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Evaluation of the use of Assessment Centre methodology to enhance development planning, work placement outcomes and work readiness for postgraduate students : a pilot

conference contribution
posted on 01.01.2010, 00:00 authored by Sophie Keele, Vanessa SturreVanessa Sturre, Kathryn Von TreuerKathryn Von Treuer, F Feenstra
Background: Placements as a form of Work Integrated Learning are widely recognised for the positive impact they have on improving student employability and work readiness. Students can maximise strengths, improve areas of weakness, and develop a strong understanding of the requirements of their chosen field within the confines of a well monitored and rich learning environment. Assessment Centres (ACs) are commonly used in corporate settings for recruitment, selection and more recently to provide developmental feedback to participants. Based on a recent literature review, the present the present project evaluates the application of AC methodology as a developmental tool within the placement milieu. The review, which is also included the current conference proceedings details the benefits of utilising the AC process forming the impetus for the present pilot (Sturre; von Treuer & Keele 2010).
Aims: The primary aim of the paper was to evaluate the application of AC methodology as a tool for measuring and subsequently enhancing professional competencies in a sample of postgraduate students in organisational psychology (n=15).
Method: A longitudinal design was utilised with numerous evaluation points from placement stakeholders. This paper presents the first wave of findings. Students undertook a range of activities, including an in-tray exercise, role play, written report, leaderless group discussion and a personality assessment. Comprehensive feedback was provided by organisational psychologists who also fulfil the role of placement co-ordinators. With the assistance of Placement Co-ordinators, students prepared development plans relating to the competencies identified as requiring development. These plans were to be addressed and progress monitored during consecutive placements.
Results: Initial perceptions gathered from students regarding the AC process were very encouraging. Performance
evaluations collected to date, as measured by behaviourally based ratings scales completed by the students themselves and their workplace supervisors illustrate the positive effect of this methodology. The rigour and comprehensive techniques offered by the methodology enabled students to focus on and improve areas identified for development.
Conclusions: It is important to note that the present design formed a pilot study and as mentioned was undertaken with a limited sample. Future implementation is planned with larger samples, enabling a more comprehensive analysis of the methodology. Nevertheless, the methodology appears to provide a much needed strategy for the assessment and ongoing development of students prior to and during work placements. The application provides early intervention enabling students to address development needs with input from both university and organisational stakeholders based on an established, standardised process.



Biannual Australian Collaborative Education Network National Conference (3rd : 2010 : Perth, W.A.)


221 - 234


Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN)


Perth, W.A.

Place of publication

Rockhampton, QLD

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2010, Australian Collaborative Education Network


M [Campbell

Title of proceedings

ACEN 2010 : Proceedings of the 3rd Biannual Australian Collaborative Education Network National Conference

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