5.4 Vocational Evaluations

5.4.1 Job Function

The vocational evaluation process is designed to determine the consumer's present and future vocational potential including evaluating the consumer's employment-related strengths and limitations.

5.4.2 Qualifications

Education, Training, and Experience

Vocational evaluators must have one of the following

  • Master's degree in Vocational Evaluation;
  • Master's degree in a related field (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Education, etc.) and one year full-time experience as a vocational evaluator, preferably in vocational rehabilitation working with individuals who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities;
  • Bachelor's degree in Vocational Evaluation and one year full-time experience as a vocational evaluator, preferably in vocational rehabilitation working with individuals who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities; or
  • Bachelor's degree in a related field (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Education, etc.) and two years full-time experience performing vocational evaluation services with individuals who have visual disabilities and/or other disabilities.

 

Certification Requirements

Each person who administers vocational tests, batteries, and/or related instruments that require certification must be certified by the appropriate entity. Examples of these tests or batteries include the Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation System (CVES), the McCarron Dial System (MDS), psychological tests, etc.

 

Provider Authorization

Services must not begin until DBS has issued a service authorization and/or purchase order.

Providers must have written authorization from DBS before the provider's employee provides services to DBS consumers. No service provided by a provider's employee will be paid if the service is provided before DBS written authorization is received.

For additional information, please see Documenting Staff Changes in section 1.6.4 of this manual and Staff Information Sheets in section 4.2 of this manual.

 

Performance

Vocational evaluations must be performed by a vocational evaluator who meets the criteria described in this manual or a psychologist who is licensed and certified in the state of Texas.

 

Staff-to-Consumer Ratio

For the purpose of conducting vocational evaluations, the staff-to-consumer ratio must not exceed one staff member to three consumers (1:3). If the number of DBS consumers receiving vocational evaluation services at the same time is more than three but less than seven—in other words, a maximum of six consumers—a competent aide (technician) under the supervision of the vocational evaluator may be used to ensure the staff-to-consumer ratio does not exceed one to three (1:3).

5.4.3 Service Delivery

Scope of Services

Vocational evaluators provide the following services:

  • gather information about the consumer's personal, medical, psychological, social, education and work history;
  • evaluate the individual's vocational interests, skills, strengths, and limitations;
  • document and interpret test results;
  • make recommendations relating to the consumer's vocational goal; and
  • recommend training or educational needs, accommodations and other types of intervention to assist the individual in reaching their vocational goal.

 

Referral Form

Prior to each vocational evaluation, DBS will provide the vocational evaluator with a Referral for Vocational Evaluation form (or equivalent). The referral form will:

  • indicate why the consumer is being referred for vocational evaluation and
  • describe specific issues and/or questions that should be addressed in the evaluator's written report.

 

Developing the Consumer's Case History

Information about the consumer's case history shall be gathered through a review of available records and consumer self-reports and a summary of this information included in the vocational evaluation report. The consumer's case history should encompass:

  • personal information,
  • educational background,
  • employment history,
  • medical history,
  • social history,
  • psychological/emotional history and current stability,
  • daily living activities, and
  • independent living skills.

 

Information To Be Assessed

The evaluation process must address the consumer's employment assets and liabilities, potential for training, and overall work adjustment.

In the majority of instances at least two different techniques should be utilized to provide a more thorough evaluation. Vocational evaluators have the discretionary authority to determine which techniques should be used—in each case, however, the governing factor in selecting the most appropriate techniques must be the individual needs of the consumer.

The following areas shall be assessed.

  1. Cognitive abilities
    • learning ability including attention, concentration, comprehension, memory/ retention, creativity, and conceptualization;
    • communication skills and interaction with others;
    • ability to follow oral or written instructions;
    • work organization and planning; and
    • spatial concepts.
  2. Academic achievements (grade level) in reading, writing, spelling and mathematics.
  3. Physical abilities
    • fine motor abilities including bimanual dexterity, speed, coordination, and strength;
    • gross motor abilities including strength, balance, and coordination; and
    • stamina/physical tolerances and endurance.
  4. Sensory abilities (identify preferred learning style: visual, auditory, or tactile)
    • use of residual vision,
    • auditory processing and sound localization, and
    • tactile perception.
  5. Aptitudes and vocational interests/exploration
    • specific equipment and technical skills and
    • preferred vocational interests compared to abilities.
  6. Behavioral observations and work habits
    • general behaviors and work related behaviors;
    • self-image (pertaining to self and work);
    • appearance (grooming, hygiene, appropriate clothing for the work setting, etc.);
    • motivation and attitude toward work;
    • attendance and punctuality;
    • orientation to the work setting and travel within the work setting;
    • work stability (including attention to work despite environmental distractions);
    • work quality;
    • work productivity;
    • acceptance of supervision (accepting and responding to suggestions and corrections);
    • responsibility for materials and work;
    • adherence to workplace standards (employee policies, rules, schedules, etc.);
    • safety standards (understanding and adhering to safety standards);
    • impulse control (predictable behavior, adequate self-control, etc.);
    • stress tolerance;
    • flexibility;
    • persistence (following through on the work task to completion);
    • initiative (working independently);
    • job seeking skills; and
    • the consumer's potential to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services.

 

Test Instruments

All test instruments must be appropriate for use with the DBS target population including appropriate norms, adaptations, and accommodations.

