15 Assessments and Evaluations

The following pages are excerpted, with permission, from the Focus Disability Network Supported Employment Career Exploration Guide. [1]

This section is meant to be a living document and should be reviewed, added to and changed as new information is attained.

Informal Assessments and Evaluations

  1. Visit Individual’s Home: Find out what motivates individual. Get to know them. Find out if living environment is safe and conducive to being employed.
  2. Attend Activities: Build Rapport. Observe level of stamina as well as social skills.
  3. Contact People of Influence: Call and meet friends, family supports and formal supports: Observe health of relationships. Explore the kind of work they would be suited for and determine the job seeker’s motivation to work.
  4. Take Transit: See where job seeker goes; level of independence. Observe and record how the job seeker interacts with people.
  5. Accompany on Daily Routine: Go to favorite hang-out places in the community. Determine motivation and other informal supports
  6. Explore Nutritional Health: Find out what the job seeker is eating to determine nutritional intake. Use the Canada Food Guide (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food- guide-aliment/index-eng.php) as a guideline.
  7. Explore Financial Situation: Explore financial situation; find out if individual is getting PWD or persons with multiple barriers support. Determine if individual needs more money for a better quality of life.
  8. Gather information: Reach out to the job seeker’s relational network; obtain psych-ed reports, IEPs, previous work experience/school program reports, career assessments; any previous mental health services assessments (issue of access and consent). Include people who are important to the job seeker and can support him/her in the process. Develop themes from past successes. Determine support needs, disability-related considerations, motivations, ideal environments, etc.
  9. Observe in Different Contexts: Community Cruise to places familiar and unfamiliar, with varying degrees of activity, crowdedness and commotion; explore work-related environments through job tasting/shadowing/volunteering; observe everyday activities like grocery shopping or taking transit. Explore potential triggers or reasons for challenging behaviours, determine coping skills, explore ideal conditions/environments, observe social skills, observe likes/wants/strengths/support needs, determine level of independence.
  10. Home Visit: Ask job seeker to show their favourite areas in the home, activities, things they enjoy. Watch for themes, hobbies and interests within the home and inquire about the level of commitment to the above (if appropriate). Schedule time and request the job seeker demonstrate the activity. Observe executive functions (prioritizing, organizing, planning, problem solving, focusing, maintaining and shifting attention as necessary).
  11. Neighborhood Visit: Observe the job seeker’s familiarity within their neighborhood. Include interactions with neighbors; positive or otherwise, highlights and lowlights of the area, green spaces, parks, etc. Observe job seeker demonstrating activities related to job interests. Determine whether activity is a routine or interest, level of knowledge related to activity, level of responsibility, self-awareness and awareness of others and safety in work space, access to preferred work environments.
  12. Certificates: Determine potential certificates required to pursue work (such as FoodSafe) or volunteer opportunities and skills training in their field of interest (such as HAVE Society or Vancouver Community College).
  13. Essential Skills: Nine “essential skills” are the foundation for learning all other skills. They let people work productively, learn what they need to know, solve unexpected problems and adapt to workplace change. The nine essential skills are reading, writing and numeracy; document use and computer use; oral communication and working with others; thinking and continuous learning. This assessment can also supplement specific Essential Skills components in Case Managed workshops. The B.C. ITA Essential Skills website (http://www.ita.essentialskillsgroup.com/) can help workers who want to improve their essential skills, especially those interested in the trades.
  14. Transferable Skills Checklist: Several concepts are involved in this comprehensive skills checklist, which requires the user to self-assess their skills in three levels of competency in twelve skills categories, including transferable skills. The job seekers assess their top skill areas and can also locate skills they wish to develop. Wording in this assessment provides the user with applicable phrases for resumes cover letters and job search interviews.
