Why Choose the COPSystem

The COPSystem is Unique
It is one of the few assessment packages that includes the measurement of three components that are critical to career exploration, selection, and satisfaction. The COPSystem measures:

  • Interests – what do you like to do?
  • Abilities – what are you good at?
  • Work values – what is important to you?

Valid and Reliable
The COPSystem has been in wide use for over 50 years with a proven history of research that supports its accuracy and usefulness in career exploration and choice. Over 65% of the time the COPSystem results match a future college major or occupational choice. A summary of the reliability and validity is available here.

Easy to Use
The COPSystem is easy to administer and easy to explain to clients so they can understand the results. The results are organized into logical career clusters that link to an occupational database of over 1,300 job descriptions that include training, salary, expected outlook, and links to both O*Net and live job postings powered by Indeed.com.

Has a Wide Variety of Options to Meet your Client Needs
The COPSystem is a completely accessible package that is available as a web-based application or also available in paper/pencil in those situations where there is limited internet access. It is also available in Spanish translations for both paper and online formats. It is completely accessible to screen reader applications for people that are sight impaired. The inventories are written at a sixth grade reading level.

Works for all Educational Levels
Norms are available for educational levels of grade 7-12, college and adult. Other forms are available for school children and non reading adults.

Results That Work
The COPSystem is the optimal tool for use in the career exploration. When clients review their results they have the “oh wow this is me” experience that makes the entire process useful, worthwhile and enjoyable. It is educational and allows test takers to learn something about themselves and their options for many career paths in the process.

Helping the Blind Community

The internet is an essential feature of modern life used to check the news, sports, weather, engage in social media, and find employment, but for people that are blind, navigating the internet can be very difficult. It is essential that the internet be accessible to people that are blind so they have the same access to materials and resources that are crucial to daily living, and for them be more actively engaged in society. EdITS has adapted the COPSystem career guidance program to be accessible to individuals using a screen reader.

The National Federation of the Blind estimates that as many as 10 million Americans are blind or visually impaired, and in 2015 they estimated that only 42% of working age adults with significant vision loss were employed. Adapting the COPSystem to be accessible for using a screen reader is important to enable this population to seek a career path that fits their career profile. At EdITS, we are assisting in providing more employment insights, thus lowering the unemployment rate among people that are blind.

The challenge in making the COPSystem accessible for screen readers was in adapting the CAPS ability battery. There are eight timed tests in the CAPS, and all but two of them were able to be directly adapted for a screen reader. In an effort to accommodate low vision and sight impaired people a study was conducted to determine if a person who is blind could answer Spatial Relations test questions. It was found that this was not a task that could be done by the sample that were blind, so an alternative scoring option is incorporated in the screen reader adaptation. This is the most reasonable option for a person who is blind and will lead them to considering jobs that match their interests and abilities. In addition, the Manual Speed and Dexterity test has a series of self-report questions and a way to estimate the MSD score that enables a person that is sight impaired to complete the COPSystem.

As a part of this process we have made the CAPS available with increased time increments to make accommodations for special needs populations. The CAPS can now be purchased with the option of either time and a half (7.5 minutes per test) or double time (10 minutes per test). If you are interested in using either of these options our administrative team can assist you with choosing the option that best suits the needs of your clients. The results pages are all completely accessible as well, that enables people with a wide range of disabilities to access our career guidance program.

It is our hope that having these tools available will increase the quality of life for people who are blind, in the satisfaction that can be gained with a fulfilling job that fits each individual’s career needs. We are extremely proud to be helping the blind community by making our platform fully accessible to them.


Norms for the COPSystem Assessments

The 2015 norms for the COPSystem assessments are available. These data were gathered from 2012 through 2015, and are based on a sample of 17,128 individuals with educational levels of grades 6-12. The National sample was aggregated based on a weighted population of individuals from four geographic regions of the U.S. identified by the 2010 U.S. Census Report.

Table 1 presents a summary of the sample sizes from each region by gender. These groupings were used to explore possible mean differences in examinees’ vocational interests, values, and abilities as a function of where they live and attend school or work.

