WorkKeys® Skills Assessment System
Job seekers, employees, and students take the exams; employers, trainers, educators, and schools use the score results
The WorkKeys system defines, measures, and develops foundational skills linked by evidence to the performance of actual job tasks. The system includes three components which rely on the same metrics and data resources:
- Occupational data describing the skills needed to perform job tasks
- Assessments that measure clearly defined skill areas and skill levels needed to perform tasks identified in occupational data
- Curriculum and learning management tools that promote the development of higher-level skills in areas measured by assessments
Occupational data provides evidence confirming that foundational skills defined and measured by the WorkKeys system are essential to successful performance of job tasks. Because they are foundational, WorkKeys skills contribute to success in the widest range of occupations. Job seekers, employees, and students rely on the WorkKeys system to compare their current skill levels to those needed to succeed in different occupations. Employers use test results to recruit, select, and promote qualified workers and to help current employees acquire the skills needed for higher job performance.
Studies performed by ACT-authorized job profilers document the critical job tasks for a specific job and identify the foundational skills and levels needed to perform them.
Volume/Number of Users
- More than 7 million WorkKeys tests were administered over the five-year period of 2005-2010.
- Nearly 2.3 million assessments were administered between September 2010 and August 2011.
- More than 18,000 jobs have been profiled since 1993.
- Current data based on approximately 4,800 studies describe the skills needed for 548 of the 974 occupations identified by the classification system developed for Occupational Information Online (O*Net), the primary source of data used by federal agencies.
Results from three WorkKeys assessments are the basis for the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™) and related registered credentials available in 42 states.
- The WorkKeys system uses criterion-referenced metrics that compare an individual’s skills to those required to perform tasks commonly observed in the workplace.
- Results of WorkKeys assessments are expressed in terms of levels. Depending on the assessment, scoring ranges from Level 1 to Level 7.
The WorkKeys system measures foundational skills in both knowledge domains and noncognitive behaviors:
- Cognitive Assessments: Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, Locating Information, Workplace Observation, Listening for Understanding, Applied Technology, Business Writing, and Teamwork. Three of these assessments (Applied Mathematics, Reading for Information, and Locating Information) are commonly identified by job profile data as essential to the widest range of jobs. Individuals who achieve a score of Level 3 or higher on all three assessments are eligible for the NCRC or the International Career Readiness Certificate (ICRC).
- Noncognitive Assessments: Talent, Fit, and Performance
- A number of states including Illinois, Michigan, and Alaska administer selected WorkKeys exams to all eleventh-grade public school students as part of their annual statewide assessment programs.
- WorkKeys assessments are delivered as computerized or paper-and-pencil tests; many are available in both formats. All are administered by certified proctors and administrators and require the use of a government-issued photo ID for identity verification.
More about WorkKeys Assessments