  15. Needs & Values Card Decks: These inter-related decks are designed to support each other in identifying the internal values of the user, and the external environment that supports the expression of those values in the workplace. This assessment is motivational and inspiring, allowing the job seeker to apply the values in a concrete way.
  16. Strength in Action: This online assessment allows job seekers to profile themselves by rank order based on their work values. It is positive in its framework and provides the users with confidence in themselves through knowing how their intrinsic values are strengths in the workplace.
  17. Learning Styles (http://en.copian.ca/library/learning/csa/appx_d.htm) A preferred learning style is the way in which the job seeker learns best. Three learning styles that are often identified in students are: Auditory, Visual, and Tactile/Kinesthetic. Assessments are available online and in print form. The VARK Questionnaire (http://vark-learn.com/the-vark-questionnaire/) is a web-based assessment provides the user with a quick perspective on their dominant learning style. This knowledge can support the user immediately in the workshops, and can be a support in preparing for starting a job and managing the learning curve of the first 3 months.
  18. Trades Info Websites (https://bc.tradesinfo.ca/; http://www.trades.info.com/): These websites provide the job seeker with a comprehensive list of trade occupations and the skills that are associated with that work.  The job seeker self-assesses their skills and can determine if they have enough skills to target a job in a specific trade, and what skills they may need to learn or increase, and how to do that.
  19. Choices Planner: This comprehensive tool provides individual occupational options based on Skills, Interests, Values, and a brief personal style indicator; or integrates them into a focused list that can include other “sort” functions such as wage ranges and physical restrictions.  The assessments are liked to over 1,000 occupations based on the Canadian labour market, with hyperlinks to government job websites and labour market information. This assessment has a deep history and consequently job seekers may have had exposure to its standardized assessments rich database that is continuously updated.
  20. Career Cruising: This popular assessment utilizes an in-depth interest inventory combined with a subjective skills assessment to produce occupational options from a database of 500 occupations in the Canadian labour market.
  21. The Strong Interest Inventory (https://www.cpp.com/pdfs/smp284250.pdf): This widely used career planning instrument enables the job seeker to identify their dominant interests and match them with the Holland personality type/interests. The assessment also allows them to identify occupations that match their interests and identify relevant training/ educational options. This assessment also provides an understanding of their preferred learning environments, leadership, risk-taking level, and teamwork preferences.
  22. Values Inventory: This assessment tool helps to determine what values are most important to the job seeker, to aid in selecting an occupation that they have increased likelihood of enjoying and finding satisfaction in doing.
  23. Virtual Job Shadow (https://www.virtualjobshadow.com/): Empowers individuals to discover, plan and pursue their dreams utilizing a video-based career planning platform.
  24. Work Interest Inventory: This self-assessment required the job seeker answer questions about various potential work activities, then score the results to get a sense of what their interests are most likely to be.
  25. The Launching Pad (www.launchingpad.biz): The Launching Pad is an innovative approach to helping entrepreneurs with disabilities plan and launch their business. The program provides assistance for entrepreneurs to select a business idea, explore the viability of the idea, create a business canvas (plan), test the plan, and launch the business.  The program also provides ongoing supports and assistance to businesses.
  26. WorkBC Self-Employment Exploration (https://www.workbc.ca/Jobs- Careers/Explore-Careers/Is-Self-Employment-for-You.aspx): This website outlines pros and cons of self-employment, lists the skills needed, and provides self- assessment tools.

