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Individualized goal setting a key part of Alabama’s new public education plan

July 7, 2013

On June 21st, the United States Department of Education (USDOE) approved Alabama's PLAN 2020 as our state-specific plan for assessing our students' readiness for college, work, and adulthood in the 21st century… To inform these new accountability measures, a meaningful and parent-friendly student assessment system is also being implemented based on the widely accepted and research-based ACT and WorkKeys as our capstone assessments. All other assessments will be aligned so a learning trajectory for each student can be developed, monitored, and shared between the school, parents, and students in Grades 3-12…This new assessment system also gives us a common measure of student learning between K-12, post-secondary, higher education, and business and industry. This is just one of the many components in PLAN 2020, and each component will be discussed over the next several weeks in subsequent releases of "A New Day for Public Education in Alabama."

Report Shows Skills Gap Boosts US Unemployment

July 4, 2013

The U.S. unemployment rate is expected to improve slightly when the government releases new data on Friday…With that in mind, researchers at the ACT company have been evaluating millions of workers over five years to see if they have key skills employers want -- applied mathematics, reading for information, and finding and analyzing information. They found that people with more education tended to do better on the tests, but ACT's Hope Clark said higher education did not guarantee high levels of skill. She said many applicants struggled with tests of their ability to locate information and organize it in ways that are useful in the workplace, such as charts and graphs. "If our nation does a better job of understanding the skills and requirements for jobs that are demanded by employers, we can do a much better job of making sure that our existing workforce and our future workforce have those skills that employers are looking for," said Clark.

New Education Trends Help To Advance Manufacturing Skills

June 19, 2013

The Right Skills Now program is an acceleration of the National Association of Manufacturer's Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. The certification is officially recognized in the manufacturing industry and works in tandem with for-credit education programs. Students who participate in Right Skills Now receive not only college credit for their degrees and a National Career Readiness Certificate but also hands-on technical experience that prepares them to enter the manufacturing workforce after graduation. The program is offered at Kirkwood Community College, Dunwoody College of Technology, South Central College, Western Nevada College and Lehigh Career & Technical Institute.

TCC first community college designated Global Assessment Certificate Program “Pathway College”

June 12, 2013

Tacoma Community College recently became the first 2-year college recognized as a Pathway College forgraduates of the Global Assessment Certificate™ program (GAC). The college is now part of a network consisting of more than 100 pathway colleges and universities worldwide. The University of Iowa, Oklahoma State University, and Pacific Lutheran University are among the 34 participating U.S. universities…The GAC is a an internationally recognized university preparation program that provides students with the academic skills and knowledge, independent learning skills, English language proficiency and confidence to enter and successfully complete a bachelor's degree at university. It is a product of ACT Education Solutions, Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of ACT Inc).

Excellence for All: World Class Instructional Systems for Our Schools

June 1, 2013

Over the past two years the National Center on Education and the Economy's (NCEE) Technical Advisory Committee has been designing and then executing a plan to establish college-ready qualification scores on the lower division English and mathematics end-of-course examinations offered by ACT's QualityCore program and the University of Cambridge's International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) program…ACT Validation Data – These are records on more than 20,000 students who have taken either the QualityCore English 10, Algebra I or Geometry exam in the past several years and then subsequently took the PLAN or ACT college readiness tests or both.

Gap year gains make college education worth the wait-USAToday

May 8, 2013

As students are finalizing plans to enroll in college next fall, advocates of the gap year are touting the advantages of taking a year to focus on personal development...Two negative perceptions about gap years prevail in the United States: Taking a year off before college is only for affluent students, and doing so sets a student back because they step off the high school-to-college "conveyor belt," said Abby Falik, who in 2009 founded Global Citizen Year, nonprofit based in Oakland, Calif. that supports gap-year choices. Heron was among the 80 percent of students in the Global Citizen Year program that receive financial aid. One-third receive full scholarships from the program, which seeks students with strong leadership potential. Falik said colleges will be key to changing perceptions and behaviors about what she calls bridge years. About one-third of college freshmen don't return to the same institution for a second year, according to ACT Inc., an education testing company in Iowa City, Iowa.