Table 1. — Summary of Normative Data by Region and Gender

Region Males Females Totals
West 1,680 1,503 3,183
South 1,122 2,410 3,532
Northeast 2,113 2,853 4,966
Midwest 2,770 2,677 5,447
Totals 7,685 9,443 17,128

Consistent with previous normative analyses, comparisons were made across gender, grade level, and region to explore which of these factors, if any, revealed mean differences. Of these factors, only gender revealed consistent mean differences on levels of occupational interest.

This suggests that scale means for males and females are reported separately, as has been done in the past, for the COPS. Thus, all four regions were aggregated at the national level and two normative distributions, one for each gender, were determined for individuals with educational levels in grades 6 through 12. Similar analyses were conducted on the COPES and CAPS inventories.

As in previous years, separate normative distributions were produced only when mean differences were observed that strongly and significantly influenced the interpretation of scores. Normative analyses of the CAPS (ability battery) revealed mean differences as a function of grade level. The student profiles reflect this trend, such that grades 8-9 are combined separately from grades 10-12.

The multiple profiles discussed here have been developed using best practices methodology. Our goal throughout this process has been to increase the overall meaningfulness and effectiveness of the recommendations made by those who rely on the COPSystem to assist them as they guide examinees during their career exploration process.

For additional information, please contact us.

Learn more about the career clusters measured by the COPSystem.

A Brief Summary of the Reliability and Validity of the COPSystem Assessments

A career guidance assessment program is a valuable way to increase self-awareness and professional competence among students and working adults. The COPSystem consists of the COPS Interest Inventory, the CAPS ability battery, and the COPES work values survey. All three are long established, reliable, and valid assessments relating interests, abilities and values to occupations and occupational information. Reliability and validity information is presented in this article.

Career Occupational Preference System Interest Inventory (COPS)

In terms of reliability for the COPS, alpha coefficients for each scale range from .83 to .91. Numerous studies have been conducted to establish the construct validity of the COPS. Correlations of the COPS interest scales to other similar assessments have been used to establish concurrent validity. In comparing the COPS with the Kuder, correlations between conceptually similar scales ranged from .21 to .49 which were significant and were as high as would be expected. In this study, 89% had at least one of their top three areas of interest the same on both the COPS and the Kuder.

When compared to the Holland based Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI), correlations between conceptually similar scales ranged from .50 to .70. To add further support to the construct validity of the COPS, declared major of entering college freshmen was compared to COPS scores and for 71% of the sample, declared major matched one of the top three measured interests. A long-term predictive validity study showed that 64% of students were in a job or college major that matched one of their three highest interest areas from one to seven years after taking the COPS.

Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS)

The CAPS test-retest reliability coefficients ranged from .70 to .95. To establish concurrent validity, correlations with the Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT) were obtained and ranged from .65 to .81 between conceptually similar tests. Correlations were obtained between CAPS tests and grades in specific subject areas. These correlations ranged from .30 to .60 between the CAPS tests and the subject to which it was most closely related. For example, the CAPS numerical ability test had the highest correlations with grades in math. These results are significant and demonstrate the validity of the CAPS. Predictive validity studies show that ability scores are significantly related to subsequent career choice.

Career Orientation Placement and Evaluation Survey (COPES)

With regards to the COPES, alpha reliabilities ranged from .60 to .85. Concurrent validity studies demonstrated that the scales on the COPES are correlated .40 to .60 to conceptually similar scales on the DF Opinion Survey and the Allport Vernon which are as high as would be predicted. The COPS scores were compared to the COPES scores to confirm the validity of the values scores as related to the interest clusters. This analysis explored the relationship between interests and work values by selecting a sample of examinees with scores in a single interest area at the 75th percentile or higher and establishing a COPES profile.

The findings demonstrated the relationship between work values and interest scores that is reflected on the COPSystem Comprehensive Career Guide. A preliminary follow-up study for the COPES found an 89% hit rate for work values matched to subsequent career or college major choice. This article is a brief summary of technical information. For a more comprehensive discussion of the reliability and validity of the COPSystem please see the individual Technical and/or Examiner’s Manual for each assessment.

Stability of the COPS Interest Inventory Scores Between Eighth and Twelfth Grades

In an effort to provide longitudinal validity data for the COPSystem assessments, the COPS Interest Inventory was used to determine the stability of students’ interests from the eighth to the twelfth grade. The effectiveness of career exploration classes in high school was also examined.

