INTRODUCTION<br />Every individual at a point in time in his life ponders over what kind of Job he will have or the kind of career that will be suitable for him. Some are even confused and wish somebody would just tell me what career I should enter”, or “can’t make up my mind between fashion designing and legal practicing.” Or even, some burst out, really upset because “I can’t think of any job I’m interested in”. In response to these appraisals, it is important that individuals find out not only who they are (personality) what kind of work they would be able to do (ability), but also, what kind of work would the person find interesting and personally satisfying. In fact, the individual needs to know what interests him and thus, bring him a personal satisfaction and success in life. This information on what interests and satisfies the person is of great importance to counselors, teachers, and others who assist youths and adults in career and related decision making. It is also important to the employee and the employer because employer would want to hire the services of an employee who is both stable and at same-time, satisfied with his job.<br />It is for these reasons that the development of inventories to assess interests and values has been a major concern to a number of testing and personnel psychologists. They are aware of the fact that there are many occupations that people may never have thought about, and so may not have ever formulated any expression of interest for them. And also, there are many jobs, perhaps most jobs concerning which they have only the sketchiest of impressions of what the job entails – what tasks are done and under what circumstances (Thorndike & Hagen 1979).<br />Test development in psychology therefore came as a result of occupational selection and classification. Vocational Interests Inventories (VII) received much attention for educational and career counseling. According to Anastasi (1988), “in dealing with individual’s personality, the nature and these characteristics affect certain variables such as his educational and occupational achievements, interpersonal relationship, satisfaction derived from his work that move his success in life.”<br />One of the most popular theories ever propounded to describe interests and how they relate to jobs, people and the environments is that of John Holland. Holland (1985), quoted in Hanson (1995), posits that both people and environments could be put into six occupational groupings<br /><ul><li>Realistic- outdoors, mechanical
Conventional- details, clerical.</li></ul>Holland’s personality theory of career development has a powerful impact on the field of career counseling and interest assessment that many interest inventories formulated include scales that measure interests related to Holland’s six types.<br />BASIC ASSUMPTIONS<br />Bordin, cited in Shertzer and stone (1976), presents two corollaries on his assumption on the nature of VII. These corollaries are:<br /><ul><li>The degree of clarity of an interest type will vary positively with the degree acceptance of the occupational stereotypes as self-descriptive, and
The degree of clarity of an interest type will vary positively with the degree of knowledge of the true occupational stereotype.</li></ul>The above assumptions explain that the individuals’ responses on a VII express the acceptance of a particular view or concept of themselves in relation to occupation conventional images in interests, which are true of the occupations. Cunningham (1986) also outlines the following five assumptions:<br /><ul><li>Careers differ in terms of the personality characteristics and interest and those in the careers must have them in order to be happy and successful.
Interest inventory is to match the individual’s characteristics to the career.
Situations</li></ul>The respondent is expected to indicate by way of preferences between, likings for one or more choices. In this case, the examinee’s response typically takes one of the two contrasting forms such as:<br /><ul><li>a categorical response for liking, indifference, or dislike,
Alternative situations or activities</li></ul>According to Bordin (1943) as cited by Shertzer and Stone (1976), the nature of VII based on the theories that support them, could take one of the following three directions. That it could be from the static, dynamic, or the empirical point of view. Bordin posits that the static point of view is formulated by John Darley who presumed that VI of an individual becomes fixed when that individual reaches maturity. According to the dynamic view which is Bordin’s own formulation, the VI is seen as a product of psychological influences which are subject to change in life with shifts in the psychological equilibrium. The third, the empirical view, a stand taken by E. K. Strong, shows the existence of preferences that set aside people who have been successful in their various vocations from the general public. Super and Crites (1962) cited in Herr and Cramer (1984), suggested that an individual’s interest could be assessed in the following four ways;<br /><ul><li>Expressed interests – what an individual shows an interest in
Manifest interests – what an individual actually does in portraying his interests
Testing interests – using instruments to measure the individual’s interest e.g. OIP, SCII, SDS etc to portray that if an individual has an interest in an area, he should have a vocation from that field.