ACT to Move Toward Computer-Based Testing-The New York Times

May 7, 2013

High school students will take the ACT college admissions exam by computer starting in the spring of 2015 — but at least for a while, the paper and pencil version will be available, too. “We are moving to a computer-based version, but for the foreseeable future, we will also have the paper and pencil test as an option for schools that don’t have the technological capability,” said Jon Erickson, the president of ACT’s Education Division. “We will probably have the option for students to choose paper and pencil, as well. But all the anecdotal evidence is that students prefer the computer.”

State agency helps employers match applicants, jobs-Ruidoso Free Press

April 30, 2013

While the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union Local 611 provides journeyman electricians through its apprenticeship program, Law is responsible for hiring clerical and warehouse workers for the utility’s offices in Jemez Springs, Cuba and Española. When jobs come open at the utility, the Department of Workforce Solutions helps Law assess the skills and abilities of her top candidates with a WorkKeys test. The assessment distills the lists of finalists to those who have the problem-solving abilities, math skills and work habits required in the open jobs. The result, Law said, has been a better match of candidates to jobs and less remedial training of new employees. ..The WorkKeys assessment, Law said, “gives more insight into what their work ethics are and how they handle tasks.”

Officials Aim To Improve Iowa Manufacturing Shortfalls-KCRG TV

April 25, 2013

Community colleges across the state are working together to improve Iowa’s advanced manufacturing workforce, college officials announced Thursday. Through a new initiative with ACT Inc. employers at major manufacturing companies can test worker skills in an effort to learn more about their workforce. The colleges can use their business connections to help circulate testing, officials said. “We're streamlined our curriculum, we've evaluated what the workforce skills need to be and then we're helping companies better understand what the specific skills are,” said Robert Denson, president of Des Moines Area Community College. In recent years a need to fill manufacturing jobs across the state has become evident, Denson said. Officials hope they can also use findings to better prepare students for manufacturing jobs.

ACT and Numedeon Launch CareerQuest™Free Game Designed to Help Students Ages 8–15 Explore Future

April 25, 2013

ACT and Numedeon Inc. announced today the launch of CareerQuest™, a free game designed to help younger students expand their awareness of possible future careers. Developed in partnership by the two firms, the game appears on, an online virtual learning world created by Numedeon. The game, which is based on ACT’s extensive research on education and careers, is aimed at students ages 8 to 15…“Virtual gaming represents an exciting new venture for ACT,” said Encarnaçấo. “Our collaboration with Numedeon is helping us explore new learning and engagement experiences as well as provide a new way for elementary and middle school students to benefit from decades of valuable ACT career data. Along with the new ACT Aspire™ assessment system that we are developing, the introduction of CareerQuest is one more way in which we are working to help improve college and career readiness along the kindergarten to career continuum.”

ACT survey finds gap on college readiness-The Washington Post

April 19, 2013

Heads up, high schools: Your graduates may not be as ready for college as you think they are. New survey results from the ACT assessment organization, made public Wednesday, show a disconnect on the crucial question of college readiness. Eighty-nine percent of high school teachers surveyed said students who finished their classes were well or very well prepared for college work in those subjects.

Alabama could be first state to use standardized tests aligned with common

March 28, 2013

Alabama elementary and middle schools could be the first in the nation to adopt "next generation" standardized tests from the makers of the ACT test taken by most college-bound high school students. The new assessment system, called ACT Aspire, is "fully aligned" with the controversial Common Core State Standards, reports ACT Inc., the nonprofit company that developed the system...Superintendent of Education Thomas Bice said the new assessments will help educators coordinate across grades to begin preparing students for college or career before they reach high school. "It makes it all align for the first time," he said.

