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Why I Believe in Assessments – an Interview with Susie Wood

Posted by Lisa Davis on April 4, 2018
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You may already know Susie Wood, MA, MSSW, a senior consultant and trainer at Human eSources. For the past 20 years, Susie has been helping individuals find their best career and education path and has presented to IECA and HECA members on the subject. We recently spoke to Susie about Human eSources’ AchieveWORKS™ assessments and here’s what she had to say:

Why do you believe the AchieveWORKS assessments are such a valuable tool?

My answer to this question may surprise you! While I believe our assessments are superior in giving the diversity of insights that educational consultants and counselors want to know, the real reason I believe in assessments is that they work! By that, I mean they offer pertinent information that is relevant to students and parents, empowering the student to understand what they have to offer that is unique and marketable. Once that information is integrated and “owned” by the student, an action plan for career development and selection of a major is streamlined in a very valuable way. Even with the best preparation and research, the future holds many unknowns. If you have a student who clearly understands their unique gifts and talents and can communicate those in their own words, they are going to be more discerning and resilient when the need arises.

What do the AchieveWORKS assessments do?

When layered at the best time for a student—as determined by you—the three dynamic assessments present various facets that will unlock insights about the student that one alone could never provide. They ensure the student has a solid understanding of how to create optimal learning, understand their unique strengths and preferences, advocate for themselves by providing situational examples, and use prioritized criteria to select a major and college.

What can you tell us about using the personality assessment?

Designed for ages 16+, AchieveWORKS Personality (previously known as Do What You Are®) is steeped in personality theory and offers valuable insights that confirm talents and strengths, build confidence, and empower the individual.

AchieveWORKS Personality does everything Do What You Are used to do― even more effectively. Integrating new technology and research, the user can now drill down into the report areas, confirm their strengths and challenges and receive recommendations that engage them and encourage them to further develop their gifts.

This benefits you as a consultant because the more the student can engage in the experience, they move further in the process prior to your guidance and intervention. The report also allows you to see what strengths and challenges the student selected, and other supporting information that appeals to them, as soon as it is completed. Having this information available earlier in the process benefits the student and professional because it moves the process forward.

How about the learning style assessment?

AchieveWORKS Learning & Productivity assessment is a well-established educational resource that has been solidly researched and utilized for over 50 years.

While the assessment can be administered to students in the 6th grade and above, it is deceptively simple and very informative. The best part of this assessment is the insights it provides and confirms for the student on how to create optimal learning and productivity. Most of us are not consciously aware of the 16 preferences and how each contributes to the overall impact of an ideal learning environment and higher productivity, but when these areas of preference are combined they are pivotal in helping create a highly productive "zone".

Last, but not least, there’s the intelligences assessment. What can we learn there?

AchieveWORKS Intelligences assessment is a premier career exploration tool. Normed at 8th grade and above, it is ideal for students that are undecided on, or overwhelmed by, the career decision-making process. I’ve also found it adds an interesting perspective to the career ideas generated by AchieveWORKS Personality.

The intelligences assessment offers insights based on the multiple intelligences theory by Dr. Howard Gardner. It is ideal for offering exposure to beginning or expansion of the career exploration process because it covers intelligences that are often areas of passion or high interest not found in personality assessments. This provides opportunity for a dynamic discussion of ideas and careers not mentioned in the AchieveWORKS Personality report.

Most valuable are the report insights that define areas of focus for the student that pull from their passions or keen interests. It encourages consideration of vocational interest, compared to personal focus that may emerge as a passion, hobby or cause instead of career direction.

The suggestions in several sections can confirm and further develop exposure, serving as a catalyst for ideas on integrating real-world experiences through leadership opportunities, volunteerism, job shadowing, and the like. The student’s aptitude in a particular intelligence can validate the interest and level of involvement they might consider embracing.

The intelligences report is often used as an action plan base for students to explore the real-life application of their career ideas. I have also found it gives unique discussion points for graduate school consideration.

Additionally, there is now an emotional intelligence survey that helps gauge the student's ability to handle the stressors they face and engage in dialogue when appropriate.

What should people do if they want to learn more?

We welcome you to sit in on a free training webinar. You can see the list of upcoming trainings at here: Assessment Trainings.

CollegePlannerPro members can purchase assessments on a per-student basis directly through your account. This article will walk you through purchasing and enabling assessments: How do I enable assessments for my students?

If you are not a CollegePlannerPro member, but would like to purchase assessments for your students, you may create a free assessments account here and begin purchasing assessments for your students.

Should you have comments or want to discuss the assessments further, you can reach Susie at or 1-888-295-1520 extension 103.