Valpar and Methods-Time Measurement (MTM)
Bryan B. Christopherson, Ph.D., Director of Tests and Assessments
Ó Valpar International Corporation
First appeared in Valpar Views and News, Vol 1, Issue 1, December 1995
Valpar emphasizes a criterion-referenced approach to the interpretation of client or evaluee scores on its assessment products. In this approach, client scores are compared to industrial performance standards in order to determine whether the client has the ability to successfully perform in work settings that make demands similar to those of the assessment product.
Valpar compares client scores to two main types of criterion-referenced standards, the U.S. Department of Labor's work-related factor system as described in the Revised Handbook for Analyzing Jobs (DOL, 1991), and Methhods-Time Measurement (MTM) standards. MTM standards may be used in two ways. They may be interpreted directly, and/or they may be used to help determine whether the client has demonstrated the DOL factors at the levels needed for success in specific jobs and occupations.
This note will briefly discuss Valpar's use of MTM, expecially as it is used in the work sample series and the Valpar Dexterity Modules. Readers who need more detailed information may call Valpar, refer to sources cited, or contact the MTM Association for Standards and Research (1411 Peterson Avenue, Park Ridge, IL 60068).
What It Is
MTM is a system of time and motion study developed in 1946 by Maynard, Stegmerten, and Schwab. MTM Analyzes any manual operation or method into the basic motions required to perform it and assigns to each motion a predetermined time standard which is determined by the nature of the motion and the conditions under which it is made (Maynard, Stegemerten, and Schwab, 1948, p.12). MTM has become the most widely used and universally recognized such system in the world (Prabhu and Baker, 1986). It is, in addition, the system most recognized for its consistency and reliability (ibid).
Valpar analyzes the standard exercises of the work samples and dexerity modules according to the conventions of MTM-1, the original and most precise of several current MTM systems. Valpar's MTM analysis of the work samples yields time values that represent the work rate standards that well-trained employees in typical industrial contexts would be expected to maintain over the course of the eight-hour workday as they repeatedly performed the exercises. In essence, therefore, an MTM value is a comfortable but efficient work rate performance standard for competent workers.
The Rate of Work Percent Score is simply the result of dividing the client's time score in seconds into the MTM standard (and moving the decimal point to convert to a percent). For example, if the MTM standard is 500 seconds, and the client performs the task in 700 seconds, the MTM rate of work score is 71%. This means that the client has performed the exercise 71% as quickly as he or she would be expected to perform it if he or she were doing so in a typical industrial setting for pay. Or, if the client performed the exercise in 250 seconds, the rate of work score would be 200%. In that case, the client performed the exercise twice as fast as the industrial standard for the exercise.
If the client can perform a work sample at an acceptable work rate, as measured against the work sample's MTM, it seems reasonable to assume that he or she can probably perform actual work that makes similar demands at a competitive rate of work.
How Fast is Fast Enough?
The issue of how fast is fast enough depends, of course, upon the purpose of the assessment. If, as is often the case, the purpose of the assessment is to help determine whether a client could be expected to competitively perform similar work, Valpar established an 87.5% MTM Rate of Work score as the cutoff point for passing the work sample. Clients who perform the exercises at 87.5% or faster are deemed to have met all of the various Department of Labor factor requirements of the exercises. Why 87.5%? Because, for all its precision, there is much room for error when relating MTM standards of a specific work sample to the many jobs requiring worker trait factors similar to those of the work sample, and the 87.5% cut of point serves to give the benefit of the doubt to borderline performances.
In addition, because MTM represents well-trained work rate standards, there must be some means of accounting for the client's lack of experience on the work sample. Valpar accomplishes this by adjusting MTM standards according to the work sample Learning Curves. Valpar's learning curve approach is the subject of an article for another newsletter, but it will be said here that the approach allows the evaluator to take into account the client's level of experience on the work sample in order to estimate the work rate the client could be expected to achieve after being trained in the tasks. In this approach, the less experience the client has on the work sample exercise, the more time he or she is allowed to perform it.
Again, the next newsletter will contain a short piece on Valpar's use of the learning curve and issues concerning the Worker Qualifications Profiles of the Valpar Component Work Sample Series.
Maynard, H.B., Stegemerten, G.J. & Schwab, J.L. (1948). Methods-time Measurement.
- New York: McGraw-Hill.
Prabhu, V. & Baker, M. (Eds). (1986). Industrial Engineering: Techniques for Improving
- Operations.Long; McGraw-Hill.
United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. (1991).
- Revised Handbook for Analyzing Jobs. Washington, D.C.; U.S. Government Printing Office.