Alabama Common Core Tests May Examine Kids’ Motivation,

March 13, 2013

ACT Aspire is part of the next generation of standardized tests quite different from what most adults think of, [ACT's Paul] Weeks said. The system will test kids not just at the end of the year, but repeatedly throughout the year and on computers to give instant feedback about what students have and have not learned. Questions are also no longer only multiple choice but will include open-ended prompts and even activities such as a virtual science experiment where students can "grab" flasks and "pour" liquids into a beaker, Weeks said. Another component of ACT's K-12 tests, called Engage, examines "academic behaviors." These ask students to report whether they can manage their feelings, work well with others, and finish what they have started, for example. Teachers also rate students on these same qualities (here's ACT's teacher guide to rating students this way), such as "being willing to experience new things" and "listen to others' points of view." It's currently for grades 6-9, but ACT is working to apply it to younger grades, too, Weeks said. "It's not psychological or personality testing," Weeks cautioned, but checking habits that promote academic success. The idea is to warn teachers and parents so they can "intervene" before kids are "at risk," he said.

Educated workforce is top priority for state, CSN-Las Vegas Sun

March 3, 2013

The division works closely with the state's Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation to pre-screen clients for workforce readiness and provide the necessary training. This ACT assessment measures "real world" skills that are crucial to job success. It leads to a National Career Readiness Certificate, a portable credential earned by more than 1 million Americans…But how many Nevada employers know about WorkKeys and actively seek out hires with the NCRC credential? The ACT carries a lot of weight when used as a measure of college readiness, why not the workforce? We need to do more to promote this as an economic development tool.

Tri-County receives grant to train baby boomers for new career-Anderson Independent Mail

February 27, 2013

Following completion of the CNA program, participants can augment their skills by taking additional classes in Dementia and Alzheimer's certificate program. They also may take the WorkKeys job skills test that measures real-world skills and is the basis for the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). WorkKeys has three primary assessments: applied math, reading for information and locating information.

MCHS juniors are counseled on their ACT goals, life plans-Richmond Register

February 24, 2013

When Thomas came to Central three years ago, school administrators began talking about a single focus for the school. "The natural thing that came out was the ACT," he said, which both students and parents say is important to them and what Randy Peffer, the district's chief academic officer, called "the gatekeeper to college admittance."… But ACT preparation begins even before high school. A study called "The Forgotten Middle" revealed if students leave middle school not meeting benchmarks on EXPLORE, there is a 65 percent chance they never meet those benchmarks on the ACT, Thomas said. So, EXPLORE results from eighth-grade are used to determine course placement for entering freshman, he said.

Program Connects Military Veterans and Spouses to Manufacturing Careers in Virginia-Virginia Manufacturers Association

February 1, 2013

M2M offers integrated career preparation, assessment and training, and transferable skills to help transitioning military or their spouses start private sector careers in manufacturing. M2M helps recently separated veterans to convert past military experience and training into skills credentials. All program participants will assess for the National Career Readiness Certificate and the Manufacturing Technician Level 1 Certification to document core manufacturing technology competencies, signaling they are manufacturing work ready, and will be provided with remediation and skills gap training where necessary.

Louisiana Delta Community College offering free workplace testing to area employers-Monroe News Star

January 22, 2013

Tomorrow's Workforce Now is a national initiative from ACT, Inc. that provides free testing to thousands of employers and tens of thousands of individuals. Louisiana Delta Community College is partnering with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce to provide this service locally…Tomorrow's Workforce Now will help communities build a skilled workforce and help employers secure a pipeline of talent for the future. The program, introduced by ACT, Inc., and supported by a growing coalition of community colleges across the nation, uses the evidence-based National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) Plus to demonstrate the power of certified foundational skills in predicting job performance.

Hawaii DOE to drive students toward college, career readiness-Maui Weekly

January 3, 2013

Starting in April, more than 50,000 students annually will take the ACT PLAN test in grades 8 and 9, the EXPLORE exam in grade 10, and The ACT assessment in grade 11. The new ACT College and Career Readiness System is benchmarked to both the expectations of higher education institutions and workforce. It is also designed to help students plan for future education opportunities and explore careers based on their skills, interests and ambitions.

Strategic alliance to expand ACT test availability in China-Cedar Rapids Gazette

December 14, 2012

Iowa City-based ACT and ATA Inc. of China announced on Friday a strategic alliance that is expected to make the ACT assessment available to more Chinese students.