The importance of psychometric assessments as a career guidance tool

A good psychometric assessment tool which when taken along with an expert counselling session can be a huge eye opener not only for student but for his parents also.

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If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. –Albert Einstein

Sadly our education system today is doing just this. Every child in his/her prime developmental years is made to learn the same set of subjects which are mostly text book based and involve a huge amount of rote learning. Sadder still is that they are all judged on the same set of criteria which ultimately boils down to marks scored in class. This leaves probably 80% of a class demotivated making them feel they are not good enough for anything.

Teachers, mentors and counsellors in the middle school years have the huge responsibility of motivating these 80% students and helping them identify their interests, strengths and skill sets to enable them to make the right career choices in future.

The most important thing that we as counsellors need to remember is that each child is unique and no two can be guided in the same way. So the job of a counsellor needs a huge amount of mental flexibility along with other attributes.

Let’s take the example of Sam. He is an above average student of class 10, likes biology and plans to study bio sciences where medicine is an option. However, like everyone else today he cannot afford to make wrong choices and dabble around in various options before choosing the correct stream. That would prove too costly not only financially but also time wise.

So here comes the role of a good psychometric assessment tool which when taken along with an expert counselling session can be a huge eye opener not only for him but for his parents also.

The results can not only help validate Sam’s choice of Bio sciences as a field of study, but can also guide him to choose the most suitable stream of Biology. The counsellor can help him understand the scope of his choices and in case of medicine being the choice, can help him identify the field that would best suit him. He also needs to be made aware of the years of hard work he will need to put in to become a qualified doctor.

So, Sam now not only understands the time frame involved but can mentally be prepared for the slog years ahead. He might need help understanding the admissions procedure, how to prepare and which universities and colleges would best suit his goals. Thus, there is no denying that a good psychometric assessment can help save a great deal of time for both the student and the parents. It throws up a definite set of interest areas which then sets a definite direction for them to look towards. An expert counsellor uses the assessment results to understand the student better and help guide him in the right direction.

One needs to understand that no test can ever be taken as the final word in deciding the suitability of the students career/ field of study. The best outcome happens when the test and expert counselling go hand in hand one supporting the other.

The psychometric assessment when done at crucial junctures in a students’ life can have a huge impact on the future decisions taken and avoid costly mistakes when making career decisions. My years of counselling experience have shown that it is effective as early as grade 8 and can also be useful for college students who have been left confused about their career options in the absence of proper guidance.

It has also been consistently seen that students work much better when they have a direction and goal in mind compared to those left confused and puzzled about their choices. It is rightly said that setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible to visible. So let us as teachers, parents, mentors and counsellors together consciously help the children make correct and informed career choices which will in turn make them happy and responsible individuals as adults.

The psychometric assessment when done at crucial junctures in a students’ life can have a huge impact on the future decisions taken and avoid costly mistakes when making career decisions.

Tanima Roy Chowdhury is Director, Catalyst Advisory Services, an organization which helps students to take appropriate career steps. Catalyst also provides a host of other services in the Education Advisory sphere. Prior to this she was an Educator for more than 15 years.