Interpreting Assessment Results in Awato

Assessments need to be accurately interpreted to be effective. Career Assessments cannot be 100% predictive, so understanding why a recommendation is made is vital to their success.

Students need to be able to have conversations with their counselors to talk through their ideas and be reassured about their intuitions. At Awato, we pride ourselves on how personal and accurate results are. Even still, we believe the conversations about our recommendations are the drivers for positive decision making.

So here’s our guide for interpreting our results and matching:


Theory: Person Object Theory of Interest (POI)   

What is an interest? : The consensus among researchers is that an interest is the positive phenomenon that occurs when a person engages with pattern structures they enjoy within their environment.

Why are interests important? : When this positive interaction occurs, people are more engaged; willing to learn and are happy; promoting further exploration. This means that interests have a positive feedback loop:

First Year Experience Interests Feedback LoopNot surprisingly interest is responsible for 30% of a person’s academic performance.

What does POI say? : POI states that individual interests are pattern structures that people enjoy working within their environments. These pattern structures are most evident in leisure activities and are difficult to identify because they are components of activities or topics, not the topics themselves.

For instance, skiing would not be an interest and instead the elements of skiing like sensation of going fast or concentration on precise bodily movements would be interests.

Awato’s interest: We keep a library of thousands of hobbies and leisure activities. For each activity, Awato has a specific question using phrases and terminology from the activity:

Each phrase that a user can select relates to a specific interest or interest group. As users answer questions, Awato asks follow up questions based on their interest groups to identify more specific interests.

For instance, “Hanging out and talking with friends on trips” is tied to the general people interest which will trigger follow up questions related to people.

As a user completes the assessment they will select increasingly more specific interests while eliminating areas they don’t find interesting by not selecting them.

When a user is finished they’ll have a list of their interests like:

This view that administrators can access by going to student reports is incredibly valuable as you can work through how a user’s journey may have gone based on their hobbies and resulting interests.

Interpreting interest results:

When you are analyzing interest results you want to consider two major things:

  • How do the interests relate to the hobbies that were entered?
  • How can the interests be grouped together or how do they relate to each other?

For this example, we might first say is based on the hobbies the user enjoys the experiential, educational and people focused aspects of traveling, reading and watching tv.

Then as we consider the groups we may notice that all of the interests fit into three categories with people being the most detailed:

We would then want to consider which groups are the most developed or have the specific interests. In this case, career development and counseling are both specific interests.

Based on all of this, we may say: “Good careers for this person are those that focus on people and problem solving or more specifically solving people problems.”

Awato’s matches should come to the same conclusion and propose jobs that involve people problem solving. But as interpreters we can step past the matches and discuss with the student how their best careers will center around their interests.


Theory: Theory of Multiple Intelligences

What is the Theory of Multiple Intelligences? : As a critique of  the concept that people can be generally intelligent as measured by an IQ test, Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner theorized that people instead had 8 different kinds of intelligence: musical-rhythmic, visual-spatial, verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

These different intelligences are the areas in which a person may have the highest intelligence or enjoys to solve problems.

Awato and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences: Awato’s Inclinations is a theory of multiple intelligences assessment with two variations: logical – mathematical are split into their own inclinations and interpersonal and intrapersonal are combined into one inclination: people.

We made these slight variations to help use the theory in a career matching setting.

We chose the word “inclinations” deliberately because the assessment is used to identify areas that people are inclined to think about or solve problems around.

Interpreting Inclinations:

Inclinations should be considered as broad areas that people are inclined to work within or solve problems about others. When we analyze inclinations we generally want to find a connection between someone’s very granular interest and their more general inclinations.

For instance, our example student had People and Logical inclinations which match our general People and Problem solving categories reinforcing our original thesis.


Theory: Job Characteristic Theory

What is job characteristic theory: Job Characteristic theory asserts that there are 5 job characteristics that support a person’s success in the job: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback.

Awato and values: We’ve taken a much more granular approach to values, splitting up the 5 characteristics into 18 specific values.

Analyzing values: Each value is accompanied by a description. For instance:

When we analyze values we want to think about them as more concrete factors that a career or specific job should meet for a student. Our example student would want to find a people, problem solving job that allowed the student to concentrate on one or a few projects at a time.

16 Types

Theory: Myers-Briggs Theory

What is Myers-Briggs Theory?: The theory is a type theory which means that it proposes a group of behaviors and attitudes and then identifies which a person fits. More specifically, the Myers-Briggs is based on four polarities: extroversion vs introversion, sensing vs intuition, thinking vs feeling and judging vs perceiving. These result in four letter types based on the first letter of each polarity like: ENTP.  

Awato and the Myers-Briggs Theory: The Myers-Briggs theory is an optional assessment because we’ve found that the results do not help to identify which careers a student would be well suited for. Instead, the strengths of the Myers-Brigg is in helping a student understand more about themselves specifically on how they may approach a situation.

For example, knowing that a person is an ENTP may not help you say if they should consider being a lawyer, entrepreneur or accountant. Instead, it would help you talk to the student about how they will approach each career with an outgoing, energetic approach to creative problem solving and brainstorming.

A counselor, then, will want to work with the student to ensure that the careers and jobs they are considerings will allow them to be successful with their particular approach to the world.

Emotional Intelligence   

Theory: Gardner’s Theory of Emotional Intelligences

Emotional Intelligence or EQ: Emotional Intelligence is generally used in a business or leadership setting where having more of the five characteristics: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and Social Awareness; is helpful. More generally, emotional intelligence is the ability of a person to understand and control their own emotions and understand and relate to the emotions of others.

Awato and Emotional intelligence: Awato assess the five areas of emotional intelligences above. When a person has one of the areas, it is displayed in their results and when they do not, it is omitted.

Analyzing emotional intelligence: As a counselor you can talk to the students about the emotional intelligences as strengths they have and the ones they don’t possess as areas they may want to develop. A student with all five emotional intelligences will likely be successful in most areas that deal with working with people while those with less may want to consider career paths that are more centered on the work itself.

Different emotional intelligences affect different careers as well. For instance, social awareness is a critical skill to being a successful sales person or account representative but not nearly as critical for a software developer.

You may also want to remember that the emotional intelligences are self reported and therefore can not always be the most accurate reading of a person; particularly, if they do not possess a high degree of self awareness.

Career Matching:

Assessments Used: Interests, Inclinations, Values

Awato’s career matching is predominantly based on the interest assessment, followed by inclinations and then values, which is smallest matching criteria. This distribution creates a matching system that identifies the patterns between interests and inclinations and then filters top matches by values fit.

For instance, the careers of fundraising manager (non profit) and business development representative (start up) may be similiar based on interest and inclinations but will have very different values. The values match will determine which career appears first for the student while both careers will rank highly.

Degree Matching:

Assessments Used: Interests and Inclinations

Degree matching will identify the degrees that a student should have the highest level of interest as well as a general inclination toward, based on their assessment results.

Degree matching does not include values because values are focused on career specific traits. The degree matching then is based on interest and inclinations as well as a slight ranking based on career matches so that career matches and degree matches are generally aligned.