The subjects in this study were 807 females and 668 males from a metropolitan school district in South Carolina. All graduated between the years of 1997 and 2001. The students were tested in the eighth grade and again in the twelfth grade. Only those students that completed both administrations were included in the study and inventories were matched by comparing names, gender and identification numbers.

Profiles of each student’s three highest areas of interest were plotted for both sets of scores and then compared. Of all the students tested, 87% had at least one interest that remained one of their top three areas of interest between the eighth and twelfth grades. The percentage of students who reported an exact match between the first ranked area of interest in eighth grade and first ranked interest in twelfth grade was 27%.

“87% of the students retained at least one of their top three areas of interest between the eighth and twelfth grades.”

Student’s responses on the Needs Assessment section of the COPS were also collected and analyzed for a subset of the sample.This subset consisted of 254 females and 233 males who graduated between the years of 2000 and 2001. The Needs Assessment Summary is presented in the form of two questions at the end of the COPS inventory. The question that was analyzed for this study consisted of a list of 19 skills which examinees were asked to indicate by either a “yes” or “no” response if they needed additional help in these areas.

The percentage of students in the total sample who answered “yes” to each item was calculated for both the initial and the follow-up administrations and compared. The percentage of “yes” responses on items related to educational/career planning declined from 47% to 23% between the eighth and twelfth grade administrations. These items included reading skills, language skills, math skills, study skills, decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, career planning skills, educational planning skills, how to find college information, applying to a college or university, applying for financial assistance, and finding military service information.

The percentage of “yes” responses on items related to placement and job skills declined from 40% to 19% between the eighth and twelfth grade administrations. These items included how to find job information, how to find a job, how to apply for a job, how to interview for a job, how to keep a job, obtaining entry level job skills, and upgrading of existing job skills.

“Results indicate that high school career guidance classes and programs provide helpful information to students.”

As evidenced by the Needs Assessment Summary, exposure to career guidance and information offered through the school-to-work program was of significant help to students. Providing career assessments, guidance information, and counseling to students gives them valuable information that they may use for college and job placement.

COPS-P, CAPS and COPES Validity

The COPS-P System is a career awareness program consisting of three measures: Professional Interests (COPS-P), abilities (CAPS), and work values (COPES).

The COPS-P, CAPS, and COPES may be used together and summarized on a single profile, the COPS-P Comprehensive Career Guide. The following four tables show validity evidence for each inventory. Interpretation of these measures is organized around a comprehensive set of occupational clusters, which represent all possible jobs. Results are keyed to major sources of occupational information and related activities, skills, college majors, school planning, and training programs.

The COPS-P System structure of occupations is based on a theoretical clustering of occupations having highly similar job activities. Research on statistical confirmation of the theoretical structure upon which the COPS-P System is based dates back to the work of L.L. Thurstone in 1931 and its roots may be traced from that pioneering effort to the work of J. P. Guilford and the classification system presented by Anne Roe.

The theoretical basis of the COPS-P System provides a broader, more comprehensive base for career guidance than those instruments based on a few arbitrarily selected and empirically developed occupational scales. The COPS-P Interest Inventory provides occupational information organized into Career Clusters for the entire world of work, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Career Clusterscops-p-validity-table-1

In addition to its strong theoretical base, the COPS-P has substantial validity evidence. The COPS-P has demonstrated factor validity; the items have been factor analyzed and demonstrate the occupational structure presented above. Correlations between scales on similar types of interest inventories further demonstrate the validity of the COPS-P. Table 2 presents correlations between the COPS-P and scales on the SCII. It can be seen that the highest correlations have been found between conceptually similar scales on the two inventories. Complete information may be found in the COPS-P Technical Manual.

Table 2. Correlations between COPS-P and SCII.cops-p-validity-table-2

The CAPS and COPES may be used in conjunction with the COPS-P. Results for the three assessments are combined on the COPS-P Comprehensive Career Guide. The CAPS is a widely used ability battery with well established validity and reliability information. Table 3 shows the correlations of the CAPS to another ability battery, the GATB. Correlations are high as would be expected between the conceptually similar tests and are shown in italics.

