The History of Basic Interest Scales (BISs)

Basic Interest Scales (BIS)

As a review, the SuperStrong® assessment derives from the original Strong Interest Inventory® assessment. It is important to understand the background of the different scales of the Strong assessment to fully comprehend the SuperStrong history. 

As shown below, the Strong assessment consists of four major components. Three of those components are structured as a hierarchy. We covered the broadest scales, the General Occupational Themes (GOT), consisting of the six RIASEC codes (Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional) in a blog post a few weeks ago. This week we are going to cover the more detailed categories of the GOTs, the Basic Interest Scales.                                       

The Basic Interest Scales can be described as more detailed categories of the GOTs. There are 30 different basic interest scales, each associated with one General Occupational Theme or one of the RIASEC codes. For example, Mechanics and Construction relate to Realistic, whereas Finance and Investing relate to Conventional. 


The Basic Interest Scales derived from the limitations of the Occupational Scales. The occupational scales were constructed by having individuals, grouped by high interest in their jobs, complete the assessment. Due to the number of people in each job required to create scales, the data collection is resource-intensive. These constraints lead the original Strong assessment to include 130 jobs of the 1,100 jobs in O*NET. What about jobs that aren’t listed? Jobs that aren’t measured could be identified through a highly trained counselor or expert who could extrapolate the results. Basic Interest Scales helped group jobs together to make connections easier to find. 

  • 1961- Kenneth E. Clark published a paper that combined two types of scales, making it easier and more useful for interpretation. Clark combined the empirical scales (now Occupation Scales) and a smaller number of more general scales. 
    • Each of these general scales measured one type of activity or closely related activities, which he called the homogenous content scales.
  • 1965- Clark and David Campbell implemented this homogenous scale for the Minnesota Vocational Interest Inventory profile.
  • 1968- Campbell replicated their work by creating the Basic Interest Scales for the Strong Interest Inventory.
    • This was the second set of scales to the Strong assessment. 
  • 2004- The last update of the Basic Interest Scales.

Basic Interest Scales Today

The current Strong assessment includes 30 Basic Interest Scales. Each basic interest scale can be seen as a subcategory of a General Occupational Theme, and each scale is related to one GOT. Below is a table that shows the number of Basic Interest Scales in each General Occupational Theme. 

General Occupational Theme Number of Basic Interest Scales
Realistic 6
Investigative 4
Artistic 4
Social 6
Enterprising 6
Conventional 4

Diving further, here are the Basic Interest Scales associated with each GOT: 

General Occupational Theme Related Basic Interest Scales
  • Mechanics and Construction
  • Computer Hardware and Electronics
  • Military
  • Protective Services
  • Nature and Agriculture
  • Athletics
  • Science
  • Research
  • Medical Science
  • Mathematics
  • Visual Arts and Design
  • Performing Arts
  • Writing and Mass Communication
  • Culinary Arts
  • Counseling and Helping
  • Teaching and Education
  • Human Resource and Training
  • Social Sciences
  • Religion and Spirituality
  • Healthcare and Services
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Sales
  • Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Politics and Public Speaking
  • Law
  • Office Management
  • Taxes and Accounting
  • Programming and Information Systems
  • Finances and Investing

In our next post, we will cover the history of the Occupational Scales. 

The History of Basic Interest Scales (BISs)

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