An Inside Look into the New “A Comprehensive Guide to Career Assessment”
By Emily Bullock-Yowell
[Editor's Note: A version of this article appeared in the Summer 2019 issue of NCDA's Career Developments Magazine. We updated it and are sharing it here now as part of a collaborative publication plan.]
NCDA's flagship publication is inherent to assessment. The new book A Comprehensive Guide to Career Assessment was published in June for all to fully explore and learn from. This article will provide the exciting updates on this totally revamped 7th edition of our favorite career assessment guide, previously titled A Counselor's Guide to Career Assessments. I interviewed the editors, Kevin Stoltz and Susan Barclay, about the changes to the Guide, their vision for this project, and why now was the best time to reimagine the Guide.
Three 21st Century Enhancements
A Comprehensive Guide to Career Assessment, 7th edition brings several major and exciting changes. First, it introduces a new name based on a new purpose. Originally the guide was conceptualized as a resource for counselors. The editors’ vision for this edition recognizes the diverse professional-affiliation of our NCDA membership and provides information on assessments for all readers. The editors note this publication can serve the needs of practitioners, researchers, counselor educators, students, and NCDA members worldwide. The information included in the Guide purposely speaks to practitioners from a variety of training and professional affiliation backgrounds including student affairs, private practice, workforce development, global career development facilitators, and career counselors in the more traditional settings.
Second, the editors’ vision was influenced by the global nature of work and presents us with new chapters covering assessment issues around the globe. They emphasized the 7th edition “keeps pace with the global focus of career development work and NCDA membership.” The editors note this content will provide readers with the cultural and regional assessment perspective of the respective authors.
The editors stated the biggest change to the Guide may be the addition of a separate online companion piece. The print version includes six chapters that focus on the foundational side, regarding the history of career assessment, current trends, computer-assisted assessment, diversity considerations, selecting instruments, and test administration and interpretation. The print version also includes a selection of over two dozen assessment reviews. The online version will offer unique content focusing on the application of career assessment across a variety of settings (e.g., Higher Ed, Public Policy Advocacy) and the global perspectives section.
The online portion, set to become available October 1, 2019, provides the option for this publication to be an evolving and growing resource. The initial release of the online version will include numerous reviews of specific assessment tools, which will grow as new reviews are completed. Therefore, readers who purchase an online subscription will have the most updated version and comprehensive set of assessment reviews, while the readers with the print version will have the foundational pieces and select reviews.
Categories of Instrument Reviews
Like the print version, the website houses reviews in four main categories:
- quantitative assessments offered commercially for use
- qualitative assessments documented in the professional literature
- research assessments which focus on continuing inquiry in the profession
- open source assessments available online at no cost.
The reviews are searchable in three ways: alphabetically, categorically, and by instrument type (e.g., interest, adaptability, decision-making). Each review in the print and online version will include a relevant literature review, current test description, review of the assessment quality, and information on how to learn more.
The Editors’ Vision
All three of these big changes regarding the name, global focus, and optional online companion are based on the overall vision these editors had for this resource to become a more “central tool in the profession that will provide career practitioners with a resource that will serve them for years to come.” When discussing the vision for the project with the editors, they spoke extensively about
- the importance of addressing the needs of a diverse set of practitioners, as well as a diverse, international population
- the need to offer a sizable amount of valuable data in a more condensed format than previous print-only editions
- how an interactive, online version of the assessment reviews will expand the usability of the resource and accommodate an ever-growing storehouse of new and historical assessments. As reviews on existing career assessments are completed and added to the online version, reviews of new assessment tools can be procured and added as well.
Both editors are long-time, active members of NCDA. Dr. Stoltz, an Associate Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at the University of North Alabama, teaches graduate courses across the counseling curriculum and specializes in assessment, research, and career counseling. Dr Barclay is an associate professor at the University of Central Arkansas, teaches in the College Student Personnel Administration (CSPA) graduate program and is a licensed professional counselor (LPC).
When I asked the editors about why this was the right time to revamp the Guide, they had a very clear answer: “With the advent of the world-wide-web and other technological innovations, we believe now is the time for the book to transition into a resource for all career practitioners. With technological access woven into the fabric of human life, making career assessment information available on demand just seemed practical and a way to keep up with the changing times.”
A Comprehensive Guide to Career Assessment, 7th edition represents a renewed vision for the role this publication can play for the Guide’s readership and NCDA’s international membership presence. Since 1982, this Guide has served as a critical resource. The 7th edition now addresses the needs of even more NCDA members with an enhanced role in providing a historical storehouse of career assessments as well as an outlet to learn more about emerging assessment tools and options.
Watch the interview! An informal Q&A with the editors took place at the 2019 NCDA Global Career Development Conference, when the print book was released. Here is the video:
https://youtu.be/F3diAydc8B8 - "Comprehensive is right in the title of this book….why?"
Shop the NCDA Career Resource Store to purchase the book and watch for updates on the subscription to the online companion.
Emily Bullock-Yowell, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi Psychology Department in Hattiesburg, MS. Currently, she serves as the Counseling Psychology Master’s Program Training Director and is a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Mississippi. She teaches a Vocational Development course for Counseling Psychology doctoral and master’s students and supervises students seeing individual and group career clients in the program’s in-house clinic. Dr. Bullock-Yowell’s research program focuses on career development and vocational psychology. She has published her research and other work through a variety of outlets relevant to the career development field. Additional information on her work can be found at http://emilybullockyowellphd.weebly.com/. She can be reached at: Emily.Yowell@usm.edu