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AVA History

The Activity Vector Analysis (AVA), a free-response assessment, was initially developed by Walter V. Clarke, PhD a pioneering behavioral psychologist in 1942 . The AVA system became fully operational in 1948. In the succeeding years this assessment instrument has undergone several revisions. The AVA current assessment is Form F. Clarke's initial assessment was Form A.

Ongoing revisions update the AVA's adjective check list as the popular meaning of adjectives change over time. Two come to mind - "discriminating" and "gay". Both had a different popular meaning in 1948 as in 2011. These revisions also changed some of the vectoring formulas and added new measurements as a result of validity studies.

The AVA is built on Clarke's in-depth research as well as the theories and development of such by a number of prominent psychologists. Most notable were Prescott Lecky, PhD, William Marston, PhD, Raymond B. Cattell, PhD, Thomas N. Jenkins, Kermit Hasler, Peter Merenda, PhD, Dennis C. Sweeney, PhD and Lewis Goldberg, PhD - all experts in the behavioral sciences of personality, motivation, and psychometrics.

Clarke's personality theory was developed from the psychological writings and foundations established by Marston and Lecky. As a graduate student at Columbia University (1929-1930), Clarke studied under Marston who had developed a four-factor model of emotions: Dominance, Compliance, Submission, and Inducement. Based on these, Clarke later developed a four-factor model: Assertiveness, Sociability, Tranquility, and Tractability - the framework of today's AVA. Based on the model, the assessment measures the individual's "self concept", the behavior the individual is projecting to be successful in the current role and the expected behaviors of the individual based on the environmental conditions that surround the individual. The assessment also measures the individual's energy level (stamina) and level of conscious restraint.

The AVA system also provides measurement of the behavioral demands of specific positions in the workplace. This allows comparison of the behavioral tendencies of an individual to the behavioral demands of a specific position.

Since the AVA has been and continues to be widely used as a human resources tool, primarily used in the business community, ongoing research continues into evaluating the assessment, and future directions for AVA theory and assessment. Special emphasis is placed on a review and summary of the validity of this instrument. back to top

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