How YouScience is Closing the Aptitude and Interest Gap

Key Points

  • There is a big gap between the number of young people with aptitudes for high-wage, high-demand jobs and their interest in those jobs. 

  • YouScience Discovery is ​a series of brain games that uncover learner aptitudes and match them with best-fit careers.

YouScience.com
Image via YouScience.com

There is a big gap between the number of young people with aptitudes for high-wage, high-demand jobs and their interest in those jobs. Gaps are most prevalent for female students who, for example, have almost four times the aptitude for computer technology careers than interest and almost ten times the aptitude for advanced manufacturing careers than interest.

The new research from YouScience, a college and career solution provider, is based on a quarter of a million assessments during the 2021 school year.

YouScience Discovery is ​a series of brain games that uncover learner aptitudes and match them with best-fit careers.

“As I dug into the research and looked at how students were behaving, the clear cause of the discontent and disengagement was because they didn’t understand how their current circumstances were connected to their future career,” said YouScience founder and CEO Edson Barton.

“Aptitudes are not the same as interests, personality, or learned skills, which are environmentally dependent and change over time. An aptitude is an individual’s natural ability to learn or perform in given areas,” explained Barton.

There is a big gap between the number of young people with aptitudes for high-wage, high-demand jobs and their interest in those jobs.

Tom Vander Ark

Discovery measures nine aptitudes that are key to career performance: idea generation, numerical reasoning, spatial visualization, sequential reasoning, inductive reasoning, visual comparison speed, timeframe orientation, vocabulary, and work approach. Optional assessments also gauge computation, associative and visual memory, and pattern memory. These aptitudes are linked to careers where they are critical to success.

Interests, on the other hand, can change rather frequently and depend on exposure. Career education and work-based learning expose young people to possible futures.  

“We think YouScience is a great tool for helping students think more broadly about their potential paths as they can easily explore how their aptitudes and interests connect with a wide variety of careers,” said Laura Evans of the Kauffman Foundation.   

A limited version of Discovery is often used in middle school career exploration courses. The full verison is often used in high school advisory structures.

“YouScience gives students an image of themselves that isn’t ranked as good or bad, top or bottom, instead, it helps students to discover their natural talents which can open doors to opportunities” said Shannan Booth, Director of Career Education for Lee’s Summit School District.

“We use YouScience to help expose students to career fields they may have not thought of as options for them,” said Ryan Flurry, Coordinator of Career & Technical Education for the Shawnee Mission School District. “The analytics allow us to find students who have aptitudes that we can grow into job skills. It has helped us with access and equity for high-wage and high-demand career fields,” added Flurry.

While a junior at Shawnee Mission Northwest, Tate Burns took the assessments. “My leadership and problem-solving skills shone through in YouScience,” said Burns. “It’s amazing for building a resume, the facts about yourself are what employers look for,” added Burns.  

YouScience also supports high quality work-based learning experiences through a partnership with the National Center for College and Career Transitions. The Seamless WBL program helps schools find partners and manage work-based learning activities.

YouScience promotes business involvement in schools with tools such as Employer Connections that helps them find work-ready candidates.

Precision Exams by YouScience are used to credential learning in leading industries.  

YouScience is used by nearly a million students in thousands of school districts to create personalized pathways by connecting identified aptitudes and interests to career opportunities. It helps students find relevance in school and confidence beyond.

This post was originally published on Forbes.

This post is part of our New Pathways campaign sponsored by ASA, Stand Together and the Walton Family Foundation.

Tom - Speaking Engagements

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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