Semi-formal Assessments and Evaluations

  1. Myers-Briggs (http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/take-the-mbti- instrument/home.htm?bhcp=1): Helping an individual understand their personality type is the first step to personal and professional growth. The MBTI® assessment helps job seekers understand their personal style in terms of learning, job searching, communicating and characteristics in the workplace, and ultimately helps them see their potential. It is similar to Type Focus, and Personality Dimensions.
  2. Type Focus (https://v6.typefocus.com/): This on-line assessment is equivalent to the MBTI in its structure and job seekers can refer to MBTI resources regarding suitable occupations. This assessment also provides natural skills and strengths that arise from their Type preferences. This assessment will be available in the Self- serve.
  3. COPES & COPS (http://www.edits.net/information/testing-supplements/cops-p-caps-and-copes-validity.html): COPES measure work environment values. There are eight values dichotomies that correlate directly to the interest clusters found in COPS. The COPS provides a job activity interest score related to the 14 COPS system career clusters that provide career suggestions in of the identified Career Clusters.
  4. Personal Style Indicator (https://www.crgleader.com/assessments/personal-style-indicator.html): This foundational assessment by the CRG Consulting Resource Group allows users to identify and articulate their natural preferences, strengths and potential challenges within employment and their personal lives. This assessment may be delivered in a group environment to the Multi-barriered specialized population. It is effective in improving communication, building relationships, teams and creating self-awareness.
  5. Personality Dimensions (http://www.personalitydimensions.com/): This assessment is delivered in a group workshop and in addition to expanding the results of the on-line Type Focus, brings enjoyment to the learning process. Job seekers are able to identify their natural strengths and careers. This assessment may be delivered to the Multi-barriered specialized population.
  6. Values Preference Indicator (https://www.crgleader.com/assessments/values-preference-indicator.html): This CRG assessment allows users to identify their core values and how they match to employment. The assessment guides more effective decision making, builds confidence, trust, and generates respect for others and their differing values. This assessment may be delivered to the Multi-barriered specialized population.
  7. Leadership Skills Inventory (https://www.crgleader.com/assessments/leadership-skills-inventory-others.html): This CRG assessment supports Job seekers who wish to hold a supervisory role and provides an assessment of leadership skills in addition to specific steps to increase and improve leadership effectiveness. This assessment also evaluates self-management skills, interpersonal communication skills, coaching, problem solving and team development. This assessment may be delivered to the Multi-barriered specialized population and identified Older Workers.
  8. Job Style Indicator (https://www.crgleader.com/products/assessments/job-style-indicator.html): This professional Assessment developed by Consulting Resource Group International (CRG) provides the user with potential occupations based on their natural working style. This assessment clarifies responsibilities, determines performance expectations and establishes mutual understanding. This assessment is suitable for Case Managed youth and Multi-barriered populations.
  9. True Colors (https://truecolorsintl.com/assessments/): This is a model for understanding oneself and others based on one’s personality temperament. It can be used to provide insights into different motivations, actions and communication approaches, and to strengthen
  10. Labour Market Information (LMI): Research into published LMI from various sources that are relevant to the careers and occupations being explored. Access a variety of LMI and updated regularly to identify the trends and prospects of careers and occupations, as well to help gain an idea of the qualifications that may be required in the job(s).
  11. Informational Interview: Conduct informational interviews with the employers and employees to understand the qualifications and skills set the employers are looking for, the hiring procedures and potential working conditions, as well the technology that might have changed within a certain industry or sector. This is not a time to ask for a job, but instead to gather information. Informational Interviews would enable the employers to feel more comfortable sharing their perspectives on their business, which could also lead to more interview opportunities, or potentially job leads.
  12. Mentoring: Through a mentorship relationship in a career exploration development process, a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person in clarifying and confirming his/her career choice. The mentor may be older or younger, but have a more in-depth experience, expertise or connections in the area of interest.
  13. Professional Portfolio: Accompanied with a resume, a portfolio strategically developed and crafted can be very effective when aiming for a certain employer, industry, or niche market. It can be in the traditional paper format, audio, or video one that makes the most sense.
  14. Job Shadowing: This provides a work experience option where an individual learns about a job by walking through the work day as a shadow to a competent worker. The job shadowing work experience could be a temporary, unpaid exposure to the workplace in an occupational area of interest to the individual.
  15. Self-Employment: Referral for Self-Employment Programs. If applicable, this option may provide the job seeker with the flexibility and the independence to manage their own economic affairs.
  16. Unpaid Work Experience, Job Tasting: Observe the job seeker’s interests, and transferable skills. Understand and make observations based on measurable outcomes and provide necessary recommendations towards next steps. Observe the ability to complete set tasks within the timeframe allocated, the ability to work both in a team and independently, and to follow instructions. The level of direct and indirect supports and accommodations required for completion of tasks can be determined through this observation, and behavioural style when in work-related environments can be noted (e.g.  Does client become easily frustrated?). If the outcome is positive, a work opportunity may arise which can be supported through Job Coaching, Ongoing Employment Maintenance & Retention, Wage Subsidies.

