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Global Skills Assessment: 15 Minutes, Unlimited Possibilities

This blog discusses the development of a 15-minute assessment that measures all 96 skills in the Universal Competency Framework.

It has been nearly a decade since SHL’s Science team first developed Apta, our patented measurement framework that is directly aligned to the Universal Competency Framework (UCF). The UCF is an evidence-based competency framework that provides a basis for understanding people’s behavior at work and their likelihood of success. For many years, we have realized the benefits of Apta by creating flexible assessments that are tailored to measure only the UCF behaviors relevant to a given role or context. This methodology has proven to be a powerful measurement tool applied in both custom client assessments as well as our standard off-the-shelf assessments such as our Job Focused Assessments and the RemoteWorkQ.

While we have appreciated Apta’s flexibility and measurement efficiency for many years, we knew we had only scratched the surface of realizing its full potential. The Science team is constantly striving to innovate, to challenge ourselves and push the boundaries on what we know to be possible. That is why we recently set out to see if we could use Apta to create a single, short assessment of all 96 skills in the Universal Competency Framework.

How did we do it?

Our team carefully reviewed thousands of items in the Apta item bank. We then leveraged our best item content by combining it in a way that uses advanced psychometrics to maximize measurement efficiency and provide the best candidate experience. The result is a highly efficient measurement tool that can measure the entire Universal Competency Framework in just 15 minutes. This brand-new innovation is called the Global Skills Assessment (GSA).

The GSA is extremely versatile and can be used for any job at any level. Collecting scores on the entire performance domain of the new world of work, as defined by the UCF, unlocks unlimited possibilities for leveraging assessment data through the entire talent lifecycle. While all 96 Universal Competency Framework skills are scored in every administration of the Global Skills Assessment, only the most relevant scales for a given role or context are selected for reporting. Behind the scenes, behavioral data on the remainder of the UCF exists, ready and waiting for future use.

This comprehensive assessment provides unlimited data-driven applications including the ability to:

  • Administer a single assessment and assess fit for the requirements of various roles within an organization
  • Administer at multiple points in time to track an individual’s skill development at various stages in their careers
  • Map to client competency models
  • Combine scales to measure any construct of interest
  • Use in validation studies – measuring a wide range of job-related behaviors to determine which are the best predictors of performance

The Global Skills Assessment (GSA) has already been integrated into our latest job focused assessments, and Science is continuing to explore all the ways this unique tool can be utilized. This type of innovation, expanding what is possible in the world of talent measurement, is what to expect as we launch SHL Labs, an initiative focused on bringing cutting-edge scientific research and next gen technology into future products of SHL. Stay tuned to learn more about how the GSA can be brought to life any time you want to measure the UCF!


Book a demo with one of our experts to learn more how we can help you build your workforce and drive efficiency in your assessment program!

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Kristin Allen

Kristin Allen is a Senior Manager, Psychometrics on SHL’s Research & Development team, with over 10 years of experience in the talent assessment industry. Kristin is leading SHL’s Neurodiversity Research Program and has expertise in behavioral assessments and competency models. Kristin holds a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Florida International University.

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Darrin Grelle

Darrin Grelle is a Principal Research Scientist for team Digital at SHL with more than 10 years of experience in the talent assessment industry. In this role, he is responsible for the growth and development of one of the largest cognitive ability testing programs in the field of talent assessment. His primary areas of expertise include innovating traditional cognitive assessment formats, design, and development of assessments for mobile delivery, and application of item response theory for computer adaptive testing. Darrin holds a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from the University of Georgia, with a focus on psychometrics.

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