A Brief Summary of the Reliability and Validity of the COPSystem Assessments


A career guidance assessment program is a valuable way to increase self-awareness and professional competence among students and working adults. The COPSystem consists of the COPS Interest Inventory, the CAPS ability battery, and the COPES work values survey. All three are long established, reliable, and valid assessments relating interests, abilities and values to occupations and occupational information. Reliability and validity information is presented in this article.

Career Occupational Preference System Interest Inventory (COPS)

In terms of reliability for the COPS, alpha coefficients for each scale range from .86 to .92. Numerous studies have been conducted to establish the construct validity of the COPS. Correlations of the COPS interest scales to other similar assessments have been used to establish concurrent validity. In comparing the COPS with the Kuder, correlations between conceptually similar scales ranged from .21 to .49 which were significant and were as high as would be expected. In this study, 89% had at least one of their top three areas of interest the same on both the COPS and the Kuder.

When compared to the Holland based Vocational Preference Inventory (VPI), correlations between conceptually similar scales ranged from .50 to .70. To add further support to the construct validity of the COPS, declared major of entering college freshmen was compared to COPS scores and for 71% of the sample, declared major matched one of the top three measured interests. A long-term predictive validity study showed that 64% of students were in a job or college major that matched one of their three highest interest areas from one to seven years after taking the COPS.

Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS)

The CAPS test-retest reliability coefficients ranged from .70 to .95. To establish concurrent validity, correlations with the Differential Aptitude Tests (DAT) were obtained and ranged from .65 to .81 between conceptually similar tests. Correlations were obtained between CAPS tests and grades in specific subject areas. These correlations ranged from .30 to .60 between the CAPS tests and the subject to which it was most closely related. For example, the CAPS numerical ability test had the highest correlations with grades in math. These results are significant and demonstrate the validity of the CAPS. Predictive validity studies show that ability scores are significantly related to subsequent career choice.

Career Orientation Placement and Evaluation Survey (COPES)

With regards to the COPES, alpha reliabilities ranged from .70 to .83. Concurrent validity studies demonstrated that the scales on the COPES are correlated .40 to .60 to conceptually similar scales on the DF Opinion Survey and the Allport Vernon which are as high as would be predicted. The COPS scores were compared to the COPES scores to confirm the validity of the values scores as related to the interest clusters. This analysis explored the relationship between interests and work values by selecting a sample of examinees with scores in a single interest area at the 75th percentile or higher and establishing a COPES profile.

The findings demonstrated the relationship between work values and interest scores that is reflected on the COPSystem Comprehensive Career Guide. A preliminary follow-up study for the COPES found an 89% hit rate for work values matched to subsequent career or college major choice. This article is a brief summary of technical information. For a more comprehensive discussion of the reliability and validity of the COPSystem please see the individual Technical and/or Examiner’s Manual for each assessment.