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What to Expect When You Meet With a Vocational Expert

As an expert witness retained to determine an individual’s earning capacity, a Vocational Expert will prepare a report based upon a foundation of scientific principles relevant to vocational standards. These standards include; an analysis of the documentation listed, test selection, administration, and an analysis of test findings. A review and application of vocational literature will be conducted and an “expert” opinion consistent with and based upon the combination and analysis of the information collected will be generated.


The Vocational Expert will apply methodology that is commonplace in the field and that has been peer reviewed, using sources that are commonly relied upon by Vocational Experts, career, and rehabilitation professionals. This methodology includes the following steps:

  1. Collecting data and facts specific to the person being evaluated;

  2. Synthesizing information and data provided and obtained with an emphasis on employability;

  3. Identifying problems by applying units of measure, factors and criteria found in the literature, vocational and medical source documents and other material as cited in the text;

  4. Determining probable reasonable consequences of problems identified as well as examples of jobs if any, the person being assessed can perform; and,

  5. Formulating vocational expert opinions.

The following tests will commonly be utilized by a Vocational Expert:

  • The Academic Achievement Battery (AAB) measures basic academic skills including letter and word reading, and mathematical calculation.

  • The Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence-2 (WASI-2) is an I.Q. assessment and includes scales measuring memory and abstract reasoning amongst other skills. The test provides a full scale intellectual score.

  • The Career Ability Placement Survey (CAPS) is an individually administered test with 8 parts. Each part is timed. Each part measures a different aptitude and is scored in stanines. Stanines are a nine-point standard scale. The raw scores are transformed into a stanine from one to nine so comparisons between the different aptitudes can be compared without distortion. The 8 parts include: Mechanical Reasoning (MR), Spatial Reasoning (SR), Verbal Reasoning (VR), Numerical Ability (NA), language Usage (LU), Word knowledge (WK), Perceptual Speed and Accuracy (PSA), and Mechanical Speed and Dexterity (MSD).

  • The Validity Indicator Profile (VIP) is used to determine if the individual being assessed is compliant with test instructions and if he/she tried his best. A person's test performance is found to be valid or invalid by an analysis of Primary Validity Indicators. The Primary Validity Indicators are: Consistency Ratio, Conformity Index, Individual Consistency Index, Score by Correlation, Slope by Consistency Ratio, and Curvature.

Understanding how a vocational assessment will be conducted is an important first step in determine whether to retain and use this type of expert witness as part of divorce litigation.

When you need a skilled and experienced family law lawyer to assist you in working with a Vocational Expert, call Christopher M. Alexander at (513) 228 – 1100, mobile (513) 226 – 8489, or online at Chris@awklegal.com.

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