Our programme methodology

Our programmes are designed to help students make better, more informed education and career decisions. They combine guidance materials, self-assessments, independent and objective appraisals to reveal students’ interests, abilities, motivations, attitudes and values. The assessments are provided through a mix of questionnaires, tests, qualifications, interviews and teacher evaluations.

The central concept is that students will do well in their future choices if they have the right mix of abilities, motivation and understanding. The programmes do not, however, make use of personality tests or learning and thinking style inventories. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Students are still developing, and although some aspects of personality may be fairly stable, others change with experience and learning. Courses and jobs have many facets, and different personalities, learning and thinking styles can be effective in different aspects of a job. It is very, very unusual for one personality type or one style of thinking to be the only one relevant to a subject or profession.
  • People can adapt their behaviour to cope with different personality types and styles of thinking and learning if they are sufficiently motivated.
  • Assumptions are often made about the relationship of preferred personality types and learning and thinking styles to job success which turn out to be wrong.
  • Personality assessment is a highly skilled activity. We consider it unsafe to provide personality assessments to untrained individuals who are in danger of over-interpreting or mis-using such information.
  • Providing simplified feedback on personality test results or assessments of learning and thinking styles are likely to mis-represent the student.

This is why, at COA, we focus on information about the achievements, abilities, motivations and attitudes of students that we do collect and that provide genuine value when it comes to guiding them.