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Review of Strong Interest Inventory

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The test is to be evaluated is the Strong Interest Inventory(r) (1994). The author is Strong, Edward K., Jr.; Campbell, David P.; Harmon, Lenore W.; Hansen, Jo-Ida C.; Borgen, Fred H.; Hammer, Allen L. (The Strong, in its revision, continued in the established traditions of the Strong Vocational Interest Blank (Strong, 1927) and the Strong-Campbell Interest Inventory (Campbell &Hansen, 1981) while introducing several innovations.) It was published by Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. in 1994. Time needed to administer is about 30 – 60 minutes.

The price is different in different place and for different people. Those for students (about US$ 18) are cheaper than those for adults (about US$ 40). Also, there are different packages for different uses. For example, 10 prepaid profiles cost $75; 10 prepaid interpretive reports cot $235; Strong Applications and Technical Guide costs $72; Strong Profile preview kit costs $18.95; Interpretive report preview kit costs $23.10; 10 client booklets cost $40; 10 prepaid professional reports: $163 and Strong Professional report preview kit costs $26.5.

Brief Description of the Purpose and Nature of the Test

Strong Interest Inventory (SII) is an interest inventory for an individual to measure their interest and interpret one’s best career path. It provides a solid, dependable guide for individuals seeking a job change, a career change, or help with career development opportunities. The main purpose of the test is to identify general areas of interests as well as specific activities and occupations for further exploration. The designed people are the people considering a career change, employees seeking more satisfying work within an organization, students exploring career options, organizations looking to retain star performers and key staff, and midlife and older adults planning their retirement. Thus, the age range is from 8th grade to adult.

It is a paper-and-pencil or online administration test and is consisted of 317 items measuring respondents’ preferences for various occupations, school subjects, work-related activities, leisure activities, type of people, personal characteristics and personal preferences. The test taker can choose “like”, “indifferent” or “dislike” according to his/her preference to the items or statements such as “contributing to charities”. The responses on the inventory are scored by computer and analyzed in reference to five types of scales: administrative indexes, personal style scales, general occupational theme scales, basic interest scales, and occupational scales.

General Occupational Theme

The components of the Strong Interest Inventory are the general occupational theme scales, the basic interest scales, the occupational scales and the personal interest scales. The General occupational themes have six types of themes which are realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising and conventional. The six themes can be arranged around a hexagon (see graphic above) with the types most similar to each other falling next to each other, and those most dissimilar falling directly across the hexagon from one another. Scores on these scales represent a global view of an individual’s vocational and life-style interests.

You may have one, two or three letter code. Although some people do not indicate interests in any of the Themes, or in only one of them, most show an average or a high degree of interest in two or three of them. Item content within each of the six general occupational themes is homogenous. Realistic contains occupations where individuals have an interest in working with objects such as tools and machines. Mechanical creativity and physical dexterity are important skills for this theme and some of the work activities of these occupations involve operating equipment, using tools, building, and repairing. Investigative theme centers around an interest in science, theories, ideas, and data.

Analytical skills are important for this group and some of the common work activities are performing lab work, solving abstract problems and researching. Artistic theme includes occupations involving self-expression and art appreciation. Some of the skills needed in these occupations are creativity, talent, and artistic expression. Composing music, writing, and creating visual art are a few of the work activities involved in careers in this category. Social theme contains occupations that involve working with people such as human welfare and community service. People skills such as listening and showing understanding are very important for this category.

Teaching, helping, and explaining are all potential work activities for this category. Enterprising theme refers to the occupations with an interest in business and leadership roles. Communicating with others and an ability to motivate and direct others are important skills for these occupations; selling, managing and persuading are all possible work activities. Conventional theme is consists of occupations with an interest in organization, data and finance. Math, data analysis, record keeping and attention to detail are all important skills for these occupations.

The results of the General Occupational Themes can identify the work environments in which the participant feels most comfortable, the kinds of people he/she enjoy, his/her values and attitudes, what motivates him/her and the leisure activities that he/she find enjoyable. In the represented hexagon of the scale, themes adjacent to one another on the hexagon, such as Realistic and Investigative, have more in common with one another than do themes directly opposite one another, such as Realistic and Social. The results may indicate that the interests are focused in one of the themes, or in a combination of the themes.

Basic Interest Scales

The basic interest scales were designed to provide specific information about the likes and dislikes of the respondent. The 25 basic interest scales of the Strong Interest Inventory measure more specifically the homogenous interest areas measured by the General Occupational Themes. Each scale focuses on a narrow, concentrated interest area. Scores on these 25 scales represent individuals’ vocational and life-style interests but with greater specificity. It provides greater specificity of interests than do the general occupational themes and are, therefore, typically more predictive of occupation.

The 25 scales are agriculture, nature, military activities, athletics, mechanical activities, science, mathematics, medical science, music/dramatics, art, applied arts, writing, culinary arts, teaching, social service, religious activities, public speaking, law/politics, merchandising, sales, organizational management, data management, computer activities and office services.

Occupational Scales

Occupational scales were designed to provide information about the degree of similarity between the examinee’s interests and those of selected occupational criterion groups. Each occupational scale was empirically derived by comparing the responses given by a sample of workers in an occupation with those given by a general, nonspecific sample of people and selecting only those items that significantly differentiated the two groups. They were designed to discriminate between Men in General/Women in General and people in specific occupation.

