I was too lazy last week to write about the Wall Street Journal article on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, which appears to be a general ability test whose intent is to be given to college seniors, or anyone else who wants to take it, and can be used by employers to hire employees.
This is the best news I read last week, because it will help break the monopoly of elite colleges and eliteness in general. It will allow a prole graduate from some cheap state school to prove that he’s smarter than the average Harvard Graduate; that is if he really is smarter than the average Harvard Graduate. As you know, Havard doen’t pick the students with the highest SAT scores but rather the students with the best CV of eliteness, including leadership activities in sports, extra-curriculars and summer enrichment.
I’ve previously explained that a straining of comments at certain types of conservative blogs insisting that Griggs v. Duke Power Company prevents companies from using objective tests to hire white-collar employees is wrong, and this Wall Street Journal article proves it. (The real holding of Griggs is that you can’t use objective test, or even a high school diploma, to hire blue-collar employees.)
The article tells us the following:
“Employers such as General Mills Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. long have used their own job-applicant assessments.”
“At Teach for America, which recruits college students to teach in rural and urban school districts, the GPA is one of just dozens of things used to winnow nearly 60,000 applicants for 5,900 positions. Candidates who make it to the second step of the process are given an in-house exam that assesses higher-order thinking, said Sean Waldheim, vice president of admissions at the group. ‘We’ve found that our own problem-solving activities work best to measure the skills we’re looking for,’ he said.”
“Educational Testing Service was surprised to learn through a survey last spring that more than a quarter of businesses were using the GRE to evaluate job applicants, said David Payne, an ETS vice president.”
I haven’t heard of any of the above companies being subject to lawsuits because they’ve been using tests to evaluate employment candidates. It’s culture, and the lack of an easily obtainable validated test score, that prevents companies from using objective and unbiased tests to make hiring decisions. Thus the Collegiate Learning Assessment could make a huge impact in shifting corporate culture and thereby reducing the power of elite universities.