Cognitive Measurement in Career Guidance

  • Jacques Grégoire
  • Frédéric Nils

When career guidance began in the early 1900s, the principal aim of the vocational process was job placement within the new industrial economy (Pope, 2000). The counsellors’ clients were mostly young boys ending elementary school and starting work, as well as people migrating from rural to urban industrialised areas. At that time, the person/job matching perspective was focused on the fit between individual aptitudes and those required by the job. In this context, measurement was a key component of the process. Vocational counsellors were considered as assessment experts of physical and mental aptitudes, who had to convince the counselee of the validity of their advice (Guichard & Huteau, 2001; Parsons, 1909). It is important to point out that, during this period, many methods used for these assessments were based on common-sense descriptions of mental activity and job demands. Valid scientific procedures were clearly needed to make career counselling respectable in Western countries (Whiteley, 1984). Within the USA and certain newly industrialised countries, this psycho-technical conception of guidance inspired most of the research and reflection into vocational psychology until the 1950s.

Between World War I and World War II, the scope of vocational psychology was broadened to accommodate new clients. Just after WWI, the guidance process entered the classroom and important methodologies were implemented for elementary and secondary school students, notably in cognitive measurement. Since WWII, college and university students have also become part of the guidance counselees. As a consequence to the promotion and organisation of educational guidance, the assessment of physical abilities almost vanished, while the development and use of cognitive measurement methods increased. Among the tools developed at that time, the well-known GATB may be cited (General Aptitude Test Battery), the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale and the DAT (Differential Aptitude Tests). It must also be underlined that, between WWI and WWII, another transition in assessment occurred. While the evaluation of cognitive abilities was reaching its apogee, the 1930s marked the beginning of vocational interest assessment (e.g., Strong, 1936).


Emotional Intelligence Cognitive Measurement General Intelligence Career Guidance Fluid Intelligence 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Grégoire
    • 1
  • Frédéric Nils
    • 1
  1. 1.Catholic University of LouvainBelgium

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