Prior to the initiation of each contract, the vocational evaluator must provide DBS with a written list that:

  • identifies each test instrument to be used in evaluating consumers,
  • describes what each instrument is intended to measure, and
  • cross-references each instrument with the area(s) to be evaluated as outlined in the evaluator's contract.

The emphasis of the vocational evaluation is based on the outcome. Because the scope of each evaluation is governed by the consumer's individual need(s), there are no fixed guidelines regarding the number of days or hours per day required to complete an evaluation. Generally, an evaluation would be expected to take three to five days to gather all of the work characteristics outlined above.

The techniques used to establish and measure consumer work characteristics can generally be categorized as follows.

 

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests include tests that measure the consumer's academic achievement, cognitive abilities, aptitude, personality, vocational interests, sensory/motor skills, and independent living skills and compare the individual's performance with the performance of an appropriate sample population.

 

Psychological Tests

Psychological tests include any battery of tests or psychometric instruments that are administered and interpreted by a licensed psychologist or psychological associate to assess intelligence, aptitude, academic achievement, interests, personality, and level of adjustment.

 

Work Samples

Work samples provide a close simulation of an actual industrial task, business operation, or component of an occupational area.

 

Situational Assessments

A situational assessment is done at multiple work sites within a usual business or industry setting in the community. These community-based assessments provide an opportunity for the consumer to explore their ability to perform a variety of job tasks and help the consumer make informed choices about the type of work environment and job tasks they prefer. The evaluator's observations and the consumer's experiences are then used to determine the kind of job and needed supports that most closely match the consumer's preferences.

 

Vocational Evaluation Reports

Vocational evaluation reports must be submitted in the standard format required by DBS using a DARS2869, Vocational Evaluation Report.

Vocational evaluation reports are due within 15 working days after the evaluation is completed.

Each report must summarize

  1. the cumulative findings of the vocational evaluation; and
  2. the evaluator's outcome-oriented recommendations relating to the consumer's
    • vocational potential,
    • vocational rehabilitation needs, and
    • objective.

The direct service provider (i.e., vocational evaluator or psychologist) must sign the evaluation report.

The provider is not required to submit the DARS2869 if the provider performs a psychological evaluation in conjunction with the vocational evaluation. Reporting for this combination must be submitted using the traditional psychological evaluation format.

 

Cumulative Findings

The evaluator's written report must include:

  1. consumer demographic information,
  2. the reason for referral,
  3. background information (including visual impairment; other medical conditions; psychological, academic and work history; and social/emotional information),
  4. a complete list of all tests administered,
  5. interpretations of all test results (including a summary of strengths and limitations),
  6. the consumer's vocational interests,
  7. behavioral observations, and
  8. the evaluator's recommendations.

 

Outcome-Oriented Recommendations

Each report must include the evaluator's recommendations and must address the following.

  1. A response to each specific referral question.
  2. The consumer's optimal level of employment potential and job readiness.
  3. Specific occupations for the consumer to consider/explore.
  4. Job-related accommodations or adaptations, if needed.
  5. Any additional training or education needed for employment.
  6. Any additional evaluation needs such as medical or psychological evaluations, rehabilitation technology evaluations, etc.
  7. Consideration for supported employment services, if appropriate.
  8. Independent living needs, accommodations, and/or adaptations.
  9. Other vocational rehabilitation needs.

 

Pre-Staffing, Interim Staffing, and Post-Staffing

After the vocational evaluation has been completed, a post-staffing is required for each consumer receiving services. The meeting must include the evaluator, the consumer (and/or their representative if applicable), and the consumer's counselor or case manager.

If needed, pre-staffings and interim staffings may be held.

All staffings must be documented and placed in the consumer's file.

5.4.4 Performance Measures

DBS considers the following questions in measuring provider performance:

  • Did the provider meet the consumer's vocational evaluation needs as requisitioned by the consumer's counselor or case manager?
  • Has the provider met DBS contract specifications?
  • Has the provider performed all contractual services in a professional manner in accordance with the requirements detailed in this manual?
  • If a staff member who provides contract services to DBS consumers was hired during the contract period, did the provider submit a staff information sheet to CPCSC before the new employee provided services to DBS consumers?
  • If a staff member who provides contract services to DBS consumers resigned during the contract period, did the provider inform CPCSC of the staff member's resignation no later than the employee's last day?
  • Were all evaluations conducted with a staff-to-consumer ratio of no more than one to three?
  • Did the provider schedule and provide the evaluation in a timely manner after receipt of the referral?
  • Were the appropriate evaluation tests and instruments used to complete each consumer's vocational evaluation?
  • Was a written vocational evaluation report (a) signed by the direct service provider and (b) submitted within 15 working days after completion of the evaluation?
  • Does each written report include the evaluator's (a) cumulative findings and (b) outcome-oriented recommendation?
  • Was a post-staffing accomplished and documented for each consumer?
  • Has the provider submitted all required consumer statistics worksheets to CPCSC (a) in accordance with the DBS-required schedule and (b) using the electronic format provided by DBS?
  • Has the provider adhered to DBS confidentiality standards?
  • Has the provider submitted all required reports in accordance with DBS specifications or standards?
  • Has the provider submitted fully completed invoices (including required attachments such as travel logs if applicable) no later than 35 calendar days following service completion?