IBM tool tests ‘Big Data’ students’ preparedness

IBM has, in the past year, increasingly pushed universities to create more courses, programs and degrees that would help fill the 4.4 million jobs “Big Data” will create by 2015.

The tool will measure cognitive ability and verbal reasoning, along with other student traits.

Now, the company is asking: are students in these programs actually prepared?

Only one-third of Big Data job are expected to be filled over the next two years, and IBM unveiled an online tool Nov. 12 to assess whether the current crop of Big Data students are up to the challenge of helping change that.

The tool was announced during a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Big Data event in Washington, D.C.

Called the IBM Analytics Talent Assessment, the tool examines several predictors of success including basic understanding and competencies, as well as less tangible things like assertiveness and “social assuredness.”

The assessment will take the form of an online test, broken into four sections.

The first three will measure cognitive ability, verbal reasoning, and logical reasoning. The fourth section will consist of a series of questions focusing on key competencies. The test will take between 30 and 40 minutes to complete.

Universities with Big Data programs obviously already utilize exams, quizzes, and other forms of assessment, said Jim Spohrer, director of Global University Relations Programs at IBM. IBM’s test isn’t just about what was learned in a specific course, however, Spohrer said.

“What we’ve tried to do with this assessment is create something useful at both a general and higher level,” he said.

Educators can connect on Twitter with the hashtag #eCNBigData. See Page 2 for more details on IBM’s big push for Big Data.

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