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G lobally P ositioning S tudents for Life in the 21 st Century. KeyTrain and Career Ready 101 are trademarks of Thinking Media. WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate are trademarks of ACT, Inc. The Accountability Services Mission.

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Globally Positioning Students

for Life in the 21st Century

KeyTrain and Career Ready 101 are trademarks of Thinking Media. WorkKeys and the National Career Readiness Certificate are trademarks of ACT, Inc.

the accountability services mission
The Accountability Services Mission

Promote the academic achievement of all North Carolina public school students and assist stakeholders in understanding and gauging achievement compared to state and national standards

Design and development of reliable test instruments

Uniform implementation of and access to suitable test instruments for all students

Provision of accurate and statistically appropriate reports


Career Ready 101 Purpose:

To provide a single system that combines all essential aspects of preparing a student or job seeker with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify, locate, obtain, and be trainable for the optimum career and/or job in their area, leading to a recognized national work readiness credential.


The Problem:

  • How do we manage to address all of the common basic skills and workplace readiness issues?
  • How do we reduce need for remediation of Reading and Math skills at the college level
  • How do we document progress on these issues?
  • How do we provide a credential that is useful to business and recognized nationwide?

Basic Skills for College and Work Readiness is a Broad Issue

Does Not Apply Math Well

Difficulty with College Courses

Poor in Interviews

More math

Trial and Error


Struggles with Teamwork



Can’t Balance Checkbook

Trouble with Workplace Graphics



Writing Skills are Lacking

English Composition

Doesn’t Understand

What He/She Reads

Needs to Show Up on Time



Lacks Career Direction

And Goals

Varied Career



The Solution:

  • Step 1:
  • Adopt metrics that can measure these skills
  • Step 2:
  • Use a system that can manage all aspects of improving these skills
  • Step 3:
  • Issue a credential that already has national acceptance and traction

Finding a Solution: Metrics

STEP 1: Creating Metrics




Determine measurement system

Track performance

Define Skills

  • The ideal metrics would be:
  • Valid
  • Reliable
  • Based upon an agency that has a solid reputation
the workkeys process
The WorkKeys® Process





workkeys skill areas

WorkKeys® Skill Areas

Foundational Skills

Reading for Information* (Levels 3-7)

Applied Mathematics*(Levels 3-7)

Locating Information*(Levels 3-6)

Applied Technology(Levels 3-6)

Teamwork(Levels 3-6)

Observation(Levels 3-6)

Listening (Levels 1-5)

Writing(Levels 1-5)

Business Writing(Levels 1-5)

Personal Skills

Talent - predicts characteristics such as cooperation, discipline, influence, and stability

Fit - interests and values to determine the fit between a candidate and occupations in an organization

Performance - measures tendency towards unsafe behaviors and attitudes towards work

** 85% of ALL occupations utilize these skills

workkeys identifies skill gaps

WorkKeysIdentifies Skill Gaps

By comparing the job profile and individual assessment results, skills gaps can be identified



Skills Gap





Job Profile

Skills Gap







Individual Results










Reading for





Finding a Solution: Creating Metrics

Solution Step 1 – The ACT WorkKeys Assessment System:

Doesn’t Understand What He/She Reads

Reading for Information

Applied Math

Does Not Apply Math Well

Locating Information

Trouble with Workplace Graphics

Business Writing

Writing Skills are Lacking


Struggles with Teamwork

Personal Skills - Talent

Workplace Soft Skills

and coordinating activities:

Career Exploration linked to actual job profiles

Lacks Career Direction/Goals

Poor in Interviews

Job Search Skills

Financial Awareness/Budgeting

Can’t Balance Checkbook

WorkKeys is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc.

training for college or workplace

Training for College or Workplace?

The needs of college and workplace-bound students are merging:

“Whether planning to enter college or workforce training programs after graduation, high school students need to be educated to a comparable level of readiness in reading and mathematics.”

- Ready for College and Ready for Work: Same or Different?, ACT, Inc.

Nationally over half of college freshmen take at least one “remediation” course (usually math or reading)

2006 ACT performed a study that showed a direct correlation between WorkKeys score in Reading & Math level 5 & an ACT score of 21/22

Most US colleges use an ACT score of 18 for the cutoff whether a student takes remediation

Implication: K-12 students with a Gold Level CRC much less likely to take remedial studies in college


STEP 2 – Creating a Manageable System

Career Ready 101™ Manages Curriculum based upon the WorkKeys System


Difficulty with College Courses

Does Not Apply Math Well

Solution Step 2:

Career Ready 101 manages all aspects of instruction.

