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Psychometric tests& career guidance
The Helping Hand Career Guidance Programme aims to provide an affordable career guidance service regarding subject choices and career choices to Afrikaans speaking young people across the country. click here for more.
The pros of being a teacher include amongst others:
The experience of making a difference
Lots of vacation time
The cons of being a teacher include amongst others:
Very long work days
A small salary in some instances
Maryna de Beer* has been teaching for more than 20 years. She is currently employed at a prominent high school in Pretoria. According to De Beer, people often end up in the education profession due to a lack of available opportunities in their specific fields of study. She says people also often become teachers due to an inspiring teacher when they were at school.
According to De Beer, a teacher has to keep studying continuously. “A graduate student knows very little about his/her subject(s), the children sitting in front of him/her and the system in which he/she has to work. Trends in education, methodology, expertise and the psychological aspect of education must be stepped up on ground level.”
“Psychometric tests cover just about anything a psychologist can test, for instance a person’s interests, aptitude, personality, intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ),” according to Annette Taljaard, psychometrist at Solidarity Helping Hand.
At the interest level, for example, a child’s inclination towards a trade or a more academic direction is established and all of us fall into 16 broad career fields. “For instance, we test many children who are making the transition from primary to high school and have to decide which subjects to take. Many students or prospective students also come to see us. Second-year students are especially plentiful because many don’t like their degree courses and want to switch to something else.”
According to Taljaard the personality tests also reveal 16 personality types. “We will test whether a person leans more towards intuition than argument, the degree to which the person displays extrovert or introvert characteristics, and whether he or she thinks rather than feels. Other aspects of this is how people handle stress and how other people regard them.
EI and IQ are also involved. “Although EI tests have been around for a while, people are uninformed about them. For example, they also test important aspects such as the ability to handle pressure, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, adaptibility, factors regarding motivation and also how happy or not a person is.
“IQ tests determine a person’s verbal and nonverbal skills. Nonverbal includes aspects such as mathematics and science, while verbal IQ includes a wide range of aspects, including language skills.”
According to Taljaard the so-called “brain profile” is one of the most popular and handiest psychometric instruments. “Sometimes children can’t learn and this is often wrongly thought to be an aptitude problem.”
“This is where the brain profile comes in. It determines how ‘fit’ the brain is in terms of using the creative and logical sides simultaneously. A child or person could, for instance, learn more efficiently in certain ways. Auditive learners, for example, have to listen more, visual learners read more and use pictures, while aesthetic learners use movement and like sport.”
“This profile will determine the best way to learn for a particular person and remedial steps could then be taken.”
So, how accurate are these tests? “ The tests are extremely accurate and I have not yet had people complaining about wrong results and profiles. However, people who get confirmation of their academic suitability for a particular career, will also get additional information about their personality through the tests and will then specialise in a particular direction.”
Taljaard says that psychometric tests are mainly done for vocational guidance, personnel development and recruitment. “It is very important for high-school children, especially around Grade 9, to get vocational guidance. They could otherwise take subjects and study in directions for which they don’t have any aptitude and so waste their time and their parents’ money.”
“The tests also show you what your purpose in life is and in particular assure young people that they are good at something specific. This makes you unique.”
According to Taljaard a standard evaluation is used in South Africa. “While most of the tests are conducted in English, our tests at Helping Hand are conducted in Afrikaans. If a person is fluently bilingual, it doesn’t matter if he is tested in his second language, but otherwise it could warp the research if it is not done in the mother tongue.”
“The tests are traditionally wriiten with pen and paper, but there is currently a progressive shift to the online option. It is, however, not possible to test aspects such as IQ and aptitude online because the psychometrist must be present to do practical tests with the person.”
“Online tests are also still not fully trusted and most people still prefer to have themselves or their children tested personally by a psychometrist.”