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Frequently Asked Questions

16 questions displayed.

What abilities does the O*NET Ability Profiler measure?

The O*NET Ability Profiler measures 9 basic abilities related to the world of work. They include Verbal Ability, Arithmetic Reasoning, Computation, Spatial Ability, Form Perception, Clerical Perception, Motor Coordination, Manual Dexterity, and Finger Dexterity. The O*NET Ability Profiler was developed and organized so users can identify occupations that fit their abilities.

Is the O*NET Ability Profiler a replacement for the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB)?

No. The O*NET Ability Profiler was designed and validated solely for use in career exploration, career counseling, and career planning. Thus, it does not apply to all of the purposes for which the GATB was used.

Should states continue to use the GATB?

Original research to develop the GATB was conducted in the 1940's and the most recent updates were completed in the 1980's. In view of the dated nature of this assessment, it is preferable to select and use a more recently developed ability assessment instrument based on a determination of the suitability of a particular test for the intended use. (See "Chapter 5 - How to Select Tests-Standards for Evaluating Tests" in Testing and Assessment: An Employer's Guide to Good Practices).

Can I use the O*NET Ability Profiler for selection?

No, the O*NET Ability Profiler was designed specifically for career exploration, career counseling, and career planning purposes. Validity studies have not been conducted for using the O*NET Ability Profiler for selection purposes. The O*NET Ability Profiler must not be used for personnel selection.

A number of sources are available to help organizations locate suitable assessments and explore the reliability and validity of various assessments for specific uses. Some of the available sources include:

  • Buros Institute of Mental Measurements Test Reviews Online external site
  • Mental Measurements Yearbook (published by Buros Institute of Mental Measurements)
  • Tests in Print (published by Buros Institute)
  • Test Critiques (by Daniel J. Keyser and Richard C. Sweetland)
  • Testing and Assessment: An Employer's Guide to Good Practices (published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration). This guide contains information applicable to workforce investment programs concerned with evaluating tests and assessments.
Is certification and/or training needed to administer the O*NET Ability Profiler?

Certification is not required. However, a trained administrator is very important to successful administration of the O*NET Ability Profiler. The O*NET Ability Profiler Administrator Training Manual is available for order from the U.S. Government Printing Office (866-512-1800) or by download from this website. All administrators should read and study the O*NET Ability Profiler Administrator Training Manual as well as the O*NET Ability Profiler Administration Manual. Information about webinars and other training is available from the O*NET Academy external site.

What are the requirements that an individual must meet before being allowed to take the O*NET Ability Profiler?

An examinee must be at least 16 years old and must be proficient in reading English (equivalent to grade six or higher).

Can the O*NET Ability Profiler be administered to one individual?

For efficiency, it is recommended that the O*NET Ability Profiler be administered to groups of two or more examinees. However, it is acceptable to administer the assessment to a single examinee.

What do the percentiles mean that are found in the O*NET Ability Profiler Score Report?

Percentiles are a good way for an examinee to determine how their abilities compare to other people. Each percentile on the score report shows how strong that ability is for the user compared to a nationwide sample. The percentile score indicates the percentage of the norming group (a large sample exhibiting the characteristics of the general population) that scored at or below the level of the examinee. For example, a percentile score of 70 indicates that 70 percent of the norming group received a score that was less than or equal to the user's score. The average percentile score is 50, meaning that the average examinee would score at the 50th percentile for each ability.

Is there a method to integrate information obtained from all three O*NET Career Exploration Tools?

The score reports for the three O*NET Career Exploration Tools were designed to be compatible between instruments. Occupations for all three instruments are arranged by variable and job zone. The O*NET Project has not developed and does not plan to develop a tool that automatically will link all three assessments. However, if users put the score reports together, they can get a better idea of the kinds of careers they might find satisfying and rewarding. The Linking Client Assessment Profiles to O*NET Occupational Profiles report describes the procedures used to compare and match a client's assessment profiles obtained from one or more of the three tools to O*NET-SOC occupation profiles. This report describes the recommended algorithms developed for clients using a single tool and for clients using multiple tools. Organizations can develop data entry programs using these algorithms. These programs could be used to link client scores from multiple O*NET Career Exploration Tools to O*NET occupations.

What reasonable accommodations can be made for examinees with special needs?

Some alterations, adjustments, or changes in the administration procedures can be made. However, the accommodation must not affect the measurement of the abilities the instrument was designed to measure. Time limits can be increased for the power tests (Parts 1 - Arithmetic Reasoning, 2 - Vocabulary, and 3 - Three-Dimensional Space), but not for the speeded tests. Print sizes for questions in Parts 1, 2, 3, and 5 (power tests and Name Comparison) may be increased. Examinees having difficulty understanding directions could be encouraged to ask questions related to the directions. Reasonable accommodations can appear in many different forms. Accommodations can be made so that the assessment is measuring the job-related abilities, not the disability, such as providing assistance with the answer sheet or steadying/locking down a wheelchair. A good reference resource, Pre-Employment Testing and the ADA, is available from the website of the Association for Assessment in Counseling external site.

Will a Spanish version of the O*NET Ability Profiler be released?

Currently, no plans exist to develop a Spanish version of the O*NET Ability Profiler by the National Center for O*NET Development. The technical research documents for the O*NET Ability Profiler are available to public and private developers. By making this information available, developers may modify and/or develop their own variants of the tool as specified in the O*NET Developer's Agreement.

Can I use an overlay scoring key to hand-score?

Because of technical improvements in the scoring procedures incorporated in the O*NET Ability Profiler, the O*NET Ability Profiler Scoring Program (APSP) is designed to be used with an optical scanner. However, if an optical mark reader scanner is not available to scan the answer sheets, an examinee information file can be created by hand entering data from the examinee answer sheets. The Ability Profiler Data Entry Program was developed to provide users this option.

Can I pay to have the O*NET Ability Profiler scored?

Currently, we are aware of the following vendor that is available to provide scoring for a fee. For additional details contact:

Pearson Assessments
Client Relations
Telephone: 1-800-627-7271, ext. 3232
Please use Item #52103 when ordering scoring services.

(Note: To add to the list of vendors available to score the O*NET Ability Profiler for a fee, please contact O*NET Customer Service (

This information is provided for your convenience. Its inclusion on this website does not constitute an endorsement.

What types of optical mark reader scanners can I use to score the O*NET Ability Profiler?

There are many configurations of hardware and software on the market that can be used to scan/read the examinee response sheets and place the information in a computer file in the layout and format expected by the O*NET Ability Profiler Scoring Program. Currently, we are aware of the following companies that sell optical mark reader scanners: Pearson Assessments, Scantron, and Bell and Howell. (Note: To add compatible optical mark reader scanners that meet the configurations outlined in the APSP User's Guide, please contact O*NET Customer Service (

This information is provided for your convenience. Its inclusion on this website does not constitute an endorsement.

What is the cost of an optical mark reader scanner?

The cost of an optical mark reader scanner varies with the model and manufacturer. Costs for new optical mark reader scanners and necessary equipment generally range from $3,000 to $10,000. You may also be able to purchase used equipment for a lower cost.

Can my organization set up a central-site scoring center for the O*NET Ability Profiler?

Yes, an organization can purchase one optical mark reader scanner and set up a central-site scoring center. The central-site would score the O*NET Ability Profiler examinee response sheets sent in by remote sites. The central-site would provide score reports to the remote sites electronically or by mail. Incorporate safeguards into your procedures in order to keep individuals' assessment scores confidential.