Lack of basic understanding heralds age of unreason

Verbal
and numerical reasoning skills among the young are in decline despite the
record numbers of A-level passes.

Data
released today by psychometric assessment specialist SHL, shows that, despite
more children gaining top grades at A-Level and going on to university, the
average scores on tests designed to assess the ability of candidates to deal
with verbal and numerical information has declined.

The
data has been gathered from more than 20,000 applicants for managerial and
graduate jobs over the past eight years.

John
Bateson, chief executive officer at SHL Group, said: "Whatever your views
on the comparative difficulty of A-Levels, our research shows that among those
applying for typical graduate jobs the standard of numerical and verbal
reasoning is declining.

"With
more and more job applicants having virtually identical academic records,
including high-grade A-levels and 2.1 degree passes, employers are finding it
very difficult to spot the real high achievers who will add value to their
organisations," he said.

This
morning, CBI director general Digby Jones said there were too many young people
who cannot read or write and do not understand the business world they are
about to go into.

"That
is where the education system is really letting down young people,” Jones said.

www.shl.com

By Quentin Reade

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