I just have one anecdote to offer — several years ago I interviewed applicants for a lower level management position in my sales/marketing department. I devised a short, 1o question math quiz for HR to administer to applicants. All of the questions were grade-school level math — the most complicated math was computing a percentage. There were no trick questions. I almost hesitated to require the quiz because it was so basic it could be considered insulting. Yet I’d had issues with staff people not being able to do any level of math without a calculator, so I thought it was worthwhile to test for.
Of 8 applicants who take the quiz, only one got all the questions correct. All of these applicants were college graduates, except for the one internal candidate who had only a HS diploma (who was basically getting a “courtesy” interview. The only one to get a perfect 10 on the quiz was the HS graduate internal candidate. She hadn’t even been in the running for the job, but her performance on the test put her in the running, and her interview clinched the deal.
Obviously, when it comes to math skills, our failure is in K-12 education. The college trained applicants for the job had probably not picked up any math skills in college, and apparently they didn’t pick up much in their K-12 years either.]]>