Aptitude Tests at an Electronic Corporation Do you see any problems...


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There are many problems with the way the company's testing program is being managed. Firstly, this electronics plant in Midland, Ontario uses invalid aptitude tests for their selection process. By definition, aptitude tests measure a person's capacity to learn or acquire skills. Clearly, these new employees see no relationship between the aptitude tests and their jobs. Employees see that these tests do not measure their ability to learn or obtain skills. For instance, one test shows applicants had to move small metal pegs from holes on one side of a board to holes on the other side with their hands as fast as they could. After all, this aptitude test can possibly test the person's speed or productivity, but it has no correlation within the job field. In fact, this aptitude test is more of a competition than measuring skills. That is to say, employees are not learning any skills from it; but rather, they are using it to race with each other. In another test, employees were shown pictures of two cows. They had to decide which cow would be easier to see from an airplane: the white or spotted cow. Obviously, it will be difficult to see a cow from an airplane. In fact, this aptitude test cannot be answered because it depends on how far one is from the ground to see the cow. This test is vague and there is no correlation between the working fields again. Moreover, 80 percent of employees failed this cow test in one testing session. They probably had no sense of guidance or instruction for this aptitude test from the manager.

Taken together, then, both of these aptitude tests should be tested for validity. They clearly lack validity because people with little working experience are passing these aptitude tests. Specifically, more instructions and guidance should be provided for a clear understanding. On the other hand, failing these tests can affect the motivational state of workers, thus, affecting their self-esteem and confidence. That is to say, workers may have become discouraged and potentially not have the confidence to strive for new jobs. In a sense, fairness was also being diminished by the aptitude tests; there was inequity arising from these aptitude tests. Moreover, if the employees failed these tests, they felt rejected from higher-paying and more desirable jobs. Employees cannot further advance their skills and abilities due to the failure of these aptitude tests while other employees with little working experience can continue getting a demanding job and higher pay. This aptitude test prevents newly hired employees from developing their career. Furthermore, experienced workers are being laid off by new hires for less pay. Where do the experienced workers go for a job? Are new hires satisfied being paid less pay? Certainly, inequity is being portrayed. It is important to note these aptitude tests represent the multiple hurdle model, which shows the employees with highest test scores go on to the next level, thereby establishing inequity. Whoever moves the pegs fastest from holes on one side of a board to holes on the other side will proceed to the next level of the job. What happens to the other employees? In addition, these aptitude tests did lack criterion related validity. Employees did not have the vital information to do their job. Criterion related validity must contain vital information related to the job, the cow or moving pegs test did not. As well, it should have content validity, which shows that the aptitude tests, mainly questions should substantially have the significant job elements. Content validity measures an employee's job knowledge. It is based on the job description of the job. Content validity should be displayed in the test and the questions in order to deal with important job elements. Lastly, the reason for aptitude tests is to discriminate against people. As you know, employees in this electronics plant are being discriminated. There discrimination is being carried out among educated and non-educated employees. More specifically, the aptitude tests were to discriminate older workers with less formal education. Older workers would have probably failed these aptitude tests due to lacking knowledge and skills, while someone who had post-secondary education had a higher chance in being successful for the aptitude test. However, the newly hired workers end up getting the experienced workers jobs because they can probably work overtime, on holidays, work 40 hour a week and can work for less pay which was represented in this electronics company. These new hires are often referred to as "blue collar workers." In the case of this electronics company, the older people were being replaced in that while they had the experience, they failed the tests. Furthermore, these aptitude tests should be replaced by a feasible solution.

Suggest how the program might be modified.

This program can be modified in many ways. Modifying the selection process would be a start. Simply modifying the aptitude test questions would be beneficial for this electronic company as it would clarify the confusion faced by new employees. The aptitude tests must have content validity. Content validity shows to prove a test measures what it is supposed to measure. The test with the question ought to deal with the job duties and description. For example, "how to build an electronic circuit?" may have shown content validity because it is related to the electronic field. Clearly, the cow test had no relationship with the job; certainly it must have been humiliating for the employees. This test should have included content validity, which means that the test and the questions deal with imperative job essentials. Ideally, this aptitude test should have been related to electronics. With manual dexterity, these employees should have been given the opportunity to work with electronics or building electronics with their hands. Moving small metal pegs from holes on one side of a board to holes on the other side is not a viable test because it is not related to the field of the job once again. Clearly, content validity should be used for these aptitude tests. In addition, each aptitude test should include criterion-related validity, which will guide employees during the test. Each aptitude test should contain information essential to the job. Criterion-related validity helps measure the capacity of job knowledge. The questions will help determine if the employee can do the job properly or improperly. It will also determine if this employee has the experience to perform the task in the electronics field. Another way to modify this selection process is using achievement tests. Although, achievement tests measures what a person can do now, using them will also help the manager decide to hire the best employees. Employees with little plant experience will be possibly being eliminated from this electronics company due to the results of the achievement test. The best employees will be the most productive, when taking achievement tests. Perhaps another solution, managers can use cognitive ability tests which measures mental capabilities including general intelligence, verbal fluency and other abilities. Surely, this can increase the validity of this test. This test will help the manager to determine if the new employee has the potential to answer job-related problems by using their general intelligence. It also predicts the employee's job performance. Of course, these aptitude tests should be modified to avoid discrimination. A set of aptitude tests should have been set aside for older workers since they lacked formal education. Perhaps, instead, offering the older workers a physical ability test which is becoming popular in today's workforce. These tests must be modified to the circumstance of men and women with regards to measuring their physical capabilities, which includes coordination, manual dexterity, and equilibrium. The older workers in this company were the experienced workers, so they lacked the formal education but had the experience. So, developing something to build or perform with manual dexterity with relation to electronics would have been a solution for the older employees. Finally, work samples will help managers know if employees can perform the task which is related to the work. For example, building an electronic or fixing an electronic. This type of test certainly does display content validity. It shows equity and can be acceptable to all employees. Moreover, it also determines if employee can perform the job correctly. Work sample tests help newly hired employees know what to expect in this job when hired. In conclusion, managers need to ensure these selection procedures along with these employments tests are appropriately validated for the job positions.

