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ACT WorkKeys® Assessments

Year Introduced



ACT WorkKeys assessments are research-based assessments that measure workplace skills. The skills they measure are foundational and broadly relevant across industries and occupations.

ACT WorkKeys assessments yield information that helps individuals document their skills, evaluate career opportunities, and identify skill gaps. When combined with other selection tools, ACT WorkKeys assessments yield information that can help employers make better decisions about who to hire, train, and promote.

Research conducted by ACT-authorized job profilers confirms the continued relevance of the skills assessed by ACT WorkKeys assessments and identifies the skill levels required for specific occupations. ACT KeyTrain® curriculum provides tools to help individuals improve their skill levels.

ACT WorkKeys assessments are used by a wide variety of individuals and institutions:

  • Job seekers, employees, and students use ACT WorkKeys to document their skills and improve their outcomes in the job market.
  • Employers use ACT WorkKeys in combination with other selection criteria to improve their employment decisions.
  • Educators and administrators use the assessments to evaluate students’ preparedness for the workplace.
  • Workforce developers use ACT WorkKeys to help displaced workers remediate and document their skills.
  • Economic developers use the assessments to inform business and industry location or expansion decisions.

ACT WorkKeys assessments were developed to address the need for standardized measures of work readiness. Since their introduction in 1992, ACT WorkKeys assessments have been widely adopted across the country as reliable indicators of work readiness skills.

Intended Users

Job seekers, employees, employers, students, educators, administrators, workforce developers, industry associations, and economic developers.

Volume/Number of Users

  • More than 12 million ACT WorkKeys assessments were administered in the fiveyear period between September 2008 and August 2013. More than 2 million assessments were administered between September 2012 and August 2013.
  • Seven states administer ACT WorkKeys assessments to all high school juniors or seniors: Alaska, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, and Wyoming.
  • ACT-authorized job profilers have profiled the requirements for 20,000 jobs in terms of skills measured by ACT WorkKeys assessments.
  • More than 2.3 million ACT career readiness credentials based on ACT WorkKeys assessments have been issued since 2006.

Additional Facts

  • ACT WorkKeys includes both cognitive and noncognitive assessments.
    • The most frequently administered cognitive assessments are Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information. ACT WorkKeys cognitive assessments are criterion-referenced to the skill requirements of the workplace; results are expressed as level scores.
    • The most frequently administered noncognitive assessment is Talent. ACT WorkKeys noncognitive assessments are norm-referenced; results are expressed as percentiles.
  • The ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ (ACT NCRC®) is an assessment-based credential earned by successful completion of Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information.
  • ACT WorkKeys assessments are delivered in computer-based or paper-andpencil formats; many are available in both formats.
  • All ACT WorkKeys assessments are administered by proctors in accordance with ACT test security standards.