Cognitive Ability Scores Show Steady Decline

Please consider the attached press release from Wonderlic, Inc. which revealed a steady decline in the cognitive ability scores associated with specific education levels.

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While remaining in school has obvious personal and societal benefits, it also impacts the relative meaning of a high school and college degree for employers.

Libertyville, IL (PRWEB) November 27, 2007

A study released by Wonderlic, Inc. reveals a steady decline in the cognitive ability scores associated with specific education levels. This recent analysis compared a decade of occupational norms from a sample of over 200 employers, 2,000 jobs, and 100,000 applicants to comparable occupational datasets from previous normative studies.

Using the Wonderlic Personnel Test (WPT), the results shows a steady decline in the average scores for both college and high school graduates between 1970 and 2005. The WPT measures cognitive ability, which has been proven to be a critical predictor of learning speed and success on the job.

"The explanation for this downward trend in cognitive ability by level of education is that more people with modest ability are remaining in school and graduating," said Michael Callans, President of Wonderlic Consulting. "While remaining in school has obvious personal and societal benefits, it also impacts the relative meaning of a high school and college degree for employers."

The study suggests that because the ability level of the average high school graduate has changed over time, finding job candidates with the same level of ability as 1970 high school graduates requires employers seek out applicants with two or more years of college training. In other words, while the study does not suggest that the cognitive ability level of ALL high school graduates has declined, it does indicate that the value of the high school diploma as a predictor of job success has greatly diminished. Employers must use supplemental, objective evaluations, such as standardized tests, to assess job applicants’ skills and abilities.

Most importantly, employers should not assume that applicants with a specific degree possess the cognitive, mathematical or language abilities necessary to be successful on the job. Job seekers generally apply to positions compatible with their academic qualifications. However, in recent years, lower ability graduates are applying to positions that demand higher abilities to perform. As a result, there has been a modest decline in the average cognitive ability scores of job applicants for higher complexity jobs.

The Wonderlic study also shows that, on average, job applicants are nearly seven years older and have a full year more of education than they did in 1970. The explanation for this increase is twofold: first, the number of people pursuing higher education has increased dramatically, and second, a decline in job stability has increased the number of experienced job applicants on the market.

Wonderlic, Inc. is the leading provider of on-demand employee recruiting and selection solutions that enable employers to optimize their ability to hire, place, manage and retain talent. Since 1937, Wonderlic has over 20,000 clients across more than 60 industries with solutions to help pre-qualify over 150 million job candidates. The Wonderlic client base includes organizations such as Ameritas, Combined Insurance, Dentsply, Factory Card Outlet, the NFL, Randstad and TruGreen.

For more information, please contact:
William Geheren
Wonderlic, Inc.
800.323.3742
William.Geheren @ Wonderlic.com

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Contact

  • William Geheren
    Wonderlic
    800-323-3742
    Email