The union is fighting to eliminate the testing. On what grounds could the union base its arguments?

Certainly, the union should argue to eliminate the testing. This would be based, among others, on the fact that the design of these aptitude tests was inadequate and lacked validity. Newly hired employees looking for a job are failing these tests. 80 percent of employees failed the cow test in one testing session. Very few with little plant experience are passing these aptitude tests. Is it reliable for a company to hire employees with little plant experience? Certainly, there is some danger to the company. Do these tests measure the employee's capacity to learn or acquire skills? No, none of these aptitude tests talk or relate to electronics. Obviously, there is no correlation between these aptitude tests and the job field. Two of these aptitude tests already had no relation with electronics, the cow and moving pegs tests which caused uncertainty among employees. These aptitude tests seem to test the employees' problem-solving and flexible-thinking skills but lack the knowledge and skills related to the electronics field. Clearly, there is no benefit for the employees in doing these tests because it will not help them with their career. These aptitudes tests appear random and indistinct. There may be more than one answer to a question in these tests. In addition, the union should argue to eliminate the testing because it affects the motivational state of employees and brings about discouragement. New employees may feel depressed after failing the tests. Possibly, the union should argue/ask: why are employees with little plant experience and less seniority passing the aptitude tests and why can't a newly hired employee who has decent education and experience pass the test? Undoubtedly, employees have the skills and knowledge for the opening position, but probably not for these aptitude tests. How do these newly hired employees prepare for them? It is impossible because the questions are random on these tests. The managers of this company are not following the job descriptions which evaluate the job knowledge and skills needed for a position. Make the aptitude test clear as possibly by following strict guidelines towards job description and the job requirements of the hiring position. As managers, it is their obligation to make newly hired employees comfortable when writing the tests and there should be "no surprises". Also, the union should fight to eliminate the testing because there is lack of equity. New hires are working for less pay which would certainly affect their motivational state. Why should the experienced workers be laid off? They are the ones with experience and have the knowledge and skills to perform the duty while a newly hired employee may need some training and guidance when hired. Surely, these tests are being discriminatory to the older people because they lack the knowledge of these tests and have less formal education. These older employees can react disappointingly to the tests when failing them and can challenge the test against the company. Lastly, 12 hour rotating shifts introduced with the tests can be hard for employees. Employees will be tired and exhausted working 12 hour shifts which will cause lower productivity for the company hence, losing sales. Clearly, the union has many grounds on which it could fight to eliminate the testing.

If an employee files a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the grounds that the test discriminated against him as an older worker, what kinds of information will have to be gathered to determine the validity of his claim?

Every single employee has a right to equivalent treatment with regards to employment and based on age, sex, and race. At this electronics company, older workers are being discriminated because they lack formal education, therefore possibly being laid off. Why are young people -who have not graduated from high school - starting manual labour with little plant experience and are being paid huge paycheques? Clearly, there is an inequity battle between the young and old being portrayed. What is the difference between the young workers and the older workers? The older workers have the experience since they worked for this company for a long time and have the morale. Also, there is discrimination based upon the age of the employee. An employee possibly age fifty- sixty can file a claim because the manager might have said this employee might have been too elderly to work for this company. Age plays a huge factor in discrimination. Today, many companies want to hire young people because they know they will be productive and efficient at their work. As a result, there are higher chances for an older employee to be laid off. This electronics company possibly has a limit for an age to work, which is a form of discrimination. In addition, these tests do not meet the expectations or needs of the older people. If an older worker has to move pegs from one side of the board to another as fast as they can, they might not have the energy to move the pegs as fast. It can be strenuous work. This lacks content validity because the job description perhaps did not contain information about moving pegs or spotting cows from airplanes. Older people in this electronics company should do all eight aptitude tests and compare the scores with their age. Overall, if these test scores are low and many people failed. Then, they did not fit the older people and they can file a complaint towards the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). It will be unlawful for an older employee who possibly had vision problem or arthritis in their fingers to attempt these aptitude tests. Clearly, these aptitude tests will not be a solution for older people with disabilities. It is up to the employee to know if his or her rights are being violated and take action by filing a claim to the OHRC. If an older employee has the compulsory skills to execute to the duty or task for the required position, certainly they should have a chance for employment.

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