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.
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.”
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.”
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 Careers-onRec.com
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 Whyville.net, 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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Workkeys Assessment and KeyTrain Remediation: A Potent Student Success Combination-College of Southern Maryland
This past summer, the Healthcare Education Department implemented a prerequisite for CNA/GNA continuing education students to pass a Workkeys assessment to enter the class and the use of KeyTrain online remediation. The results from the first two cohorts have been staggering…Workkeys is an applied assessment developed by ACT which measures reading for information, locating information, and applied math skills. Scores range from 1 – 7 per assessment dependent upon the career choice. While Accuplacer uses a breaking point for all prospective students no matter their goals, Workkeys is specifically developed to measure applied skills in the specific career field choice (i.e., CNA/GNA). This nationally recognized assessment uses data from the Department of Labor O-Net job classifications and utilizes language in specific industry (i.e., healthcare).
For employers, the Skilled Iowa program will not only fill a void from the lack of middle skilled workforce, but it will save time and money. President and CEO of Cline Tools, Jim Long, is looking forward to the program. He hopes to help out the community… The National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) allows employers to find workers who have the skills set needed for the job. Most employers get an abundance of resumes for one job, and Cline Tools has dealt with that…"Everyone who I have visited can't find a skilled work force," Long said. "They need folks and no one has the skills." The NCRC assessment will concentrate on applied mathematics, locating information and reading for information. Long believes the assessment will be a good thing. He was happy to hear that the assessment will concentrate on math and reading. Long said that it will be an important part of their hiring process.
The ‘Keys’ to a Better Future: A program that bridges the gap between skills employers need and those jobseekers have-New Haven United Way
Harrington, a U.S. Air Force veteran and recovering addict who struggled to find work for about five years, landed the job after completing a job skills training program known as WorkKeys and KeyTrain. He found WorkKeys through Harkness House, a transitional housing program that serves veterans and is part of Columbus House Inc., a New Haven-based nonprofit, which provides a range of services to adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. "I didn't know anything about (the program) until I came here," says Harrington. "I found out that I'm qualified for a lot more than I thought. I went in there (to the job interview) more confident."... Jobseekers who meet certain standards through the program earn a National Career Readiness Certificate, which they bring to potential employers to prove their work-related competencies. "It gives you a nationally recognized certification that's good here, it's good all over the country and, in many parts of the country, is the certification that employers look for," says Amy Casavina Hall, United Way's senior director of Income and Health Initiatives.
Should International Students Take the ACT? Learn more about the increasingly popular pre-college test-US News & World Report
While the number of international students choosing the ACT is rising, students from abroad still represent a much smaller portion of testers than their domestic peers, says Jon Erickson, president of ACT's education division. Despite having more than 400 testing centers worldwide, the organization hasn't traditionally focused its marketing efforts abroad, he says..."The structure of the ACT is conducive to international education," Erickson says. "It's tied very much to subject level [and] I think the science part is also attractive to international students. A lot of international students who are looking to U.S. colleges tend to be in STEM fields, so I think that's attractive."
"Credentialing is everything in the job market today," says Eric Seleznow, state policy director for the National Skills Coalition in Washington, D.C...The US Manufacturing Pipeline site has an "explore careers" tab, which allows users to search for jobs in manufacturing and related fields by the education required, and then link to where training and job openings are in each state. The site also contains a self-administered career-readiness test because many training programs are open only to those who have basic reading, math and information-seeking skills as demonstrated by a National Career Readiness Certificate, which is administered by training programs to measure basic skills of applicants, Wilkins says.