Looking forward to t he ACT WorkKeys Assessment test
As a new school semester is just around the corner, seniors throughout the district will soon take the ACT WorkKeys Assessment. WorkKeys is an employability test which measures real world skills that employers believe are critical to job success. The test is offered free for high school seniors across North Carolina with a Career and Technical Education concentration. However, in the Public Schools of Robeson County, funding is available for all seniors to take the test for free. The Public Schools of Robeson County administrators considered the test to be so crucial for employment, money was set aside for those students that the state will not cover.
The WorkKeys Assessment is less than a decade old, but has gained national attention by employers across the country. The test is a tiered assessment. There are four levels of certification: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Employers use level scores to decide whom to hire and promote. Students received those levels based on their skill level in applied math, reading for information and locating information. The test has charts that the students must interpret and process.
Within recent years, students in the Public Schools of Robeson County obtained jobs at companies such as Campbell Soup due to their WorkKeys scores. Large regional manufacturers such as Elkay and DuPont use the test to filter potential employees.
WorkKeys provides important information no matter what type of skilled or professional career a student plans to pursue after high school. All students enter the workforce eventually — whether they get a job right out of high school, work part-time while continuing their education or go to college first. WorkKeys stresses skills development important for every type of employment. In fact, the fastest growing segments of the WorkKeys job analyses are being done for professional, technical and managerial jobs that require at least a four-year college degree.
The abilities to learn, listen, communicate, work in teams and solve problems — all areas addressed by WorkKeys — are important assets for any employee, regardless of career choice. They are also extremely important in today’s colleges. Because WorkKeys measures skills valued by employers, students can use their results to get a better picture of their chances for success in the workforce. WorkKeys tells the employer if the person scores high, that person is trainable for a particular job. The higher the score, the higher level of job opportunity you have. College graduates with degrees take the WorkKeys Assessment.
There are many success stories from the Public Schools of Robeson County at Roberts Bakery in Pembroke. Temporary employment agencies in the area also request a student’s WorkKeys score as part of their application process. Each student who takes the test is assigned a personal ID number, which employers can use to review their information online.
All high school seniors in the Public Schools of Robeson County are automatically signed up for the test because of funding which has been set aside. Neighboring counties must pick and choose the students outside of the Career and Technical Education concentration areas who can take the test. The test is $35 a section: for Math, Reading and Locating Information components. Each high school in the Public Schools of Robeson County has a WorkKeys testing coordinator.
To prepare for the test, students are encouraged to go online to take the sample WorkKeys Assessment. This year, the window for testing is Feb. 10 through Feb. 28. Parents, please encourage children to place a special emphasis on the test because it is so important. The benefits are great.
The practice test is located at www.act.org/workkeys/assess/sample.html
For information on WorkKeys, you can visit ACT.org or www.act.org/path/parent/tests/workkeys.html
Johnny Hunt is the superintendent for the Public Schools of Robeson County.
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