Last week, I talked about the growing questions surrounding the PACT test, and promised further discussion, so I wanted to introduce my readers who are interested in education policy to WorkKeys.
WorkKeys is becoming a major tool for assessing workplace related skills, especially when it comes to selecting new employees and eligibility for promotions in technical and manufacturing jobs, which are in short supply in this state. This is the inevitable outcome of a process in which a high school diploma has become an ineffective measure of ones abilities and potential - employers are forced to find a better way to find out what someone is really capable of.
My board, which operates the main One Stop career center in the Charleston area, offers WorkKeys testing to help adults make themselves more marketable to potential employers.
WorkKeys was created by the folks at ACT, the college exam people. The test assesses test-takers on a wide range of skills:
- Applied Mathematics (uses calculator/45 minutes)
- Applied Technology (45 minutes)
- Listening (audiotape presentation/ 40 minutes)
- Locating Information (45 minutes)
- Observation (videotape presentation/ Part 1: 30 minutes/ Part 2: 30 minutes)
- Reading for Information (45 minutes
- Teamwork (videotape presentation/ Part 1: 40 minutes/ Part 2: 40 minutes)
- Writing (audiotape presentation/ 40 minutes)
A test that is used nationwide, is respected by employers, can be graded in days, and could easily be implemented on a wide scale without mega-million dollar consulting fees ... that's exactly the kind of dangerous and subversive talk that would never see the light of day in South Carolina education policy.