AIYD Learning Series: Measuring the Big Five: What International Youth Work Readiness Programs Can Learn from Evidence-Based Research


While experience in assessing soft skills programming in workforce youth programs in developing countries is relatively limited, there is valuable data and lessons in non-cognitive assessment from US and international research.  

Join AIYD member EDC, and Professional Examination Services, for a workshop focused on what is referred to as "the Big Five", a consensual evidence-based model of personality that includes the following five broad dimensions:  openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, emotional stability (neuroticism) and extroversion and the evolution of non-cognitive assessments.  The presenters will review research on the universality of soft skills and the Big Five in the US, drawing upon longitudinal data focused on the youth demographic, including labor force and economic outcomes.  The discussion will also look at the evolution of non-cognitive assessments: from self-assessments to the use of Situational Judgment Tests (SJTs). This session will be informal and include opportunities for discussion throughout.

Objectives for Participants:

  • Discuss the universality of the "Big Five" Soft Skills construct and applicability to developing countries
  • Analyze several Situational Judgment Tests that have been used to measure work readiness
  • Identify outstanding issues and areas for further research and programming


  • Nancy Taggart, EDC
  • Nancy Chervin, EDC
  • Emily Morris, EDC
  • Rich Roberts, ProExam
  • Carolyn MacCann, University of Sydney  

Event Agenda

3:30 pm | Welcome & Background (Nancy Taggart) - 5 min

3:35 pm | The Big Five and Labor Force and Economic Outcomes

Overview of findings from non-cognitive assessments in the US The presentation will discuss the relationship between non-cognitive skills and workforce readiness in the international context (Rich Roberts; Carolyn MacCann) - 20 min.

4:00 pm | Experiences in Using SJTs with International Soft Skills Assessments  

1. EDC's SJT assessment Advancing Youth Project in Liberia

2. Credential test - SJT items; use of videos Video example on time management, including references to other video based assessments done int'lly). (Emily Morris, Nancy Chervin, Rich Roberts) - 30 min.

4:30 pm | Outstanding Questions for Large Group Discussion - 30 min
5:00 pm | Closing (Nancy Taggart, Rich Roberts)