Inventoried interests – this is determining the pattern of an individual’s interest from his responses to a list of a list of occupational activities.</li></ul>However, the most important of all for assessing individual interest is the inventoried interest that has two types of empirically keyed, and non-empirically inventories. The empirically keyed inventory talks about individual scores that are related to specific occupations. The shortcoming of this however is; it does not consider the job satisfaction of the individual in the occupation. Anastasi (1988) cities Zytowski and Warman (1982) that “the large majority of interest inventories are designed to assess the individual’s interest in different fields of work, interest in education curricular which are usually related to career decisions”<br />POSITIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF VII<br />For VII to be effective and their values realized, VII should, according to Holland (1985), ideally have many positive characteristics such as;<br /><ul><li>Provide occupational forecasts of satisfaction and achievement,
Provide the full range of vocations options by both type and level, inventories fail to suggest all possible vocational options,
Provide information that is in accordance with a person’s life history, current circumstances, and personal potential,
Be oriented toward the most common occupations and to some degree, toward the spectrum of the future world of work,
Be adaptable to new educational and occupational information,
Should include other materials such as brochures that summarizes information about the inventory’s strengths and weaknesses,
Should also be relatively resistant to client or counselor abuse and distortion.</li></ul>TYPES OF VII<br />Numerous inventories designed to assess interest have been published over the years with many revisions and totally new ones emerging. The available choices range from those that measure a small number of relatively broad interest and are self-administered and hand scored, to those that report over 200 scores and must be scored by either the self or the computer (Kapes and Mastie cited in Hansen, 1995).This paper would however examine some examples of VII. Among them are SDS, SVIB, SCII, MVII, etc. It has been suggested that the importance of vocational is very crucial. This is because people in particular occupations or jobs have characteristics sets of likes and which differentiate them from men in other occupations and from men in general.<br />Strong Vocational interest Blank (SVIB)<br />One of the early researches done on VII was by E. K. Strong who, in 1972, formulated the SVIB focused on occupations that are of high educational level with 399 items. It requires the examinee to respond to the items with reference to occupations, school subjects, activities, types of people, amusements, etc with Likes (L), Dislikes (D), and indifference (I).<br />According to this research, it has not been clear as to whether men at all occupational levels could be differentiated on the basis on characteristic interest patterns. One thing however clear and encouraging was its ability to predict with a high degree of accuracy, the stability of individual’s interest patterns. According to Strong, cited in Shertzer and Stone (1976), “people’s interests change considerably between the ages of 15-20, are more stable from ages 20-25; and changes very little from ages 25-55.” Based on the SVIB, it was found out that people who engage in different occupations were characterized by common interest that set them apart from people in other occupations or jobs. Thus, the differences in interest extended not only to issues bothering directly on job activities, but also, to school subjects, hobbies, sports, types of play or books the individual enjoys, the social relationships he engages in etc.The individual’s interest match those of persons successfully engaged in particular occupations. Initially, the SVIB had two forms – men and women. The scale for men was more successful whereas scale for women was less successful due to the focus on only the traditional jobs made available to women and this tend to limit the range of jobs women could have.<br />Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (SCII)<br />In 1947, a new edition of interest inventory suitable for both men and women “with 325 items was jointly published by E. K. Strong and D. P. Campbell Interest (SCII). It refers to occupations, school subjects, activities, amusements, types of people, and so forth for which the examinee expresses liking, indifference, or dislike” Shertzer and Stone (1976). Very important of the SCII is its characteristics of indicating the degree to which person’s interest are similar to those of other persons in a particular occupation. The scoring key established for an occupational theme scales based on Holland’s six types of people and environment with 20 items in each scale. According to Herr and Cramer (1984), these scales are related to 23 Basic Interest Scales. Usually, the SCII is scored and interpreted by the computer. Much of the gender bias or sexism has been eliminated. It takes normally between 30-45 minutes to complete.<br />Minnesota Vocational Interests Inventory (MVII)<br />E.K. Clark formulated this and it was basically for males of 15 years and above. The MVII has 9 general interest scales: mechanical, electronics, food services, carpentry, outdoors, etc with 21 occupational scales for skilled occupations such as baking, carpentering, plumbing, etc. The need for an inventory to measure skilled trades was the bases for this Inventory. Unlike the SVIB, this inventory is primarily intended for people with low educational background. Its basic focus is on blue-collar jobs. Keys have been developed to differentiate specific trades from tradesmen in general, following in general, the technique used by Strong. Even though it is effective in differentiating groups already in different trades, it is not so with data on predictive effectiveness. Its approximate working time is 45 minutes.<br />Self-Directed Search (SDS)<br />This inventory was developed by John Holland based on his theory of career. Holland postulates that many people could be loosely categorized with respect to his theoretical model on occupational interests. According to Anastasi (1988), “the SDS was designed as a self-administered, self –scored, and self-interpreted vocational counseling instrument. Although organized around interests, the procedure also calls for self-ration abilities and reported competencies”. Based on this, it is clear that the individual fills a Self-Assessment Booklet, scores the responses he has given and calculate six summary scores that correspond to the theme of Holland’s model. Even though the SDS is said to be self-scoring there is recommendation for supervision and checking of the scores. The instructions, procedures and sources of information are provided to facilitate the individual’s career decision making. The merits of the inventory are:<br /><ul><li>Its simplicity & brevity,
Self-administration, scoring, interpretation (do-it-all-yourself) features, and
