Employability Skills Framework

Planning for Assessment Selection

Employability skills are an essential component of college and career readiness and a necessity for individuals of all ages to succeed in a competitive global economy. Research efforts to date have primarily focused on identifying these skills; however, attention is increasingly directed towards developing assessments to measure employability skills, both by educators and workforce training professionals seeking to identify and address skill gaps, and by employers to inform hiring decisions and reduce on-the-job retraining needs.

Taking an informed and deliberate approach to employability skills assessment selection, whether statewide, regional, or local, can increase the value to, and buy-in from, students/employees, educators, employers, and other partners and better ensure that the assessments you select meet your needs.

Use the questions below to think through important issues related to employability skills assessment policy and implementation.

Questions to Consider Before Selecting an Assessment

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Definition of Employability Skills

  • What are the employability skills adopted by your state or local program or that are most important to your workplace?
  • How clearly are the skills defined? Do they describe specific knowledge and skills that are observable and measurable with real-world applications?
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Assessment Policy Considerations

  • Who is the target population for the assessment?
  • What is the purpose of the assessment? How will assessment results be used and who will use them?
  • What is the value of the assessment results to students/employees, instructors, employers, managers and other stakeholders?
  • Should the assessment lead to a specific credential (i.e., a locally, state, or nationally recognized certificate)?
  • Which partners are involved in planning and implementing the assessment?
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Assessment Implementation Considerations

  • How and to what extent are employability skills currently being assessed? Are both formative and summative assessments used?
  • In what other ways are the skills being demonstrated?
  • Which employability skills are not being assessed currently?
  • How are employability skills assessments integrated into instruction and training?
  • Do they inform basic skills, academic, or technical instruction? Are they aligned to current standards and curriculum?
  • How are instruction and assessment of employability skills integrated into other state or training initiatives (e.g., Common Core State Standards, Programs of Study, career pathways)?
  • Would your goals best be met by formative or summative assessments—or both?