The empirical validity of an assessment battery for apprentice electrician students
Van Stelten, Margaretha Aletta
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Selection and selection procedures play a key role in the ability of organisations to compete successfully in the complex global and local environment. South Africa is experiencing a serious artisinal and technical skill shortage. Given the unemployment issues and the quest for people to fill the skill shortage gap it is important for organizations to find possible solutions to ensure that they stay competitive and effective in the labour market. Research suggests that at least 12 500 artisans need to be produced each year from 2006 to 2010 to meet the demand for skilled workers. To address above mentioned challenge organizations have to develop strategies to assist them to select individuals with the best chance to succeed in training. Unfortunately, the solution is not simple as organisations have a multitude of influences and pressures which affect their decisions regarding selection procedures. Selection of individuals is becoming an increasingly complex science as organisations have to select a capable and representative workforce. They must thus select candidates that are most likely to benefit from what is offered educationally, meet the requirements stipulated in South Africa's Labour legislation, and will perform most successfully in the specific trade. Bad practice can lead to costly litigation. The objectives of this mini-dissertation were to assess the empirical validity of the Technical Test Battery (TTB), as ability test and the Learning Potential Computerised Adaptive Test (LPCAT) as learning potential test as predictors of academic success of first year apprentice electrician students at a South African technical college serving a mining community. The study explored the current local employment issues that affect selection for training in the technical fields. The difference between the measurement of cognitive ability and learning potential were examined and the nature of the constructs of cognitive ability and that of learning potential were discussed. In the empirical study one of the objectives was to determine whether there was a relationship between the TTB and the LPCAT as two different predictors of the academic success of first yar apprentice electrician students. The difference in the empirical (predictive) validity of the two psychometric selection instruments, if only one of the tests as opposed to if both were used in combination, were examined. Another objective was to determine if there were any differences regarding the scores on the TTB and LPCAT of students from the designated group as opposed to that of students from non-designated groups. Finally this study explored whether the TTB and LPCAT were valid predictors to be used as selection instruments for apprentice electrician students in the South African context The research method consisted of a literature review and an empirical study. The empirical validity of the two predictor tests was validated in terms of the accuracy with which the selection instruments predicted the students' future performance. This research can be categorized as descriptive quantitative research. The TTB and LPCAT scores of a sample of 89 selected apprentice electricians were compared with the number of attempts they used to pass a phase test. Data was analysed by means of descriptive statistics. Pearsons Product Moment Correlation Coefficient, t-tests, ANOVAs as well as discriminant analysis were also used to reach the research objective. Statistically significant relationships were found between the predictor and criterion variables. The results confirm that the TTB and LPCAT are indeed empirical valid tests that can be used in the selection of apprentice electricians.