Its role in expanding the individual’s career options.</li></ul>The CAI is patterned along the SVIB – SCII and was specifically designed for those who do not want jobs that required university degree, advanced professional training or diploma. Its focus is on skilled trades, clerical and technical work, and semi-diploma. Its focus is on skilled trades, clerical and technical work, and semi professional occupations such as aircraft mechanic, computer programmer, cafeteria worker, and registered nurse. With 305 items grouped under three content categories of activities, school subjects, and occupational titles, it provides 5 response options of SD– SL. CAI utilizes the same general approach as the SCII, Occupational Themes, 22 Basic Interest Areas Scales, and 91 Occupational Scales. With regard to interpretation, the CAI is comparable to the SCII but differs in the area of the problem of differential responses by females and males with emphasis on occupational assessment. Jobs that do not require a college degree are more associated with one gender than others do. However, a great deal of effort has been put into correcting these differences and the instrument is appropriate for use for both males and females.<br />Evaluation of VII<br />This section would closely look at the uses and limitations of the interest inventories.<br />Uses<br />The VII is used in a variety of applied and research settings for several different purposes. The most important and popular use is career exploration which leads to decision-makings such as;<br /><ul><li>Choosing a major course in college
Changing career.</li></ul>Anastasi identified the following uses:<br /><ul><li>It can support strengthen existing vocational aspirations in one person,
It can stimulate a comprehensive exploration of the world of work with attention to hitherto unconsidered options,
It can provide increased self-understanding, and
It expands to cover large occupational levels.</li></ul>Employment agencies, vocational rehabilitation services, social service agencies, corporations, and consulting firms use these.<br />Additionally, researchers also use objective assessments to operationalise construct of interests in studies that investigate variables relevant to understanding the world of work. Currently, vocational psychological research includes analyses of:<br /><ul><li>The structure of interest,
The relationship between interests and other psychological variables such as personality, satisfaction, success, and
The role that interests play in career development.</li></ul>Furthermore, the VII are assessed for use in selection and classification evaluation of some cases, assessed interests that add valuable data to career choice predictions are used even after selection in order to help an employee to find the position within a particular organization (Hansen, 1994).<br />Also, knowledge in VII is not only for the career counselor and the psychologist, but also for the individual who needs to match his interests with the available occupations. This is because interests are the key to occupational satisfaction; persons whose interests are not represented in their occupational choice can suffer much unrest and dissatisfaction.<br />According to Oladele (2000), “interest tests are used to get a measure of the individual’s feelings of like or dislike, concern or curiosity toward an activity. The VII are mostly used for career guidance because they highlight the direction of the individual vocational thinking”.<br />Limitations<br />As regards the nature of VII in using the empirically keying, research conducted by Reilly and Echternacht (1979) cited in Herr and Cramer (1984), casts some doubts on the manner in which criterion-keying has been effected. They claim “Criterion- Keying has been done without regard to the dimension of job satisfaction. There is now some evidence to suggest that job satisfaction within occupations should be considered.<br />Again, the preoccupation of interest inventories has been concerned primarily with the area of prediction rather than research in the area of vocational interest development. For instance the SVIB, with its empirical keying, provides no information regarding the development of interests or the relationship between interest patterns and occupational success or job satisfaction (Shertzer, & stone, 1976).<br />Early VII were more focused on professional careers which demand at least a college education.<br />Other limitations of VII are that the responses could be faked; the vocabulary level may be over and above the comprehension of the examinees; and that examinees may not respond to their own true preferences but to socially acceptable choices<br />Implications for Counseling<br />For the purpose of career exploration, counselors need to study and understand the use of VII in order to assist their clients especially those in school for the student to make meaningful and fruitful decisions on their future career life.<br />It is also essential for counselors to acquaint themselves with the carious interest tests available in order to know which will best help a client.<br />Conclusion<br />Vocational interest tests are interest-based inventory test to discover an occupation that you are passionate about. The interest tests will lead you to your true calling, the sources of job satisfaction and life's fulfilment. <br />Unlike career aptitude tests that measure your mental abilities, interest tests examine the types of occupation you might enjoy and be successful in. <br />Reference<br />Betsworth, D.G., & Fouad, N.A. (1997). Vocational interests: A look at the past 70 years and a glance at the future. The Career Development Quarterly, 46(4), 352-360.<br /> Brown, D. (2007). Career Information, Career Counseling, and Career Development (9th ed.). <br />Cunningham, G. K. (1986). Educational and Psychological Measurement. New York Macmillian Publishing Company.<br />Donald, A, Cheser, J. L. Asghor, R (1990). Introduction to Research in Education. (4th Edition). Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winsoting, Inc. <br />Ebel R. L, Frisbi, D. A. (1991). Essentials of Educational Measurement. (5th Edition). New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc. <br />Hubert, L., & Arabie, P. (1987). Evaluating order hypotheses within proximity matrices. Psychological Bulletin, 102, 172–178.<br />J.C., Sarman, Z.M., & Collins, R.C. (1999). An evaluation of Holland’s model of vocational interests for Chicana(o) and Latina(o) college students. The Journal of Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 32(1), 2-14. <br />Leedy, D. L, Ormrod, J. E. (2005). Practical Research: Planning and Design. (8th Edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Merril/Prentice Hall. <br />UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST<br />FACULTY OF EDUCATION<br />DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS<br />PROGRAMME<br />M.PHIL (GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING)<br />EPS 522: TESTING IN COUNSELLING<br />TOPIC<br />VOCATIONAL INTEREST INVENTORY<br />LECTURER<br />PROF. J.K. ESSUMAN<br />PRESENTED BY<br />INEKE FABEA BOSSMAN<br />MAY, 2011<br />