Table 3. Relationship of CAPS to GATB.cops-p-validity-table-3

Table 4. Relationship of COPES to MBTI.cops-p-validity-table-4

The COPES is the work values assessment component of the COPSystem battery. It is also widely used and has well established validity. A study was conducted comparing the COPES to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Although these two assessments are somewhat different in design, both may be used to explore career issues such as the motivation behind selecting and remaining in a particular occupation.

The COPES survey was designed to measure personal values that relate to occupational selection and job satisfaction. Work values measured by the COPES include Investigative, Practical, Independence, Leadership, Orderliness, Recognition, Aesthetic and Social, and are keyed to the COPSystem Career Clusters. The Myers-Briggs was developed as a means of applying Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types to personality assessment. The MBTI classifies individuals as one of 16 possible types, depending on preferences related to functioning in the areas of Introversion vs. Extraversion, Sensing vs. Intuitive, Thinking vs. Feeling, and Judgement vs. Perception. In career counseling, the different personality types are assumed to be the most attracted to and satisfied by particular occupations.

In the study, 299 high school and college students completed both the COPES and the MBTI. MBTI scores were converted to continuous scores as detailed in the MBTI Manual. Pearson correlations were computed between scales on both instruments and are shown in Table 4. As expected, there were significant correlations between like named, theoretically similar COPES and MBTI scales.

The finding of this study supported the hypothesized relationships between the COPES and the MBTI scales. Each of the eight COPES scales were significantly correlated with the expected MBTI scale, reconfirming the validity of the instrument. As demonstrated by the results of this study, the COPES is a useful measure of work values which are known to play an important role in occupational selection and satisfaction.

Further evidence of the validity and reliability for all three assessments may be found in their respective Technical Manuals.

COPS-PIC Norms and Reliabilities

The COPS Picture Inventory of Careers (COPS-PIC) norms are based on 1,930 students in grades 6-12 from across the United States. There are still significant differences found on some of the scales for males and females, justifying separate norms by gender. No significant differences were found by region or grade level so the norms are combined for these groups. Reliabilities, intercorrelations and additional validity data are reported in the COPS-PIC Manual.

Reliabilities for the scales ranged from .84 to .93, with a median of .89. The Manual also includes a more in-depth description of how to use the COPS-PIC scoring keys. The most recent profile sheet has the norms for males and females presented in the same manner as in the past. The four-page Self-Interpretation Profile and Guide includes updated pictures to facilitate occupational exploration.


Translated Versions of the DOSC

The Dimensions Of Self-Concept (DOSC) is an inventory designed to measure self-concept in the school setting. In the past few years the DOSC has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Portuguese. The validity and reliability of the DOSC has been examined across four cultures in a series of six studies. The authors confirmed the validity of the five DOSC scales across cultures.

The scales measured by the DOSC are Level of Aspiration, Level of Anxiety, Academic Interest and Satisfaction, Leadership and Initiative, and Identification vs. Alienation.

In a study of the Chinese translated DOSC, Huang and Michael (2000) administered the DOSC to junior high students in grades 7 through 9, and found support for the validity of the DOSC. Alpha coefficients for the scales are reported in Table 1. In an additional study the authors found some support for the independence of the scales but the evidence was less consistent (Huang and Michael, 2002). The authors suggested more research needs to be conducted to verify the multidimensionality of a Chinese translation of the DOSC.

Paik and Michael (1999) found satisfactory reliabilities as well as support for the five scales of the DOSC with a Japanese sample. The alpha coefficients for a sample of 354 females are shown in the image below.

In a study of Korean students, reliabilities were satisfactory and are reported in Table 1 (Chong & Michael, 2000). There were some interesting findings with respect to the Academic Interest and Satisfaction scale that were attributable to a cultural difference. The dominant motivation for Koreans may be extrinsic rather than intrinsic, which may lead to inconsistent results with respect to this scale.

DOSC Trnslated.qxd

Villar, Michael and Gribbons (1995a, 1995b) conducted two studies confirming the multidimensionality of the DOSC scales for a Portuguese population. They found reliabilities ranging from .80 to .86 for two independent Portuguese populations which are presented in Table 1. As reported in studies for other translations of the DOSC, support was demonstrated for the multidimensionality of the DOSC scales across cultures.

