Monday, 3 August 2020

Career Assessment in New Zealand

Career development grew in New Zealand from the "Employment and Vocational Guidance Service", established in the 1970s, to "the Career Development and Transition Education Service [, which was formed] under the Ministry of Education" in the 1990s (Furbish, 2012, p. 16). The service was renamed Careers New Zealand (CNZ) in June of 2011, and on the first of July 2017, was absorbed into the Tertiary Education Commission, commonly known as TEC (Careers New Zealand, 2020).

CNZ provided "resources and support to career activities in secondary schools", and "career services to clients of other government agencies and fee-paid career services to the public" (Furbish, 2012, p. 16-17). It was also considered internationally to be "a model government-funded career services provider", having, as well as "extensive career information available" online, invested in hotline and virtual career consultancy with the in-house career development practitioners (p. 17). Since the move to TEC, CNZ's offer has been significantly reduced. The website remains active, but there are no individual career counselling services offered, no training, and little secondary school support. The focus is now on the tertiary sector. No funding arrangements or services appear to be tagged for career development services in tertiary institutions from CNZ under TEC.

This short history relates to career assessment is because - unlike America - New Zealand now has no national, independent, co-ordinating organisation with the resources to gather test information, to evaulate and certify tests, or to normalise test results for our New Zealand population groups.

To date, other than Smithells (2020), no other career assessments appear to have been normalised for use in New Zealand (Smithells is only 'normalised' for New Zealand because it was developed here). This means that for New Zealanders as a whole, for New Zealand Maori, or for Pasifika peoples, no other test distributions or norms have been established. Although Extended DISC report MAO (Maori) as one of the cultural groups, succeeding biannual reports from the company have not gathered any data on this population group. There is no code for New Zealand Europeans (Extended DISC, 2013, Extended DISC, 2015).

This means that we do not have local population data to compare sample statistics to for any assessments done in New Zealand.

In the USA it is possible to get very good statistical and population data for comparisons (such as the Buros Center for Testing's Mental Measurements Yearbooks). In New Zealand, normalised data is not available, so the data we collect is not readily comparable, and therefore lacks validity, reliability and generalisability. Osborn and Zunker explain in the chapter why validity and reliability are important. Within the US cultural context they do not have to consider generalisability as norms and stanines already exist.

Something for us all to think about down in the South Pacific.



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