Employability Skills Framework
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Assessment Comparison Worksheet

Step 1: Select Content Considerations

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View Description
As the Employability Skills Framework indicates, employability encompasses a wide variety of knowledge and skills that are both cognitive and non-cognitive. To select an appropriate assessment, users need to clearly identify the knowledge and skills being taught (and those not currently being assessed) and find an assessment that measures the content for which students are receiving instruction. As noted by the Board on Testing and Assessment, clearly defining employability skills and knowledge can be challenging since they must be defined at a level of specificity that recognizes specific subject matter or related applications (National Research Council 2011). Given the wide variety of skills, states or local programs may need multiple assessments to provide a realistic measure of employability. Further, users may want to consider which aspects of employability skills are most important to assess, ensuring that the selected assessment measures that content.
Alignment with employability skills constructs

  Which skills in the Employability Skills Framework do you intend to assess?

  Does the assessment address all of the selected skills?

  Which of your selected skills are addressed by the assessment?

  Which of your selected skills are NOT addressed by the assessment?

  Does the test measure other skills in addition to employability skills?

  What was the procedure for evaluating content alignment with the employability skills (subject matter expert reviews, psychmetric analysis)?

View Description
Context, or the situation in which skills and knowledge are demonstrated, is an important consideration for selecting an employability skills assessment. If the student is expected to apply a skill in a particular situation or within a discipline, then the assessment should provide an opportunity to demonstrate that application. In other words, the assessment should reflect the intended context in which skills will be used, such as the workplace or an academic setting. For example, for a workplace context, an assessment should ask students to respond to work-based scenarios and demonstrate how they might apply their skills at work.
Contextual relevance

  Do assessment items provide opportunities to apply the skills in real-world situations?

  What contexts are represented in assessment items?

  What academic disciplines are represented in assessment items?

View Description
Determining the appropriate assessment method involves reviewing how an assessment is administered, the item types (i.e., question, scenario, or simulation), and the response mode (i.e., select an answer, write an essay, assemble a portfolio, demonstrate a skill in a specific context) to ensure that the assessment effectively measures the knowledge, skills, or behaviors intended. For example, a multiple-choice question might be appropriate for assessing specific knowledge, but not for interpersonal skills or other complex skills and behaviors, which might be assessed more effectively by observation, simulation, or other types of constructed-response modes.
Assessment methods

  How is the assessment conducted?

  What are the item types and response modes?

  Are the assessment methods appropriate for the skills and context you are assessing?

View Description
Determining the appropriate type of assessment, whether formative or summative, requires a clear understanding of the audience and purpose of the assessment and the intended use of the results. Summative assessments are administered at particular points in the instructional period, usually at the beginning and end, and measure skill mastery. Results often are used as an accountability tool to report on student achievement and program effectiveness and to make programmatic policy decisions. Formative assessments are integrated into the teaching and learning process as learning activities to measure the effectiveness of instruction and quality of student learning. Results are incorporated into ongoing feedback and used to inform and motivate student achievement and improve instruction based on student learning needs.
Type of assessment

  Is the assessment summative or formative?

  What is purpose of the assessment (e.g., skill mastery, program effectiveness, ongoing student learning, or hiring decisions)?

  When is the assessment administered (i.e., at the beginning, end, or throughout the instructional cycle)?

  Are results useful for your intended audience (i.e., students, instructors, program, or employers)?

View Description
The ultimate goal of assessing employability skills is to determine how well an individual is prepared for work. Assessment results, therefore, should hold predictive value for employers, meaning that an individual’s score accurately predicts career readiness. Determining the value of assessment results to employers involves finding out if employers were involved in validating the skills measured by the assessment and reviewing data from assessment publishers on the labor market outcomes associated with different levels of results.
Value to employers

  Were employers involved in identifying the skills to be assessed?

  Was the assessment validated by employers?

  Does the test have a predictive value for employers?