Jean Paton: Strong Vocational Interest Test

Jean Paton

Artist B+
Author B-
Librarian B
English Teacher C
Social Worker B-Psychologist B
Lawyer B-Social Science Teacher C·
YMCA Secretary C
Life Insur. Saleswoman C
Buyer C
Housewife C
Elementary Teacher C
Office Worker B-
Stenog. – Secretary C
Business Ed. Teacher C
Home Econ. Teacher C+
Dietitian B
Physical Ed. Teacher B
Occup. Therapist B
Nurse C+
Math.-Science Teacher B
Dentist B+
Laboratory Technician B+
Physician B

When at age, 42, Jean Paton decided to leave the profession of social work after ten years of service, she sought out Mary K. Bauman, who ran the Personnel Research Bureau in Philadelphia. Paton initially sought Bauman out for help in finding “some new vocational direction.” Bauman administered Paton the Strong Vocational Interest Test for women to measure and evaluate what careers fit her abilities, preferences, and interests and also her potential for additional education. (Developed by Edward K. Strong, a professor at Carnegie Institute of Technology, this was the first widely used career assessment test).

Paton achieved her highest scores in the categories of artist, dentist, laboratory technician, and physician. She recorded her lowest grades in the category of English teacher, social science teacher, YMCA secretary, life insurance saleswoman, buyer, housewife, elementary teacher, stenographer–secretary, business education teacher, and physical education teacher. The career assessment test impressed Paton with its validity, and it gave her confidence that her mind, “despite poor vocational use, had remained healthy, and could be entrusted with long and difficult work.”


About E. Wayne Carp

I am the Benson Family Chair in History and Professor of History at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. To read more about me, please visit my website,

Posted on July 10, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Wow! I was first struck by the fact that there were no As. But then, it’s not that
    kind of a test. Duh. It is interesting that she got high marks for being a physician or a dentist, given that she had difficulty graduating from high school. I think that goes to show how not knowing the specifics of one’s life can overwhelm the brain, and not allow its natural acuity to shine.

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