[IPAC-List] How significant is significant enough?
Jason Bowling
jbowling at ssvec.com
Thu Apr 9 12:12:57 EDT 2009
The pre-employment test I am studying is a 25 question, multiple-choice,
math test based on a 6th-grade math proficiency exam administered in the
state.
The apprenticeship program tests are not 100% math. They also test
knowledge of electrical theory, line building practices, high-voltage
approach distances, and other safe work methods. I am looking at the
average of 40 tests administered to apprentices over a 4-year period.
The question I am trying to answer by comparing the two results is, does
the math test predict performance in the apprenticeship program. I
should acknowledge, I do not know if performance in the apprenticeship
program predicts performance on the job... anecdotally, I suspect not so
much. I do know there is a threshold of performance an apprentice must
maintain as a condition of employment.
At minimum, I would like to minimize the likelihood of hiring candidates
who will fail our apprenticeship program while not causing adverse
impact. Without a doubt, safety considerations alone make the ability to
perform some basic calculations a bona fide requirement. Bad math can
and has killed line workers.
-----Original Message-----
From: Lance Seberhagen [mailto:sebe at erols.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 6:10 PM
To: Jason Bowling
Cc: ipac-list at ipacweb.org
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] How significant is significant enough?
What are you trying to predict -- training performance or work
performance? The basic math test from the Apprenticeship entrance exam
correlates .36 with the Apprenticeship final exam, which has a strong
math component. In other words, one math test correlates .36 with
another math test. Thus, the basic math test predicts passing the final
exam, but you don't really know if math skills are actually needed for
performance as an Electrical Lineman (or Line Worker). A content
validation study would be helpful in answering this question.
What is the date of the current job description for Electrical
Lineman? Is there a job analysis report to go with it? Does the job
analysis comply with the Uniform Guidelines? You probably need to
conduct a new job analysis (including the apprenticeship program) to get
a clear understanding of what math skills, as well as other KSAs, are
needed for the job of Electrical Lineman. If the job analysis shows
that math skills are needed, the next step would be to have job experts
evaluate the relevance of math test items on the entrance exam and final
exam, as well as to obtain suggestions for improving the relevance of
the math questions on both exams. Does the entrance exam consist only
of a basic math test? If so, you might want to consider adding other
tests to the entrance exam (e.g., reading, teamwork, safety), based on
the results of the job analysis.
Lance Seberhagen, Ph.D.
Seberhagen & Associates
9021 Trailridge Ct
Vienna, VA 22182
Tel 703-790-0796
www.seberhagen.com
Jason Bowling wrote:
>Hi all,
>
>
>
>I recently joined this list-serv and greatly enjoyed the conversations
>thus far.
>
>
>
>So, I have a question and would appreciate any thoughts.
>
>
>
>I am considering administering a test of basic math skills to
candidates
>for apprentice electrical lineman. Actually, prior to my starting with
>the company, a math test was SOP for candidates to these jobs, but no
>one ever asked if the test was a valid predictor. Furthermore, the
>weight placed on test results was always ambiguous. We seemed to be
>taking a pragmatic approach to our employment processes... that is, it
>always seemed to work in the past.
>
>
>
>Our apprenticeship does include testing components, and math does play
a
>large role in those tests. Furthermore, the job description does
>describe math skills to be an essential competency, and we have had to
>let apprentices go for failing these apprenticeship tests.
>
>
>
>So, I gave the test to our current apprentices and recent graduates
>(N=30), and compared their test results to their average apprenticeship
>test results (r=.36, and p=.02). The correlation seems weak to me, but
I
>have no basis of comparison.
>
>
>
>I could probably get more subjects to bolster the significance, but
>again, I'm not sure at what point I should feel satisfied.
>
>
>
>Any help?
>
>
>
>Thanking you I am,
>
>
>
>
>
>Jason Bowling, PHR
>
>Human Resources Manager
>
>S.S.V.E.C
>
>Ofc: 520.515.3480
>
>Cel: 520.220.6563
>
>
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