The results of the scale are allowed to compare the interest of the participant to those of men who are satisfactorily employed in 104 occupations. Unlike the General Occupational Theme and the Basic Interest Scales, on which the “likes” are compared to a general group of people, the Occupational Scales compare both likes and dislikes to those of people who are satisfied working in that occupation.

Scores are T scores, normed against those in particular occupation. The results of the Occupational Scales can indicate specific occupations that the participant may find interesting and the related occupations that he/she may find interesting. They can also identify the kinds of people he/she might enjoy working with, and help him/her consider occupational possibilities that he/she may never has thought of before.

Personal Style Scales

The four Personal Style Scales provide additional insight into how comfortable the test taker is in activities and situations in which he/she finds him/herself, at work, home, and leisure. The results on the Personal Style Scales can suggest how he/she might like to go about doing a job or task. Box-and-whisker is used to present the result of this scale. The box shows the middle 50% (mean score), while the whiskers show the middle 80% of scores for each gender. All four scales are designed so that the mean score (average) is 50. People who score 45 or lower tend towards the left end of the scale, while those who score 55 or and above tend to identify with the right pole. People who score between 46 and 54 often have no predominant preference for one style or another; they frequently have a mix of preferences. For those who score at the extremes (below 40 or above 60), the preference clarity is greater.

These scales are bipolar and thus the score only shows the direction, not good or bad. A low score is fine and it doesn’t mean something is wrong with that person. Likewise, a high score does not mean better. It merely shows which pole, or direction, the person feels most comfortable with and both poles are equally good.

Work Style Scale

The Work Style scale indicates whether the test taker prefers to work with other people or whether he/she prefer to work alone with ideas, data or things. Those who score high on the Work Style scale prefer to work with people and endorse a number of items that represent occupations and activities that are people oriented. There are 51 items scored on the scale. Six of the items ask the respondent to indicate preferences for working with people or for working with ideas, data, and things. In addition to the 6 dichotomous items in the Preferences in the World of Work section of the answer sheet, 45 items throughout the Strong are scored on this scale.

Learning Environment Scale

The Learning Environment Scale indicates the setting in which one feel most comfortable learning. It suggests whether he/she is more interested in learning abstract, theoretical concepts through reading, lectures, and discussion or interested in learning practical skills and how to solve applied problems through hands-on experience. This scale does not measure academic ability. A high score on this scale reflects interests in cultural, verbal, and research activities, as well as teaching, rather than interests in clerical, technical, and physical activities. Individuals with higher scores report interests in activities and occupations that require extensive academic study and professional training. Scores for this scale are obtained from the 49 items throughout the Strong that best differentiate a liking for formal academic settings and a liking for more applied settings.

Leadership Style Scale

The Leadership Style Scale measures your interest in either assuming a leadership style that is directive and outspoken, or leading by example. This scale does not measure your interest in being a leader, nor does it indicate one’s probability of success as a leader. A high score on this scale reflects an interest in interpersonal and organizational activities and occupations. The Leadership Style scale is made up with 23 homogenous items.

Risk Taking/Adventure Scale

The Risk Taking/Adventure Scale indicates how comfortable the test taker is taking risks. A high score on the scale indicates a willingness to act spontaneously and sometimes recklessly. Low scores reflect a preference for taking precautions. Women tend to score lower on this scale than do men. Scores also tend to decrease with age and thus, the scale is said to be more predictive of current than future behavior

Practical Evaluation

The SII yields three kinds of interest scores. The first scores reflecting the extent to which the respondent is interested in various types of people, data, and activities. The second scores reflect the extent to which the respondent’s people, data, and activity interests are consistent those of workers in the six major occupational types (realistic, artistic, investigative, social, enterprising, conventional). The final ones reflect the extent to which the respondent’s interests are consistent with those expressed by representative samples of workers in more than 100 specific occupations.

Based on the pattern of scores, a client may be helped to identify specific types of occupations he/she might explore further, based on the consistency of his/her interests with those of satisfied workers in those jobs. A computer-generated analysis of the profile assists counselors in pointing out patterns of high and low interests to the respondent.

As part of the profile, a respondent usually will obtain a three-point code, reflecting the occupational types with which his/her interests were most similar. These types are ordered according to level of similarity of interests. For example, a respondent with an “ISE” profile, would have an overall pattern of interests most consistent with the investigative type of occupations, followed by the social type, and the enterprising type.

Consistent with Holland’s theory, a typical SCII profile will reveal that a respondent’s interests falls along three adjacent types. However, this type of profile does not always occur. Some respondents obtain atypical profiles (e.g., REA; CEI). Atypical codes usually describe a person who has many varied, and possibly incompatible, interests. These respondents may need help in deciding which of those interests are most important, or deciding how they might integrate their varied interests in selecting a career and accompanying lifestyle.

The direction is very clear that the results can give estimates of the interest and preference of the participants and it is a good tool for them as a reference to choose their career path according to their interest and preference. Participants can find their interests and values from the Strong Interest Inventory.

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