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ACT WorkKeys shows more skilled graduates from Alabama high schools

Jessa Reid Bolling

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A slightly higher percentage of Alabama high school seniors are graduating with the skills needed in the modern workplace, according to new results from ACT’s WorkKeys test. 

On Thursday, the Alabama State Department of Education released final results of all College and Career Readiness Indicators (CCRIs) for the high school seniors who graduated in May of 2018. The WorkKeys test is one of those CCRI measures.

64 percent of 2018 graduates scored Silver or above on WorkKeys, a test that measures math, reading and graphical literacy skills relevant to today’s work environments. 

In 2017, 63 percent of graduates scored Silver, up from 59 percent in 2015. A student earning a Silver level certificate should have the applied foundational skills for 71 percent of jobs in the ACT database.

Students are awarded a National Career Readiness Certification in they score a Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze score on the WorkKeys.

Students received a ranking of Platinum level for demonstrating applied foundational skills for 96 percent of the occupations in the ACT jobs dataset.

Those who earned a Gold level certificate demonstrated applied foundational skills for 90 percent of jobs in the database. 

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Silver level students demonstrated applied foundational skills for 71 percent of jobs in the ACT database.

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Bronze certificate level students are judged to be ready for 16 percent of jobs.

In Alabama, students earning a Silver level certificate or above are considered career ready.

The WorkKeys assessments are designed to provide an assessment of applied cognitive skills that are useful in contemporary work settings. The assessments consist of three tests of applied cognitive skills which are relevant to over 20,000 occupations, according to ACT’s research. 

The WorkKeys tests appraise skills in math, graphic literacy and understanding workplace documents. 

  • The Applied Math test measures critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and problem-solving techniques for situations in today’s workplace.
  • The Graphic Literacy test measures the skill needed to locate, synthesize, and use information from charts and graphs. 
  • The Workplace Documents test measures the skills needed to read and understand documents such as memos, letters, directions, signs, notices, bulletins, policies and regulations on the job. 

Jessa Reid Bolling is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter and graduate of The University of Alabama with a B.A. in journalism and political science. You can email her at [email protected] or reach her via Twitter.

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