Key Definitions

To get to the definition of a specific term, click on the term in the list below.

Raw Scores

For each of the 34 JVIS Basic Interest Scales there are 17 work-related activities. These are arranged in pairs with activities from different scales. When taking the JVIS, you must choose the activity that sounds most interesting to you from each pair. Your Raw Score for a Basic Interest Scale is simply the number of activities that you preferred on that scale. Raw Scores can range from 0 (you didn't prefer any of that scale's activities) to 17 (you preferred all of that scale's activities). You will have 34 JVIS Raw Scores, one for each Basic Interest Scale.

Raw Scores are an important part of the JVIS. They are made more meaningful when compared to other people's Raw Scores. That's why your JVIS Extended Report also gives your Raw Score as a Percentile score.


High percentile scores are neither good nor bad. You didn't do better on a scale if you had a high percentile scores. It just means that you are probably more interested in that area.

Note: Percentile scores are not a percentage of correct answers. For example, a Percentile score of 75 in the Adventure Interest Scale means that you found Adventure Activities more interesting than 75% of the people in our large Comparison Group.

Average Percentile scores are at the 50th Percentile (approximately half of JVIS respondents score higher and half score lower). As a rule of thumb, Percentile scores lower than the 30th Percentile are interpreted as relatively low and scores at the 70th Percentile and above are interpreted as relatively high.

Work Roles

Work roles are activities performed in jobs related to the scale name. For example, the Law scale uses activities closely related to careers in that area. The same is true for some other JVIS Basic Interest Scales (e.g., Elementary Education, Engineering). The JVIS items for these work role scales are samples of job activities performed by people who work in these occupations.

Other work role scales are more broadly relevant to work roles in a variety of occupations. Examples of these include the Professional Advising and Human Relations Management scales. The activities included on these scales do reflect work roles, but they are not uniquely related to one particular job, or to a set of jobs in one career area. For example, people working in both Occupations in Social Welfare and in Personnel/Human Management tend to have high interest scores on the Human Relations Management work role, though their jobs are different in other ways.

Basic Interest Scales describing Work Roles

  • The Arts:

    • Creative Arts
    • Performing Arts
  • Science and Mathematics:

    • Mathematics
    • Physical Science
    • Engineering
    • Life Science
    • Social Science
  • Practical, Outdoor Activities:

    • Adventure
    • Nature-Agriculture
    • Skilled Trades
  • Service Activities:

    • Personal Service
    • Family Activity
  • Medicine and Health:

    • Medical Service
  • Teaching and Social Welfare Activities:

    • Teaching
    • Social Service
    • Elementary
    • Education
  • Business, Administrative, and Related Activities:

    • Finance
    • Business
    • Office Work
    • Sales
  • Legal, Professional, Persuasive Work Roles:

    • Supervision
    • Human Relations
    • Management
    • Law
  • Literary, Academic:

    • Professional
    • Advising
    • Author Journalism
    • Technical Writing

Work Styles

Work Style preferences do not directly refer to particular job-related activities. They do imply preferences for working in a certain kind of environment, or working in a situation requiring certain types of behavior. For example, Planfulness may be more characteristic of accounting than it is of a less exacting profession. Your Work Style scores indicate the degree to which you would prefer working in a manner implied by the scale name and definition. However, it is very important to recognize that all JVIS scales measure interests, not abilities or capabilities. While this is true of all JVIS scales, the distinction is critically important for Work Style scales. These are often misinterpreted. For example, not everyone capable of Planful behavior prefers to work in an environment that requires Planful behavior. The Work Style scales are not measures of personality traits or characteristics. Three Work Style scales that are commonly misinterpreted are explained below. After those descriptions, the names of all Work Style scales are listed.

Comparison Groups

A Comparison Group is a collection of people that have taken the JVIS before. This special group serves as a standard of comparison to help interpret JVIS results. When your scores are compared to the Comparison group, it will tell you if your interest scores are relatively high, relatively low, or average in each area. For the JVIS, three Comparison Groups that are used:

  • Female - 1750 female respondents
  • Male - 1750 male respondents
  • Combined - 3500 female and male respondents

The people in these Comparison Groups were chosen to be representative of even larger samples of respondents.

The JVIS uses same-sex norms to generate the Similarity to College Students and Similarity to Job Groups scores (i.e. if you are female your scores will be compared to the group of female respondents.) The use of same-sex encourages both females and males to explore nontraditional careers.

On many JVIS Basic Interest Scales females and males respond similarly. However, on some scales they respond very differently. For example, males tend to prefer more activities on the Physical Science scale than do females and therefore tend to have higher Raw Scores in this area. The same raw score will look very different in Percentile terms if the comparison group is men rather than women. Below we show the same raw score (6) and its corresponding percentiles for females and males in separate graphs. When compared to males, her percentile score is relatively low. But when compared to other females, her percentile score is relatively high.

Basic Interest Scales