Formal Assessment and Evaluations

  1. Functional Capacity Evaluation: This includes a range of assessments which are customized to address the features of the job seeker and their situation. Lengthy assessments may be performed to examine tolerance for functions over time and, if applicable, relevant tests to examine a job seeker’s productivity for work functions are included. Work or activity simulations are an important aspect of functional testing and are included in the customized testing methodology.  BiMFA regularly performs over 500 functional capacity evaluations per year. The job seeker(s) will be assessed by expert clinicians with credentialed advanced skills in this testing process. As well, cost of future care analysis and recommendations can be facilitated or substantiated with the information measured in the functional capacity evaluation.
  2. Learning Disability Assessment: This is a comprehensive assessment designed to provide information about a job seeker’s skills, strengths, abilities and considerations related to employment. It confirms if there is a specific learning disability and includes recommendations about employment options, supports and other related considerations.
  3. Neuropsychological Evaluation: This is a specialized comprehensive psychology assessment designed to determine cognitive functioning in relation to a job seeker’s functioning abilities related to employment. It also identifies recommendations or considerations related to employment. This assessment may be appropriate for job seekers who have the following conditions or disabilities: Brain Injury, Parkinson’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, etc.
  4. Vocational Assessment: This type of assessment is often requested for persons who are unable to return to work in their typical job or lifestyle activities due to the restrictions imposed by an injury. A vocational assessment can also help to identify vocational alternatives that are consistent with a job seeker’s aptitudes, interests, skills, and physical abilities. A transferable skills analysis may also be included with each report.
  5. Psychological Vocational Assessment: This is a comprehensive assessment designed to provide information about a job seeker’s skills, strengths, abilities and considerations related to employment. The assessment includes recommendations related to employment options, supports, and other employment-related considerations. This assessment may be appropriate for job seekers who have the following conditions or disabilities: Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disordered, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder), Personality Disorders, Attention Deficit and Disruptive Behaviour Disorders, Substance related disorders.
  6. Physical/Functional Capacity Assessment: This assessment provides information about a job seeker’s physical abilities or tolerances to perform work-related tasks and activities. The assessment may include recommendations related to employment options, task tolerances, supports and other worksite accommodations related to employment.
  7. Ergonomic Assessment: This assessment provides information about a job seeker’s physical and/or cognitive capabilities and limitations in order to ensure that tasks, equipment, information and the work environment suit the job seeker and won’t cause further injury or discomfort.
  8. Ergonomic and Risk Factor Analyses: Clinicians attend worksites to assess work environments in relation to impairment or disability concerns. They examine the work procedures and physical environments to determine whether thresholds for risk factors known to develop musculoskeletal disorders have been reached or exceeded. The objective measures will enable them to make specific opinions or recommendations for ergonomic solutions to optimize comfort and function while working. These services are often requested by employers, unions, insurance agencies, or the legal community.
  9. Assistive Technology Assessment: This assessment matches the capabilities and needs of an individual to the characteristics of an assistive technology device or service needed to enable the job seeker to participate in employment.
  10. Functional Capacity Evaluation: This assessment, completed by an Occupational or Physical Therapist, provides detailed assessment of physical and behavioural functioning to ascertain ability to meet job demands of a variety of potential vocational options. It is a useful tool in the event that the job seeker displays strong cognitive functioning but the physical capacity is of concern. Recommendations can also be made for other types of occupational interests that would be more realistic with regards to the level of functional capacity tested. This assessment outcomes outline strength abilities, postural tolerances, mobility functions, reaching and handling productivities, cognitive productivities and accuracy and behavioral responses to symptom reactivity in functional settings. Recommendations for ergonomic supports are made if needed.
  11. Audiological Assessment: This assessment provides information about the type and degree of hearing loss. It determines whether the condition is medically treatable or not. It also advises on how the hearing loss may impact employability and provides recommendations on the most suitable technology and/or assistive device to support the job seeker in employment.
  12. Speech and Language Assessment: This assessment evaluates a job seeker’s communication abilities and includes recommendations and/or accommodations that support the achievement of Labour Market Attachment. This assessment may be appropriate for job seekers who have the following conditions of disabilities: Expressive and receptive language disorders, Severe Stuttering, Developmental Delay, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and Progressive Neurological Conditions.
  13. Canadian Language Benchmark Testing (http://www.language.ca/): If required, refer client for this assessment to ensure proof of intermediate English or Equivalent. For example, most culinary arts certificates require a Canadian Language Benchmark of Listening 5, Speaking 5, Reading 5 and Writing 4; TOEFL 45; or IELTS overall 4.5, with no band less than 4.0. Depending on scores, skills training may not be a viable intervention and job seeker may have to reconsider career options.
  14. Short Term Occupational Certification: Job seeker benefits from having a Certificate as it would allow them to work or volunteer in their field of interest.
  15. Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI) (http://noc.esdc.gc.ca/English/CH/WorkPreferenceInventory.aspx?ver=06&sub=0&c h=03):

