ACT WorkKeys Assessments


“The stronger we make the transition to postsecondary institutions and employers, the better job we’re going to do preparing students for college and career readiness” – Chad Steinmetz, Wisconsin high school principal

When you talk to employers, more than half say they can’t find qualified candidates, according to a CareerBuilder® study. Simply put, the speed of change in workplace skill requirements is outpacing educators’ ability to prepare their students, leaving a widening skills gap. What can educators such as you do to close that gap? And, more important, how can you ensure that your students are prepared for life beyond their diploma?

WorkKeys® assessments are the cornerstone of the ACT workforce solutions. The assessments help you measure the workplace skills that can affect your job performance. WorkKeys assessments are:

  • Unique—Unlike other assessments, they don’t simply give an indication of reading and writing competency. Instead, they measure a range of hard and soft skills relevant to any occupation, at any level, and across industries.
  • Recognized—Successful completion of WorkKeys assessments can lead to earning an National Career Readiness Certificate™ (NCRC®)—a credential that verifies foundational workplace skills. Tens of thousands of employers recognize the value of the NCRC, and many recommend the credential to candidates.

Each assessment offers varying levels of difficulty. The levels build on each other, incorporating the skills assessed at the previous levels. For example, at Level 5, individuals need the skills from Levels 3, 4, and 5. The complexity can also increase as the quantity and/or density of the information increases.

Most tests are web-based and take one hour. Scores are easily verified online.

Value of WorkKeys (Video)

National Career Readiness Certificate

Students who successfully complete the three WorkKeys Assessments - Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents - earn the National Career Readiness Certificate™ (NCRC®), a valuable credential for students whether they plan to go directly to work after high school or pursue postsecondary paths. ACT WorkKeys also offer additional assessments to measure interests, values and behaviors that can lead to greater job satisfaction.



Applied Math

Required for the NCRC

At some point, many of us sat in math class and asked ourselves, “When am I going to use this?” We may not have believed it, but the answer in a variety of professions is, “Every day!” The Applied Math assessment measures critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and problem solving techniques for situations that actually occur in today’s workplace. While individuals may use calculators and conversion tables to help with the problems on the assessment, math skills are still needed to think them through. Get more information:


Graphic Literacy

Required for the NCRC

Workplace graphics come in a variety of formats, but all communicate a level of information. From charts to graphs, diagrams to floor plans, identifying what information is being presented and understanding how to use it are critical to success. The Graphic Literacy assessment measures the skill needed to locate, synthesize, and use information from workplace graphics. Get more information:


Workplace Documents

Required for the NCRC

Employees need to be able to understand written text to do a job. The Workplace Documents assessment measures the skills people use when they read and use written text such as memos, letters, directions, signs, notices, bulletins, policies, and regulations on the job. Get more information:

Applied Technology

The Applied Technology assessment measures basic principles and skills in four areas of technology: electricity, mechanics, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics. Get more information:

Business Writing

The Business Writing assessment measures the skill used when writing an original response to a work-related situation. Get more information:

Workplace Observation

The Workplace Observation assessment measures skills in observing, following, understanding, and evaluating processes, demonstrations, and other workplace procedures. Get more information:


It's a simple truth: people tend to seek occupations with characteristics that match their personal preferences. The Fit assessment measures an individual's interests and values and matches them to the work environment. Get more information:



The Talent assessment helps employers find and develop employees by measuring work-related attitudes and behaviors. Get more information:



ACT administers and scores millions of tests each year with the highest levels of integrity and accuracy. Being a test administrator for WorkKeys® requires that you have an active understanding of our testing policies and procedures.

WorkKeys assessments are considered high stakes, so all members of the testing staff are required to complete a training program in preparation for test center operations.



To learn more about the types of scores and score reports available, select the Understanding Scores button below.



Learn more about the WorkKeys Curriculum and other preparation options to help individuals improve their scores.