This brief was developed to assist state and local areas in understanding not only the requirements in the law, but also the purpose of assessments, key components of strong assessment tools, a­nd strategies for conducting effective and empowering assessments with youth in the WIOA program.

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) regularly surveys the field for technical assistance needs. One frequently raised topic is the objective assessment requirement within the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth program. For many youth, the assessment process provokes anxiety. It may remind youth of previous negative experiences within the education system, harsh questioning experiences in institutional settings, or past moments when assessments ruled the youth out of program opportunities. Youth may have experienced multiple assessment interventions and feel over-assessed or perceive assessment tools as having the purpose of highlighting their weaknesses and deficiencies. 

This is why developing youth assessment policies and procedures are such a critical part of youth programming. By adopting a strengths-based approach and managing expectations, staff can change the assessment experience for the youth they serve to one that is meaningful and informative, as well as a critical step in educational and career pathway planning. 

Components of this Brief include: 

  • Youth Assessment Technical Assistance Background 
  • How does WIOA define objective assessment?
  • Why Do We Use Assessments?
  • What Do Assessment Tools Measure?
  • How Are Assessment Tools Used?
  • What Should Youth Workforce Professionals Look for in an Assessment Tool?
  • Tips for Conducting Assessments
  • Considerations for Youth with Disabilities