The CWPI is a self-report inventory that measures a respondent’s career interests and preferred working styles. Results provide valuable information for young people trying to select a career, employed people seeking an alternate career that matches their interests and skills, and unemployed people seeking to identify types of work that they would find rewarding.

  1. Valpar Pro 3000 (https://www.mhs.com/): Agencies use Valpar’s Pro300 software for: Objective Skills Assessment, Career Exploration, Basic Skills Remediation, Job Placement, and Automated Case Management. Pro3000 software can: Directly relate an individual’s skills and academic achievement levels to jobs and careers; develop a school-to-work road map; Create and track an Individual Service Strategy (ISS); Generate learning prescriptions for SkillsBank academic software; Give each job seeker a better chance for success in today’s quickly changing work place.
  2. Career Values Scale (https://www.psychometrics.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/cvs_m.pdf):
    The Career Values Scale (CVS) is an up-to-date measure of work values, preferences and needs. These values are a part of a person’s core beliefs and give meaning to the person’s career and life. They are a useful indicator of job satisfaction and personal goals. By comparing the qualities of a career as prized by the job seeker, the requirements of a career opportunity can be examined for discrepancies. These differences may offer positive opportunities for a review. Topics such as career ladder, job satisfaction, needs met through career or jobs, and special qualities that can be found in work environments can be explored.
  3. Skills Training (https://www.workbc.ca/Training-Education.aspx): Many jobs require some form of education or training. The WorkBC website contains education and skills training needed for various trades and jobs, and financial supports available for post-secondary education expenses.
  4. Wage Subsidies: Application will depend on eligibility through either Employment Insurance Attachment or Opportunities Fund. If job seeker is willing and keen to find employment, this would be a beneficial intervention as it will allow for labour market participation, training on the job as well earning capacity for the job seeker. The employer benefits from the wage incentive and is able to decide if job seeker is to be hired on a permanent basis post wage subsidy contract.  This intervention can also be recommended in the final stage for labour market attachment post skills training if job seeker has demonstrated an unsuccessful job search and that Wage Subsidies is going to benefit job seeker with potential employment.
  5. Work Simulation: Completed by an Occupational or Physical Therapist, this assessment evaluates an individual’s performance of work tasks for a targeted job. Assessments of cognitive functions, psycho-emotional behavior, and physical abilities are conducted in relation to task demands of the target job, to determine ability to safely and effectively perform a specific group of job tasks. A shorter version of functional testing exists for clients that may not tolerate full day testing related to their impairments.

For job seekers who have completed a Functional Capacity Evaluation or Psycho- Vocational Assessment, a Work Simulation can be used as a follow up to for recommendations provided in these assessments. As well, this service is appropriate for individuals who are not capable of participating in a full functional capacity evaluation (FCE) or psycho-vocational assessment, due to their disability. Work Simulations may also be beneficial for those job seekers who are not yet prepared to participate in vocational activities, but who may require assistance with life skills or volunteer placement goals.

This section on assessments and evaluations was taken, with permission, directly from the Focus Disability Network Supported Employment Career Exploration Guide. [2]


  1. Focus Disability Network Society. (2017). Resources. Retrieved November 2017, 2017, from Focus Disability Network Society: http://www.focusdisability.ca/members/focus-disability-network-society-resources
  2. Focus Disability Network Society. (2017). Resources. Retrieved November 2017, 2017, from Focus Disability Network Society: http://www.focusdisability.ca/members/focus-disability-network-society-resources.

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Assessments and Evaluations by Nicola Soles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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