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Job Observation and Behavior Scale: A Supported Employment Assessment Instrument

Job Observation and Behavior Scale: A Supported Employment Assessment Instrument
Michael P. Brady and Howard Rosenberg
Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 2002, 37(4), 427 - 433.


As the benefits of supported employment are extended to increased numbers of people with disabilities and other employment challenges, the need for objective employee performance evaluations has become obvious. The Job Observation and Behavior Scale (JOBS) is one such assessment instrument that is sensitive to both the work performance and support needs of people who participate in supported employment. In this paper, the authors present the role of JOBS in promoting objective employee performance evaluations, and summarizes the technical properties of the instrument.

The Job Observation and Behavior Scale (JOBS) is a work performance evaluation sensitive to the needs of entry-level workers and workers who require support (Rosenberg & Brady, 2001). The authors developed JOBS in order to meet the critical need for an employment instrument which is standardized, based upon realistic supported employment practices and expectations. It is intended for employers, job coaches, educators, and rehabilitation professionals who are involved in the evaluation, training, and placement of secondary students and adults with special employment needs into the competitive workforce. JOBS's standardization permits professionals a) to evaluate the quality of workers' job performance, b) to assess their need for supports, and c) to compare the quality of their performance to workers not receiving supports who perform the same competitive jobs.

The Job Observation and Behavior Scale is composed of three subscales. Work-Required Daily Living Activities (DLA) (13 items), summarizes the self care and personal behavior expectations within a competitive work environment, Work-Required Behavior (BEH) (8 items) represents the interpersonal and social skills needed for employment, and Work-Required Job Duties (JD) (9 items) characterize the actual job task functions common to entry level jobs. Cumulatively, the 30 JOBS items represent the most critical patterns of behavior needed for obtaining, maintaining and developing employment opportunities.

JOBs items were developed using a two-step process. First, the vocational and rehabilitation literature was reviewed for the work adjustment indicators that appeared most frequently, or were found to be more important, in employability studies. Next, job coaches, employers, supervisors, rehabilitation counselors, special education teachers, vocational education teachers, and support coordinators reviewed these indicators for their appropriateness as test items, and added or deleted items based on their professional judgment. This process resulted in a pool of 30 items that was submitted to a Q-sort technique. The resulting three subscales represented the clusters perceived as most closely related to one another.

The Job Observation and Behavior Scale is an instrument. JOBS has the potential to help educators, employment professionals, and employers to base their decisions on objective data involving the quality of a worker's performance, given the nature of support provided on the job. Future studies will determine the applicability of JOBS to wider populations of employees who need supports, and the utility of JOBS for a broad array of employment decisions.


Rosenberg, H. & Brady, M. P. (2001). JOBS: Job Observation and Behavior Scale: A work performance evaluation for supported and entry level employees. Wood Dale, IL: Stoelting Co.


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