Thursday, April 04, 2013

Plastics Company finding a lack of math skills in job applicants

A news article from a few days ago highlighted the lack of math skills in applicants to a plastics manufacturing company. Apparently on 10% of the people pass the test even though it is aimed at high school level graduates. You can read the original article here (Portland Press Herald) or here (Physorg) or any of a number of other places (the article is always the same). What I find far more interesting is the reaction of a small set of people to the news.

The author of a Mother Jones commentary is very critical of the employer not paying enough and therefore not getting suitable applicants. There are no data to support his wild speculation. I know this is Mother Jones so I'm not overly surprised that most of the commenters to the article echo those thoughts but this much is clear about the original author: he has not been involved in hiring anybody lately as he would know all too well that ALL positions get a huge number of over qualified candidates, regardless of pay.

My personal opinion is that if they can fill their employment positions with only 10% of the candidates passing the test, what is the problem? Since a copy of the test is not available for public perusal, we have to blindly assume that the test is actually at high school level. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Until we know, we really can't comment. (But that is using logic taught at a college level.)

1 comment:

Salomon T. said...

"It's really been rote memorization," said Dave Yanofsky, director of media and youth development at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career. --Portland Press Herald

How do you fix math problems if you try to address them by encouraging collaboration. Yanofsky complains about rote memorization but that is at least one thing needed to convert from inches to feet, or calculate the density of foam.