Writing Skills are Lacking

Struggles with Teamwork

Trouble with Workplace Graphics

Career Ready 101

Doesn’t Understand What He/She Reads

Needs to Show Up on Time

Poor in Interviews

Can’t Balance Checkbook

Lacks Career Direction/Goals


Career Ready 101 Design Wizard

  • Easily creates customized class calendar meeting classroom needs:
    • Time per week, Time per semester
    • Facilities – computer lab access, etc
    • Component priorities given time and physical constraints










Career Ready 101

My Course My Classes My Account My Reports


Viewing a Lesson and Topic:

Interactive Lessons or Classroom Presentations and Exercises


Instructor-Led Lessons include lecture guides, presentations, handouts and printable quizzes.


Sample KeyTrain Results

Georgia High School Graduation Test


GHSGT English/Language Arts



Chicago Public Schools - PSAE

KeyTrain was implemented in over 100 high schools.

Students who completed at least one level in KeyTrain =

One full level higher on WorkKeys Applied Mathematics on average.

One half level higher on WorkKeys Reading for Information on average.

(Sample size > 1100 per group, less than 5 hours KeyTrain use per skill.)

More than 130,000 students have been enrolled in KeyTrain at CPS, and over 430,000 contact hours have been logged.

The effect of KeyTrain is significant at a confidence level of over 99%.


Tidewater CC and Norfolk PS – Best Key Program

KeyTrain is the primary tool for helping students prepare the GED

First attempt success rate on the GED has been 89 - 94%.

Nearly 400 students completed their GED and have been placed in jobs, the military or college.

A 100% success and placement rate was recorded in a recent class of more than 100 students.


GED Programs


Career/Tech Education - Oklahoma

With some usage of KeyTrain remediation 78% increased at least one level

For all three tests:

6.3% at Level 3

40% at Level 4

30% at Level 5

20% at Level 6

3.8% at Level 7

94% at Level 4 or above

50% at Level 5 or above



Central New Mexico Community College


English 98 + KeyTrain: 81% course retention

English 98 alone: 60% course retention

WorkKeys Reading for Information

English 98 + KeyTrain: 78% scored Level 4 or higher

English 98 alone: 57% scored Level 4 or higher

Pre vs. Post Accuplacer Scores

English 98 + KeyTrain: 46% increased Accuplacer performance

English 98 alone: 35% increased Accuplacer performance



Difficulty with College Courses

Solution Step 3:

Certify basic and workplace skills using the National Career Readiness Certificate

Does Not Apply Math Well

Writing Skills are Lacking

Struggles with Teamwork

National Career Readiness Certificate

Trouble with Workplace Graphics

Doesn’t Understand What He/She Reads

Needs to Show Up on Time

Poor in Interviews

Can’t Balance Checkbook

Diploma and NCRC demonstrates

Ready for College/Ready for Work

Lacks Career Direction/Goals

The National Career Readiness Certificate is a trademark of ACT, Inc.

important elements of the system

Important Elements of the System

WorkKeys – Assessments from ACT, Inc.

Foundational Skills

Personal Skills

KeyTrain – Online Curriculum from Thinking Media

Demonstrated improvement of Foundational Skills

Complete coverage of Personal Skills

National Career Readiness Certificate™ (NCRC)

Credential certifying 3 most common foundational skills

Issued by ACT; many states issue comparable state CRC’s

Career Ready 101™

KeyTrain curriculum plus new career readiness curriculum, classroom management tools, and course calendaring


Skill Areas of The Career Readiness Certificates

Reading for Information

Applied Mathematics

Locating Information

Three Certificate levels:

Bronze – Minimum of Level 3 in all Skill Areas

Qualified for 30% of Jobs

Silver – Minimum of Level 4

Qualified for 65% of Jobs

Gold – Minimum of Level 5

Qualified for 85% of Jobs


The NCRC is

Nationally Accepted

benefits of an ncrc

Benefits of an NCRC

Portable credential for basic workplace skills

Business: Easy way to measure skills

Individuals: Easy way to demonstrate skills

Economic Development: Document the quality of workforce

Education, Workforce Development, Training Organizations, and Business: Speak a common language



  • What sets us apart:
  • A clear roadmap for implementing a complete career readiness strategy
  • Don’t have to be an expert in career readiness to deliver an effective solution
  • Single sign-on that combines previously separate information obtained from a wide variety of web sites and sources
  • Flexible delivery – self-paced study, classroom learning, or a blend of the two.
  • Intelligent class setup helps instructors recommends best combination of resources
  • Multiple views for classroom presentation, grading or accountability reporting
  • Creates a single point of accountability and ease of management.