MYSKILLS – Identifying Professional Competencies (BKE)

The BKE project at DIPF was initially part of the structure project "MYSKILLS – Recognising Professional Competencies" of the Federal Employment Agency in cooperation with the Research Institute for Company-Based Training (f-bb) and the Bertelsmann Foundation. The project aimed at the development and quality assurance of instruments for valid assessments of professional competencies of people with low qualifications. Following a successful test construction, the project has focused on running tests and the technical advancement of the system. From 2017 to 2022, MYSKILLS tests were used by the Federal Employment Agency. Since spring 2022, DIPF and the Bertelsmann Foundation have tested the use of MYSKILLs with educational institutes in Germany and abroad.

Project Description

Many refugees, immigrants and people with low formal professional skills experience difficulties in accessing the job market due to their lack of recognisable certifications. Moreover, so far no single instrument exists for an overarching assessment of informally acquired competencies that are relevant for professional activities and demanded in the context of employment.

Therefore, the Federal Employment Agency and the Bertelsmann Foundation – together with the Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training (Forschungsinstitut Berufliche Bildung, f-bb) – have jointly developed a concept for an improved assessment of non-formally acquired competencies and their use for the purpose of entering training or employment. In the MYSKILLS project, a particular focus lies on the assessment of the work-related skills of migrants and refugees. Instruments for the valid measurement of relevant competencies will be developed and tested for initially 30 professions.

MYSKILLS tests are special because tasks resemble company-based contracts: during a four-hour test, testees are shown images and videos representing types of questions that are typical for company-based work scenarios and they can thus prove their skills. The result will inform about the skills relating to a tested profession the participants are already familiar with and where they can be employed. Participants are issued a certification of skills.

The skills tests were first translated from German into five languages and later into another six languages so now the test is available in 12 languages.

Psychometric Quality Assurance

The test construction process was scientifically supported by DIPF in order to ensure the appropriate quality of test procedures regarding various psychometric quality criteria. This quality assurance took place on the basis of item response theory (IRT) models. The main objective was the model fit of the test scales and items. They were used for the revision of the test procedures and allowed for an overall assessment of quality of the developed scales regarding their applicability in practice.

Technical Implementation

The Centre for Technology Based Assessment (TBA Centre) is responsible for technically running MYSKILLS tests as software-as-a-service (SaaS). To be precise, TBA has computerised all the tasks and translated them, is in charge of online delivery of the tests and holds responsible for hosting and support. Moreover, the TBA team also offers content support, particularly psychometric counselling and process development. For the decentralised use by different educational institutions and in an international context, the MYSKILLS team at the TBA Centre coordinates a continual software development. First results from the educational institutions are promising – the institutions are running MYSKILLS tests in a customised fashion with incremental frequency.



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Project Management

Project Team

Project Details

Current project
Areas of focus
Education Sectors: Extracurricular Learning, Further Education
11/2016 – 12/2024