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

Sophie Melinda Keele, Vanessa L. Sturre, Kathryn von Treuer, Frances Feenstra


Work placements as a form of Work Integrated Learning are widely recognised for the positive impact they have on improving the employability and work readiness of students. Assessment Centres (ACs) are widely used in corporate settings for recruitment, selection and more recently to provide developmental feedback to participants. The present project aimed 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). A longitudinal design was utilised with numerous evaluation points from work placement stakeholders. This paper presents the first wave of findings. Students undertook a range of activities, including an in-tray exercise, a role play, a written report and a leaderless group discussion. Comprehensive feedback was provided to the students by Organisational Psychologists who also fulfil the role of placement co-ordinators. With the assistance of the Placement Co-ordinators, students prepared development plans relating to the competencies identified as requiring development. These development plans were to be addressed whilst on consecutive work placements. Performance evaluations collected to date, as measured by behaviourally based ratings scales completed by the students themselves and their organisational supervisors illustrate the positive effect of this methodology. Initial perceptions gathered from students with regards to their participation in this initiative were very encouraging. The ongoing application of AC methodology as a process to enhance development planning, placement outcomes and work readiness for postgraduate students is discussed.


Assessment Centres, Development Centres, work readiness, Work Integrated Learning, work placements, graduate attributes, professional competencies.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/jtlge2010vol1no1art548


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