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September 30, 2020
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Benefits of retaking the ERS

Cathy Ginsberg, People Focus; Leah Pappas, CEAV Career Counselling Australia;
Mukhtar Rahemtulla ERS Scale Inc.

There have been several scientific studies on the benefits of clients retaking an assessment. Though the studies refer to ‘test’ or ‘exam’ (our preference is to use the term ‘assessment tool’) the evidence from these studies points to a significant improvement as a consequence of retakes. For a client, after factoring out improvement as a result of familiarity with the tool and from a less stressful vantage point than the initial take, the evidence shows an actual improvement in employability factors and soft skills as a result of interventions.

For example in their paper, Hausknecht et al  conclude: “Because individuals in our sample received feedback concerning their performance on the test, those candidates who were persistent in taking multiple exams also may have been motivated to develop the requisite skills and abilities to perform well on them…..…..Results showed that candidates improved on the first and second tests by posting higher scores on the second and third tests, respectively”. Sackett et al.  in their paper also suggest that improvement is likely due to feedback delivered between assessments. While the time interval may vary depending on the type of intervention, there is clearly a benefit to measuring changes from the initial take to subsequent retakes.

When clients take the ERS for the first time they get an appreciation of what it takes for work/ life success. They can go away and read the definitions for each of the employability factors and soft skills, digest what this means for them personally and hopefully they engage in some meaningful interventions based on their ERS results.

When the ERS was developed, it was validated for retakes. Clients can retake the scale as soon as 5 days after the initial assessment, or at a later date, depending on the circumstances.

When they do a retake after an intervention, they are often more honest with themselves about how ready they are for work. The retakes can lead to more honest and deeper conversations, and over time you have also been able to build rapport with the clients and they can hopefully see you are trying to help them and nudge them along their career journey. They can see improvements through their feedback report and where they are being more realistic about their work readiness, it keeps them interested and motivated to improve and move towards becoming work ready.

When clients have been struggling to succeed in the labour market, seeing improvements, however small, can be a great motivator. They recognize that they are making progress, and this encourages them to carry on with the work that they are doing with their employment counsellor (or other career professional)

For the agency, there are also benefits when a majority of clients re-take the assessment. The reports that can be generated through ERS can give concrete evidence of the impact of services and programs and can be used to do comparative evaluations of the effectiveness of specific interventions.[1]

[1][1] John P. Hausknecht, Charlie O. Trevor, James L. Farr (2002). Retaking Ability Tests in a Selection Setting: Implications for Practice Effects, Training Performance, and Turnover.


[1] Sackett, P. R., Burris, L. R., & Ryan, A. M. (1989). Coaching and practice effects in personnel selection.


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