In this series of verification studies for the DOSC, it is evident that self-concept is multidimensional across cultures. The DOSC is a useful tool for measuring self-concept in the school setting both in the U.S. and in other countries.


Chong, S. & Michael, W. B. (2000). A construct validity study of scores on a Korean version of an academic self-concept for secondary school students. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, 117-130.

Huang, C. & Michael, W. B. (2000). A confirmatory factor analysis of scores on a Chinese version of an academic self-concept scale and its invariance across groups. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 60, 772-786.

Huang, C. & Michael, W. B. (2002). Multi-trait – Multi-method analyses of scores on a Chinese version of the Dimensions of Self-Concept scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 62, 355-372.

Paik, C. & Michael, W. B. (1999). A construct validity investigation of scores on a Japanese version of the academic self-concept scale for secondary school students. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 59, 98-110.

Villar, I. D., Michael, W. B., & Gribbons, B. (1995a). The development and construct validity of a Portuguese version of an academic self-concept scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 55, 115-123.

Villar, I. D., Michael, W. B., & Gribbons, B. (1995b). Further evidence of the construct validity and reliability of a Portuguese version of an academic self-concept scale. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 55, 1032-1038.

COPSystem Now Available in Multiple Languages

Often career counselors have non-English speaking clients. Rather than translating the COPSystem assessments into a variety of languages each of which may have their own dialect, we suggest the use of the COPS-PIC. However, it is useful to have language translations of the directions for the assessments.

EdITS now has translations of directions for some of its more popular career assessments in several languages.

Instructions for the COPS PIC, CAPS and COPES are now available in the following languages: Spanish, Hmong, Russian, Croatian, Laotian, and Vietnamese.

Additionally, all of the items and instructions for the COPS Interest Inventory, CAPS ability battery, and COPES work values survey are available in our web-based Spanish version.

The COPS, CAPS, and COPES are also available in Large Print for the sight impaired. These test booklets are printed in black on white, rather than blue, using 20-point font to increase visibility.

Implementing Standards-Based Classrooms

The purpose of the Practical Handbook to Standards-Based Classrooms and The Guide for Standards-Based Classrooms is to assist teachers in their professional development activities. The second edition has updated information and a new look!

During the last several years, accountability targets have become intensified at all levels of public education. Now teachers are expected to know and to teach standards effortlessly. Schools must achieve or be placed on the “improvement list.” In addition, many states have passed regulations to link a teacher’s classroom achievement level to professional standing and financial incentives. The Guide for Standards-Based Classrooms and the Practical Handbook to Standards-Based Classrooms are ideal tools to be used for professional development training sessions. The Guide may be used as a pre-assessment tool in order to determine a teacher’s level in implementing standards-based classrooms.

Once the Guide has been used for pre-assessment, teachers may then use the Handbook to help establish lesson plans. Below is an example of the questions you can ask about a lesson plan that worked, helping you move from activities-based to standards-based teaching.

Getting Started…

Think of a lesson that worked well with your students. What made it work?

Here are 10 guiding questions to help you deconstruct your lesson and explore your current teaching practice:

  1. Was the lesson linked to a mandated standard?
  2. What was the primary purpose of the lesson?
  3. Did you identify the enabling skills or prerequisites required to achieve the lesson objectives?
  4. Did you provide opportunities for a variety of student levels in learning and performing? Did you plan separate instructional activities to reach every student?
  5. Was the assessment centered in authentic, contextualized tasks or performances?
  6. Did the assessment provide students various options for the showing what they know and can do?
  7. What opportunities to revise were available to students?
  8. What was your feedback procedure?
  9. How did you used the results from the assessment? Did you share the results with your team or colleagues?
  10. What made you decide it was a successful lesson?

There are five essential components that are presented in the Handbook. The rubric for each component is listed and is followed by a set of activities and examples that will facilitate the implementation of a standards-based classroom. The components are:

  • Content Targets for Instructional Planning
  • Test, Products and Performance
  • Models and Rubrics
  • Instructional Delivery
  • Feedback and Reporting


Once the Handbook information has been covered, teachers may go back to the Guide for post-assessment to make sure that progress has been made and to identify further areas for concern and improvement. These tools are valuable because they are easy to use and understand. Our standards-based products are successful in helping teachers transfer from traditional methods to a standards-based approach.