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3 hours ago, housemouse said:

What are the best aptitude tests available out there?


The one that works for YOU.

I don't mean to be glib, but it really depends on the individual. There are 2 main ways of approaching career exploration:
- personal interests --> occupation (start by figuring out what your skills/interests/values/personality are, then look for jobs that match you)
- occupation --> job of personal interest (start by looking at broad occupation "group" or "cluster" of general interest, explore specific jobs within that occupation grouping, narrowing down to jobs of specific interest and fit to you)

Also, some students do better with guidance -- either a trained guidance counselor, or by working their way through a career exploration program, such as:
Seven Sisters: Career Exploration elective
Let's Homeschool High School: 4-week career exploration unit
Glencoe: MacGraw Hill: Exploring Careers (used versions are cheap -- don't know if they require an online key code  to access the website resources...)
K-12: Career-Ready Lesson Plans for grades 6-12
What Color Is Your Parachute for Teens -- book
   part 1 discusses the 4 types of tests for matching yourself up with jobs
   part 2 covers education/training needed for specific jobs
   part 3 is about the job search process

 

3 hours ago, housemouse said:

Do you find them accurate or at least helpful?


The older and more experienced the person, the more accurate and helpful career assessments are likely to be. For example, when I was in my mid-20s, I took the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (they have since split, and Strong and Campbell each have their own assessment now), along with a Meyers-Briggs Personality Inventory with a career counselor who guided me through the test results. It was extremely accurate and helpful for me both at the time, and in the years since.

Just my experience with doing career tests and career exploration with teens in the local homeschool group, but the younger the student, the less accurate tests seem to be -- most likely because teens just haven't had enough experience in the world of work, and time to get to know who they developing to *be* as individuals, to get really accurate test results.

I do see that doing career assessments in conjunction with other types of career exploration, job shadowing, career events, etc., can help teens at least rule out areas they are not at all interested in, or expose them to occupations they may never have otherwise known about to consider.
 

3 hours ago, housemouse said:

Trying to see if it might help Ds fine tune what it is that he wants to study.


For narrowing down specific jobs that might be a good fit within an occupation area of interest to the student, you might have more luck in going with that second method. So have your student do some career exploration, looking more in depth at various jobs within the broader field that your student is interested in:
Occupational Outlook Handbook - explore dozens of specific jobs listed under the 25 "occupational groups"
Career Clusters - explore 70 "pathways" (occupation areas) and 100s of "intersections" (jobs) listed under the 12 "clusters"
CA Career Zone - explore dozens of specific jobs listed under the 15 "industry sectors"

For approaching career exploration via the first method (personal interest --> occupation): there are 4 kinds of tests used with career exploration:
- Aptitude = measures actual skills and abilities (mostly used by an employer to determine if you have the skills needed for the specific job)
- Interest/Skills = helps you rank 6 broad areas of interests and ways of working, to make it easier to match up with jobs
- Work Values = helps you to rank what values are important/meaningful/fulfilling in a job or work environment
- Personality = reveals temperament and what work environments are a good fit for your personality

Things that help increase test accuracy:
- the more detailed the tests are, the more focused the results will be
- taking several different tests (interest inventory + work values + personality test) and combine results to provide a more detailed picture of the individual, which makes matching up with a specific job more accurate
- paying a career counselor or specialist to interpret test results (and guide career exploration)

Here are a few career assessments for high school students:
ASVAB for Career Exploration (NOT to be confused with the Military entrance ASVAB test) (I *think* this one is free, if you can find a school administering it)
Kuder Navigator (secular; for-a-fee package of 3 tests + planning tools) -- I did an early version of this test (now "out of print") with teens some years back
You Science (recommended by a WTMer; for-a-fee, looks to be for adults, but with an educators option for teens)
Crown Direct (Christian personal finance organization, but also offers for-a-fee career assessment testing, mostly for adults but I have read of WTM high school seniors using their testing)

Below are links to some free test options. I'd also recommend checking out the past threads on career exploration and helping a student figure out what major/career to go into that are all linked at the bottom of page 6 of "Going to College Motherlode", pinned at the top of the College Board.

BEST of luck in finding what best helps! Warmest regards, Lori D.

_________________________

Personality Inventory = helps you see how your personality fits in with different work environments and co-workers in a work place
(examples: Meyers-Briggs Indicator; Keirsey Temperament Sorter)

Personality Testing: Open Extended Jungian Type Scales: -- free printable test, similar to the Meyers-Briggs personality types
Color Personality Test -- free printable test; less specific and less individualized than other tests, as it is designed for working in teams and understanding strengths/needs of each of the 4 colors, so useful in places of employment
Fun Education: free online test
Team Technology: free online test

Interest Inventory = ways you like to work; most are based on the 6 work interest areas of the Holland Codes
(examples: Campbell Interest & Skill Survey; Strong Interest Inventory)

O-Net: My Next Move Interest Profiler: free online test
California Career Zone: free online test (and lots of resources for exploring careers)

Work Values Survey = what brings meaning or value to you in life and is important to you in your place of work
- Monster (job search website): Work Values Checklist -- values divided into 3 categories: intrinsic, extrinsic and lifestyle
Univ. of Notre Dame: Work Values Inventory: free printable test
- DePaul University: Career Values Self-Assessment: free printable test
- Goodwin College: Work Values Assessment: free printable test

Aptitude Assessment (Work Skills) = determines specific abilities/skills
(used by employers to see if you have specific skills needed for the job: how many words a minute do you type;  do you have specific training/certifications; etc.)

Univ. of Notre Dame: Career Center: Skills Inventory: free printable inventory
California Career Zone: free online skills profiler
Career One Stop: free online skills profiler

Edited by Lori D.
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