecided female reentry undergraduates. The results of the study showed that both the SII and the VCS were useful in facilitating career exploration.
Randahl et al. (1993) conducted a 2-phase longitudinal study to explore the exploration validity (i.e., the power of interest inventories to facilitate career exploration activities such as talking to professionals and seeking vocational information) of the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) for college students. The participants included 75 students in an experimental group which participated in SII testing and a group interpretation, and 67 students in a contrast group which received nothing. Students in the experimental group reported significantly more instrumental career exploration behaviors 1 year after taking the SII than did the contrast group. The Randahl et al. study holds particular significance for the present study as it is parallel to the Randahl et al. study except conducted on the RIPA.
The Influence of Various Independent Variables on Career Development
Career Development and Gender
Gottfredson (1996) suggested sex-role stereotyping occurs between ages 6 to 8 and cited many studies to support her proposition. Lapan and Jingeleski (1992) and Sastre and Mullet (1992) confirmed early studies by Gottfredson (1981) that gender, social class, and intelligence are related to the field or level of occupational aspirations. Using factor analysis, Lapan and Jingeleski found six factors affecting eighth graders’ assessment of occupations: Conventional, Investigative, Realistic, Enterprising, Social, and Adventure. This study indicated a strong degree of sex role stereotyping for the less prestigious sextyped clusters (Conventional and Realistic). There were, however, few sex differences in self-ratings for the more sex-neutral Enterprising and Investigative fields of work. The lowest relationship was for cross-sextyped clusters (Conventional and Social for boys and Realistic and Adventure for girls).
Looft (1971) and Zunker (1990) found when asked what they want to be when they grow up, most boys respond with football player and policeman, with doctor, dentist, priest, and pilot being less frequent, while most girls answered nurse and teacher most frequently, followed by mother and flight attendant. Additionally, Nilsen (1971) referred to the apron syndrome brought about by the many pictures in children’s reading books of women in aprons. As late as the 1970s, most schools directed girls into typing and home economics while ushering boys into math and science classes.
One theory has been put forth that describing what happens to children as they grow, experience influences by various forces, and eventually make decisions about a future career. Though praised by Brooks (1990), severely criticized by Betz and Fitzgerald (1987), and scrutinized in recent research (Taylor &, Pryor 1985; Pryor & Taylor, 1986; Pryor, 1987; Henderson, Hesketh, & Tuffin, 1988; Holt, 1989; Hesketh, Elmslie, & Kaldor, 1990; Hesketh, Durant, & Pryor, 1990; Leung & Plake, 1990), Gottfredson’s (1981 & 1996) theory of circumscription and compromise set forth a developmental theory of occupational aspirations in which she posited the idea that gender will have the greatest influence on occupational preferences from age 6 through 9. After age 9, social background has a greater effect on occupational preference.
Gottfredson (1981, 1996) hypothesized that as career choices are made, compromise occurs. Specifically, individuals will give up interests first, prestige second, and sex-stereotyped occupations last. This theory suggests the difficulty for girls and women considering nontraditional careers. Henderson, Hesketh, and Tuffin (1988) found that gender was more important in career choice between ages 6 and 8, but after age 8, prestige was more important than gender in making occupational choice.
In a study of 37,000 17 year-old high school students, Miller (1977) found more males aspiring to professional occupations with females seeing themselves as homemakers and in sex traditional occupational roles. Males also chose sex traditional occupational roles, such as craftsperson, farmer, laborer, and manager. In a study of 50,000 12th grade students conducted over a 6-year period, Garrison (1979) found aspirations of women high school seniors for high-status professional occupations had increased while finding a declining interest in clerical-sales careers and lower-level professions for women. Fottler and Bain (1980) found females tended to aspire to professional and technical occupations slightly more than males, but aspired to managerial occupations less often than men.
Research indicates that girls may have difficulty making use of occupational information with traditionally male-dominated occupations and may have less confidence in their ability to make certain career-related decisions (Sharf, 1992). In a self-esteem study of 7th grade adolescents, Robison-Awana, Kehle, and Jenson (1986) found that both boys and girls believed that girls had lower self-esteem. Similarly, Betz and Fitzgerald (1987) found that sex-role stereotyping is still entrenched among adolescent boys and girls and is aggravated by sex bias in career materials and in ways that school teachers may relate to boys and girls.
