North Carolina Department of Public Instruction


The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has entered into a partnership with ACT, a 51–year old not-for-profit organization that provides educational assessment, research, information, and program management services. North Carolina 11th graders will take the ACT® test and 10th graders will take the PLAN® test, and 8th graders will take the EXPLORE® test. Some students will also take the WorkKeys® assessment. These assessments will measure what students have learned in their courses and help educators identify the information that students still need to learn to succeed in college or a career.

Why the ACT Test?

The ACT test measures what students have learned in their courses and measures their skills in English, math, science and reading. The ACT helps students:

  • Understand what they need to learn next so they can build rigorous high school course plans.
  • Identify career areas that align with their interests.
  • Increase the likelihood that they will consider pursuing a college education.

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Why the PLAN Program?

The PLAN program helps 10th graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success. As a comprehensive guidance resource it helps students:

  • Measure their current academic development
  • Explore career/training options
  • Make plans for the remaining years of high school and post-graduation years.

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Why the EXPLORE Program?

The EXPLORE program helps 8th graders take the first step toward measuring and building on academic skills needed to succeed in high school and beyond.
EXPLORE helps students:

  • Measure their skill levels in English, math, science and reading
  • Plan ahead by identifying career interests and the skills needed to pursue a specific career.

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Why the WorkKeys System?

The WorkKeys system is used to help students understand how they can improve their skills for better-paying jobs. Scores help employers determine whether individuals are qualified for positions.

  • Students who take the WorkKeys tests have a clear way to demonstrate their abilities to future employers.
  • The WorkKeys system measures skills such as reading, math, listening, locating information, and teamwork. These are skills that employers feel are critical to job success.

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