CONSTRUCTION AND VALIDATION OF A WORK READINESS ASSESSMENT SCALE (WRAS) FOR SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN THE TECHNICAL-VOCATIONAL TRACK USING THE RASCH MODEL OF ANALYSIS
The implementation of Senior High School in the K to 12 Curriculum is considered as one of the major reforms in education in the Philippines. There are four exits of this reform by which it hopes to achieve namely: college readiness, work readiness, middle-level skills and entrepreneurship.
With the first graduates of our Senior High School students in 2018, it is expected to assess how the curriculum have achieved its purpose in terms of the four exits. More specifically, it is anticipated how ready the Senior High School graduates are for employment. The Technical-Vocational Livelihood track prepares the students not only in terms of competencies but more so in skills development towards work readiness. In an article in national daily newspapers, the biggest group of industry leaders, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) categorically stated that the first batch of Senior High School graduates are not yet work ready and lack the skills for employment. On the other hand, the Department of Education through Secretary Leonor M. Briones refuted the business sector’s claim by saying that the graduates are prepared for employment.
These claims must be based on proven evidences to be valid. The question is how are these claims substantiated by evidences? How are the graduates measured in terms of their readiness for work? What attributes or characteristics are identified to say that they are work ready and therefore employable? So far, there is no valid tool that is used to measure the work readiness of our Senior High School graduates.
Work readiness is relatively a new concept in the field of industry to measure or predict the potential of a graduate in his/her major field of study. For industry partners, being work ready is indicative of the potential of the graduate in his/her job performance, success in his field of work and abilities and capacities for promotion and advancement in his/her career (Atlay ; Harris,2000; Casner-Lotto ; Barrington, 2006; Gabb, 1997; Gardner ; Liu, 1997; Hambur, Rowe ; Luc, 2002; Hart, 2008; Stewart ; Knowles, 1999, 2000). Caballero and Walker, 2010 defined work readiness as the ability of the graduates to be prepared for success in the work environment due to the attributes and attitudes they possess.