Throughout assessment literature, gender restrictiveness has been noted as an issue of great concern (Betz & Fitzgerald, 1987; Gottfredson, 1986; Gottfredson; 1996). While Super (1990) and Westbrook (1983) indicated that girls tend to score slightly higher than boys on measures of career maturity, socialization experiences of boys and girls have been and will continue to be different (Sharf, 1992), thereby, presenting the test designer with a tremendous challenge of making tests fair for both genders (Betz, 1990; Hackett & Lonborg, 1994). This fact suggests the need to address all portions of the career development process to assure that individuals understand how to make use of occupational information concerning all occupations.
It is possible to see the legislative result of research done in this area in the School-to-Work Act (1996) which established a national framework for states to reform their educational systems to facilitate students’ transition from school to the workplace, expose them to a variety of industries, and provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the workplace of the future (Education Development Center, 1998). Congress’ intention to promote gender equity is domonstrated in the Act’s mandate that School-to-Work systems incorporate programs to encourage women to pursue nontraditional careers.
Academic Achievement and Career Development
Important work has examined the area of the relationship of academic ability and measured interests including the work of Swanson (1993). In Swanson’s study, participants completed the Strong Interest Inventory and a self-rating instrument. Results suggested that interests, abilities, and skills were distinct and should be considered separate constructs that could be assessed independently. However, interests, abilities, and skills within the same Holland (1985) career interest type showed predictable relations to the other. In another recent development, the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey (CISS) (Campbell, Hyne, & Nilsen, 1992) has shown important implications for the assessment of abilities, assessment of interests, and job- and community-related variables. Campbell (1993) noted that responses to the skill items can best interpreted as measures of self-confidence.
Studies that indicate more exploration in the use of self-estimates and measured estimates of ability in career assessment are needed (Hackett & Watkins, 1995). Westbrook, Sanford, Gilleland, Fleenor, and Mervin (1988) found that when measured abilities are compared to self-assessment of one’s abilities, considerable variability results. People who underestimate their abilities need assistance in developing a robust sense of educational and career efficacy (Betz, 1992; Hackett & Lonborg, 1994).
In a study designed to investigate the longitudinal influence of select demographic and latent variables on the development of adolescents’ occupational aspirations at early, mid-, and late adolescence, Rojewski and Yang (1997) found “that both academic achievement and self-evaluation had consistent, positive, and statistically significant influences on occupational aspirations” (p. 403). Additionally, they found that “aspirations, self-evaluation, and academic achievement were relatively stable constructs across the three points of interest” in the study (p. 402). They did note that occupational aspirations were more likely to change over time than academic achievement. The Rojewski and Yang study clearly indicated academic achievement had a greater influence on occupational aspirations at Grade eight than at Grade ten. This points out a need to provide career development programs at or below grade eight for students of higher academic acheivement. This would be a time when students of greater academic achievement can best take advantage of the career development programs. In later years, students of lower academic achievement seem to catch up in their occupational aspirations. Perhaps students with less academic achievement begin to realize they are drawing near to the time to begin employment if they do not continue their education.
Throughout the history of career development, the most constant thread has been the importance of individual interests. Early efforts were aimed at measurement of interests for the purpose of predicting the best occupational fit given individual strengths, limitations, and needs (Strong, 1927). Later, measurements of interests were intended to provide an image of the individuals personality (Holland, 1985). Considerable work has been done to try to understand the origin of interests (Roe, 1956; Holland, 1985). As career development theory evolved and matured, measurement of interests has continued to hold an important place. It is important to have a valid assessment of a person’s vocational interest because these interests reflect people’s perception of who they are (i.e., occupational self-concept) and because they influence career attitudes and behavior.
Stephen R. Richards, EdD
In this series of articles similar threads wre investigated by two different people. One must keep in mind that the review of lietrature for a dissertation must reflect the purpose of the study. Two different purposes will yield slightly different results for the same area of study.