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Your Boss Probably Wouldn't Pass Yale's Emotional Intelligence Assessment

Vivian Giang
doctor women thinking working

h.eskew@sbcglobal.net via flickr

Yale School of Management is testing its current  incoming class for emotional intelligence to  determine  whether traits like empathy and the ability to read people  can predict future success.

Do the tests work?

We may not know for a few years, but, according to the researchers of t he Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test ( MSCEIT), your boss may not pass the test.David Caruso, special assistant to the Dean at Yale College and co-creator of the online assessment test, tells us that managers and leaders who take the test typically don't score very well and are actually surprised that they don't have it all.

Yale School of Management is part of a trend catching on in business schools — Notre Dame and Dartmouth are also administering their own tests — to test prospective students for emotional intelligence, but Yale's 141-item test was created by its own researchers. The MSCEIT is  offered on a voluntary basis and won't be a factor in the school's highly selective application process right now, but it's uncertain what the school will do with the results in the future.

Before Yale can determine whether the test can help them enhance the admissions process, the results first have to prove that it can predict certain outcomes. For now, Yale's School of Management and School of Medicine are allowing applicants the option to take the test, then they will study the results in a few years to determine whether using the applicant's emotional intelligence quotient would have "led to different results, predicted problems, or predicted unusual achievement."

The idea is that successful leaders and managers should be able to understand how others around them are feeling and make changes to their leadership style to efficiently achieve the end goal. This requires an ability to read people, accurately understand and manage emotions, communicate effectively, and adapt quickly to other cultures. And inevitably, schools are ranked based on how well their students perform after graduation, therefore, a deeper understanding on whether certain emotional traits have an effect on future success may play a bigger role in the application process in the near future.

There are three ways to measure emotional intelligence: Self-Report, which is where you ask a person questions about how they view themselves; Other-report (360), which is where you ask observers to evaluate what they think of a target person, such as their boss; and ability, which is where you ask a person to solve emotional problems to test their actual level of skill.

The  MSCEIT is an ability test. Below are some sample questions:

Example 1: What emotions are expressed in this face?  (This counts as two items because even though there is one face, two different questions are asked about it).


Yale University

Example 2:


Yale University

So what happens if an applicant has exceptional test scores and impressive work experience, yet scores low  on an EQ assessment?

Caruso doesn't recommend that schools use the assessment for "high stakes admissions testing," but rather,  incorporate the measure within the education the school offers.

"We strongly believe that business schools should teach these skills, help students acquire emotion regulation strategies and teach them how to better read people," the researcher tells us. "These are becoming increasingly more important skills and traditional curricula still ignores them."

Researchers say understanding your own emotional intelligence skills can reveal new information about yourself, so that you can effectively develop these much-needed skills before entering the business and work world.

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